Volume 2, Issue 14
April 2, 2009

Spend lots of time outside? You still need to take vitamin D

Back in December, I said you needed to take plenty of vitamin D for the next four months. Well, it's been four months. So should you stop taking vitamin D? New researchers says no — even if you spend a lot of time outdoors.

If you spend lots of time outdoors, your body can produce up to 10,000 units of vitamin D from the sun. But this new study shows that most of us are so deficient in vitamin D, the sun simply can't provide enough.

I've seen this in my own clinic. Several years ago, I started testing all of my patients' vitamin D levels. I found out that not one of them had optimum blood levels of the vitamin. Optimum levels are greater than 60 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter). Researchers have found that women with levels below 52 ng/ml have twice the risk of getting breast cancer. And they're also more susceptible to osteoporosis (vitamin D is crucial for healthy bones).

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In my practice, I found that it was rare to find someone with levels above 40 ng/ml. And 30% of them had levels below the deficiency mark of 30 ng/ml. That means 100% of the people coming into my office were at an increased risk of disease!

The astounding part was that most of these people were getting plenty of sunlight exposure. I was perplexed.

Then I found this new study. It proved that I wasn't the only one seeing this. The authors of a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism confirmed my findings. They found that many individuals have low vitamin D levels despite abundant sun exposure.

In this study, Dr. Neil Binkley with the University of Wisconsin Osteoporosis Clinical Research Program, looked at the vitamin D levels of 93 people living in Hawaii. These were people who were in the sun a lot! They had an average of one-and-a-half hours a day of total body skin exposure without sunscreen.

Despite a level of sun exposure in a tropical latitude that greatly exceeds what most of us are able to get, half of these people had vitamin D levels in the deficiency range (below 30 ng/ml). The results indicate that we all need more sun — or vitamin D supplements. The old rule that says you can get enough exposure with 15 minutes per day of sunlight to the hands and face just isn't true. You need a lot more than that!

So don't assume that spending a lot of time outside will give you enough vitamin D. It won't!

I used to tell my patients to have their levels checked. But when 100% of them come back with low levels, I decided the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test was a waste of money for them — I already know they're deficient. Now I use the test only if someone has been taking large doses of vitamin D for several months or works outside all day and has for many years.

Start taking vitamin D supplements now. It the only way to increase your levels to the optimal 60 ng/ml level. The starting dose is 5,000 units of vitamin D3. Advanced Bionutritionals sells a 5,000 unit vitamin D3 tablet that's very easy to take. You can order it by calling 800-728-2288.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

Ref: Binkley, N., et al. "Vitamin D Level May Be Low Despite Adequate Sun Exposure," J Clin Endocrinol Metab., 2007;92:2130-2135.

Copyright 2009 Soundview Publishing, LLC

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