Volume 4, Issue 32
August 11, 2011

Do you really need to take
that much vitamin D?

You probably already know how important vitamin D is for your health. It helps keep your bones strong, your immune system supercharged, and your tissues cancer free. Even though they know it’s good for them, one thing people just can’t understand is the importance of taking a lot of vitamin D.

Almost every patient I test has low vitamin D levels. The blood reference range for vitamin D3 is 30 to 100 ng/ml. However, just being in this range is not enough. People with vitamin D3 levels over 60 ng/ml are about one-fifth as likely to get cancer as those with levels in the lower end of the range. So how much vitamin D3 do you really need to take in order to get the maximum benefits? Here’s a newly published paper that will surprise some.

Researchers at the University of California in San Diego wanted to find out how much vitamin D everyone should take. They stated, “Studies indicate that intake of vitamin D in the range from 1,100 to 4,000 units per day and a serum D level [25-hydroxyvitamin D3] from 60-80 ng/ml may be needed to reduce cancer risk.” And then they asked the question, “So just how much vitamin D3 intake is necessary for most people to achieve this level?” Here's what they found.

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The researchers looked at 3,667 men and women between the ages of 40 to 65 years. It turns out that the dose necessary to ensure that almost all (97.5%) of these people had a vitamin D3 level of at least 40 ng/ml was 9,600 units per day. As you can see, even 9,600 units a day was not enough for many people to achieve the optimal levels (over 60) needed for maximum cancer prevention.

I was not at all surprised by these results. I have been measuring vitamin D levels for over 10 years now. I can tell you that many people need between 15-20,000 units per day to reach optimal blood levels.

But some doctors think this level of intake is somehow unsafe. Is it true? Do we need to be concerned about taking these higher levels of vitamin D? Not according to these investigators.

In the entire group of patients, a rather large group, not one of them reached the potential toxic vitamin D limits of 200 ng/ml. Even those with a total vitamin D intake (supplements and diet) as high as 13,300 units per day didn’t get close. The authors concluded by saying that, “Universal intake of up to 40,000 IU vitamin D per day is unlikely to result in vitamin D toxicity.” I have never found it necessary to give anyone more than 20,000 units.

So don’t be afraid of vitamin D3. Take enough to bring your levels up to between 60-80 ng/ml. Once they are up there, check your blood calcium levels. Occasionally, optimal levels of vitamin D will result in excessive blood calcium levels, which could cause kidney stones. I have seen this in only two patients in the past 10 years. You can order 5,000 IU tablets from Advanced Bionutritionals. Two of these each day is a great way to keep yourself healthy.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

REF: Garland CF, French CB, Baggerly LL, Heaney RP. Vitamin D supplement doses and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the range associated with cancer prevention. Anticancer Res. 2011 Feb;31(2):607-11.


Copyright 2011 Soundview Publishing, LLC

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