Where did the Vitamin D Council get its recommendation that adults take 5,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 for the rest of their life? The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board say 600 IU/day is enough for adults, and the Endocrine Society says 2,000 IU/day is enough for most adults.
We think the safest thing to do while all the research is going on is to maintain natural vitamin D levels. By natural, we mean those levels obtained by those with natural sun exposure, such as lifeguards, some roofers and gardeners, and others who work in the sun and expose a lot of skin to sunshine. This is how our ancestors behaved throughout our evolutionary history.
The best study that examined the vitamin D levels of people who get plenty of sun exposure was published last year. Researchers discovered that free-living hunter-gatherers living around the African equator (where humans evolved) have average vitamin D levels of 46 ng/ml (115 nmol/L).
Most people will not have their blood tested unless their doctor recommends it. So we needed a recommended dose that:
- Is easy to obtain at most pharmacies.
- Will get at least 97% of people above 30 ng/ml.
- Will get most people above 40 ng/ml, and close to around 50 ng/ml.
- Will not cause anyone to get toxic levels.
When we decided on a recommendation with the four goals above in mind, we also had to take into account body weight. Besides genetics, body weight is the single biggest determinate of vitamin D levels. The more you weigh, the more vitamin D you need to take.
Click here to read how Professor Heaney and his coauthors came up with their results.
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