I’ve been asked MANY questions about vitamin D since making posts about the importance of keeping enough of that particular vitamin in our systems. If you haven’t read that very important article, I hope you will do so now.
Today, I share with you what I have learned while pointing out that I certainly never intend to hand out medical advice here on Texans United…plus, most people think we’re all crazy for worrying about it in the first place anyway!
I suppose the easiest way for we laymen to think about D is to say that there are two types: Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.
D2 seems to be the vitamin that we get most often in fortified foods like cereal and milk as well as in supplements. It is also what you are taking if your doctor prescribes a script (I checked with the pharmacist to be sure I was correct on this.). If your over the counter bottle doesn’t specify a 2 or a 3, the word to look for is ergocalciferol, which indicates that the bottle contains Vitamin D2.
Vitamin D3 is the sunlight vitamin, and (at the moment) it seems that it is this D3 that does humans the most good. Recommendations are all over the board, but most experts recommend about 15-20 minutes of sun exposure (with no sunscreen) per day unless there is a reason why this exposure cannot be tolerated.
The only way that I know to determine your levels is to have your doctor run a simple blood test. From that test, you will know if you also need to supplement your D as I have to do. If your supplement bottle does not specify D3, you will need to look for the word cholecalciferol, which indicates that the bottle contains Vitamin D3; however, I doubt that this will be necessary since D3 is the hot word right now!
The recommended amount of D3 the last time I looked was 1,000 IUs per day for adults, but this too is all over the board with more and more doctors prescribing much higher doses for various ailments. Some are even treating flu with large doses of Vitamin D.
By discussing your levels with your doctor, you should get a better idea of just how much D you need. Of course, like everything else, you could go to 10 doctors and get 10 different ideas so be careful.
As for me, I always like to be sure that I discuss these types of issues with those who actually have done a lot of studying on the matter, and this often involves a M.D. with a naturalist/holistic bent. With this doctor, it is important to discuss whether you should be supplementing with D2, D3, or both.
I hope this helps, and in all of the supplementation garble, don’t forget that the sun is still the perfect source of Vitamin D when possible and when your body will absorb it!