The Vitamin D Epidemic


After I first learned about the massive number of people suffering from Vitamin D deficiency I went to my doctor and had a blood test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. I expected that since I have a very healthy diet, take lots of supplements and exercise outdoors (with sunscreen) that my level would be high. It turned out that my blood showed a low level of Vitamin D. Our main source is sun exposure, yet it is a double edged sword since being exposed to the sun without sunscreen can cause skin damage, premature aging of the skin and other more serious problems. When wearing sunscreen your body can’t make much Vitamin D. I started taking 5000 IU/day of Vitamin D3 and after a few months I tested in the middle of the normal range. I have continued to take that much Vitamin D for years now and my yearly blood tests continue to be in the middle of the normal range. Everyone is different so the recommendation is to get tested and if you are low take at least 1000 IU of Vitamin D3/day or even as much as 5000 IU/day depending upon your blood test results and your doctors recommendations. Given the large amount of time that most people spend indoors combined with the use of sunscreen the RDA of 400 IU of Vitamin D is not enough for a massive number of people.

Following is a summary of the article “The Vitamin D Epidemic and its Health Consequences” that was published in The Journal of Nutrition.

“Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as an epidemic in the United States. The major source of vitamin D for both children and adults is from sensible sun exposure. In the absence of sun exposure 1000 IU of cholecalciferol is required daily for both children and adults. Vitamin D deficiency causes poor mineralization of the collagen matrix in young children?s bones leading to growth retardation and bone deformities known as rickets. In adults, vitamin D deficiency induces secondary hyperparathyroidism, which causes a loss of matrix and minerals, thus increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. In addition, the poor mineralization of newly laid down bone matrix in adult bone results in the painful bone disease of osteomalacia. Vitamin D deficiency causes muscle weakness, increasing the risk of falling and fractures. Vitamin D deficiency also has other serious consequences on overall health and well-being. There is mounting scientific evidence that implicates vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk of type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular heart disease, and many common deadly cancers. Vigilance of one?s vitamin D status by the yearly measurement of 25-hydroxyvitamin D should be part of an annual physical examination. ”

“Vitamin D, known as the ?sunshine vitamin,? has been taken for granted and, until recently, little attention has been focused on its important role for adult bone health and for the prevention of many chronic diseases. It has been assumed that vitamin D deficiency is no longer a health issue in the United States and Europe. However, it is now recognized that everyone is at risk for vitamin D deficiency.”

The full article published in The Journal of Nutrition can be found here: