What is the optimal vitamin D level?

While medical studies continue to tout the health benefits of vitamin D, experts do not agree on the vitamin D level we should maintain for optimal health.  Dr. John Cannell, the Vitamin D Council Director explains why this is a difficult number to recommend for all people:

How much vitamin D you need varies with age, body weight, percent of body fat, latitude, skin coloration, season of the year, use of sunblock, individual variation in sun exposure, and—probably—how ill you are. As a general rule, old people need more than young people, big people need more that little people, heavier people need more than skinny people, northern people need more than southern people, dark-skinned people need more than fair-skinned people, winter people need more than summer people, sunblock lovers need more than sunblock haters, sun-phobes need more than sun worshipers, and ill people may need more than well people.

All the experts agree that your goal should be to get an average vitamin D level year round.  Typically our vitamin D levels are at their highest at the end of the summer and lowest at the end of the winter.  After reading several books that have recently been published on vitamin D, here is a roundup of the recommended vitamin D levels for optimal health.

The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problem by  Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D., recommends a range of 40 – 60 ng/ml as a healthy vitamin D level.

The Sunlight Solution: Why More Sun Exposure and Vitamin D Are Essential to Your Health by Laurie Winn Carlson recommends an ideal vitamin D level of 45 – 50 ng/ml.

The Vitamin D Cure by James Dowd, M.D. and Diane Stafford recommends an ideal vitamin D level between 50 – 70 ng/ml.

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin by Zoltan Rona, MD, MSc states that optimal levels should be between 100 – 250 ng/ml.

The Vitamin D Council recommends a range between 50 – 80 ng/ml.

To find out your vitamin D level which is measured in your blood with a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test, also called a 25(OH)D, you can take a home vitamin D test and get the results by mail which will provide the amount of circulating vitamin D in your blood in the ng/ml measurement or nanograms per milliliter.

While the experts may disagree on the optimal vitamin D level, they do agree that we need to check our vitamin D and make sure that we are at least above the insufficient level of 29 ng/ml.


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