The Lab Test Everyone Flunks!
Yes, you too will probably flunk this test unless you’re already taking this supplement for a common deficiency. If I told you could reduce your risk of major cancer by 80 percent by taking one inexpensive pill a week, would you do it?
I would think so. There’s more this supplement can do, too: how about lowering your risk of heart attack and improving your circulation. You’re probably saying to yourself this must be very expensive. It’s about 9 cents a day.
What is this miracle pill? Vitamin D. You may already take vitamin D, but are you taking enough? Probably not.
This deficiency is so common I quit ordering the test on patients who were not already taking vitamin D.
Because I never found a patient who was not supplementing D who had an adequate level, so testing was a waste of money.
This may be slightly different if you live in the South or Southwest, including California, but in northern states, sunlight must pass through too much of the atmosphere to increase vitamin D levels significantly.
What I do now is start people on Vitamin D and then test to see whether they have adequate levels of vitamin D.
Most of the major health benefits of vitamin D levels are above 60 mg/dl, and 30mcg/dl is normal. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is insufficient to get you to the levels that benefit you.
How Much Vitamin D is Needed?
Well, that depends on your size and gender. Most women need a dose between 2,000 and 5,000 units a day and men 5,000 to 10,000 units a day.
It’s both more convenient and less expensive to take vitamin D on a weekly basis.
I take 100,000 units once a week and 150,000 a week in flu season. I recommend women take one 50,000 unit capsule a week and men one to two depending on their size.
I check vitamin D levels in a couple of months.
I’m happy with a level over 60 ng/ml. So Why such a high level?
Lower Cancer Risk
Vitamin D works on bone health at only 20 ng/ml, but that’s not enough for cancer prevention. One study with 3,300 participants found that those who had vitamin D levels above 60 ng/ml had one-fifth the risk of those who had levels of 20 ng/ml.
Yes, low vitamin D was associated with a 500 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer.
High vitamin D3 levels are also associated with lower risks of prostate cancer.
Therefore, maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D3 is probably the easiest way to reduce your risk of certain cancers.
There are conflicting studies about the effect of vitamin D in preventing heart disease. However, vitamin D is a powerful stimulant of Nitric Oxide (NO), which is a signaling molecule (it carries signals to cells) that helps control blood flow and vascular repair.
While the full story of how vitamin D affects heart disease is still out, the majority of studies seem to say that vitamin levels in the 60 ng/ml to 100 ng/ml have significant benefits.
We also know that Costa Rican lifeguards have levels up to 150 ng/ml without ill effects, so it seems that levels higher than 100 ng/ml also appear to be safe.
What’s the optimal level of vitamin D?
I think time will tell, but there’s plenty of evidence to support keeping levels in the 60 ng/ml to 100 ng/ml. Test your vitamin D levels at least once a year and then adjust your dose to keep your blood levels in this range.