RSSA daily dose of vitamin D could transform your health

Posted on Sun, 25 Apr 10

A daily dose of vitamin D could transform your health

Vitamin D deficiency is a pandemic health problem estimated to affect one billion people worldwide and it is highly likely you are deficient. Deficiency in Vitamin D affects bone health in children and adults and has been associated with increased risk of death from common cancers, autoimmune diseases, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure and infectious diseases (1). The good news is you can do something about it.

Evidence for benefit

Several studies have found that supplementing your diet with Vitamin D can improve your health and lower risk of serious and life threatening illness. For example:

  • Post menopausal women taking 1,100 IU per day of vitamin D over four years experienced a 60% reduced risk of all cancers (2).
  • Girls aged 10-17 taking 200 or 2000 IU of Vitamin D for one year significantly increased their lean muscle mass, an indicator of improved bone health (3).
  • Older age individuals (average age 89) taking 800 IU a day of Vitamin D demonstrated a 72% lower incidence of falls over 5 months (4).
  • Children who received 2000 IU a day of Vitamin D during their first year of life had a 78% lower risk of developing type-1 diabetes (5).
  • Women taking 400 IU or more of vitamin a day had a greater than 40% reduced risk of developing the autoimmune diseases multiple sclerosis (6) and rheumatoid arthritis (7).
  • Women taking 4000 IU a day of Vitamin D demonstrated improvements in insulin resistance, an important part of type-2 diabetes (8).
  • Supplementation with 20,000-40,000 IU vitamin D per week for one year improved depression in overweight and obese individuals (9).
  • Women taking 5000 IU per day of Vitamin D through winter decreased their risk of developing symptoms of depression (10).

How much vitamin D do you need?

Vitamin D is know as the sunlight vitamin because it is produced in your skin in response to sun exposure. The major cause of vitamin D deficiency is lack of adequate sunlight as it is almost impossible to obtain adequate vitamin D from food (11). Vitamin D authority Dr Michael Hollick recommends “sensible sun exposure, which is often limited to no more than 5–15 min of arms and legs between the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM in the spring, summer, and fall at latitudes above and below 35° and all year near the equator (12).”

For most people daily Vitamin D supplementation is necessary, particularly through the winter months.  A daily amount of 800-1000IU per day will satisfy your body’s basic requirement and higher doses are needed to correct deficiency. To boost your levels leading advocates recommend you take 5,000 IU per day for 2–3 months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test and adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round, usually a minimum of 2000 IU a day (13).



1. Holick MF, Chen TC. Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Apr;87(4):1080S-6S.

2. Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, Recker RR, Heaney RP. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. Am J  Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1586-91.

3. El-Hajj Fuleihan G, Nabulsi M, et al. Effect of vitamin D replacement on musculoskeletal  parameters in school children: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Feb;91(2):405-12.

4. Broe KE, Chen TC, Weinberg J, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Holick MF, Kiel DP. A higher dose of vitamin d reduces the risk of falls in nursing home residents: a randomized, multiple-dose study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Feb;55(2):234-9.

5. Hypponen E, Laara E, Jarvelin M-R, Virtanen SM. Intake of vitamin D and risk of type 1 diabetes: a birth-cohort study. Lancet 2001;358:1500–3

6. Munger KL, Zhang SM, O'Reilly E, et al. Vitamin D intake and incidence of multiple sclerosis. Neurology 2004;62:60–5.

7. Merlino LA, Curtis J, Mikuls TR, et al; Iowa Women's Health Study. Vitamin D intake is inversely associated with rheumatoid arthritis: results from the Iowa Women's Health Study. Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Jan;50(1):72-7.

8. von Hurst PR, Stonehouse W, Coad J. Vitamin D supplementation reduces insulin  resistance in South Asian women living in New Zealand who are insulin resistant and vitamin D deficient - a randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2010 Feb;103(4):549-55.

9. Jorde R, Sneve M, Figenschau Y, Svartberg J, Waterloo K. Effects of vitamin D  supplementation on symptoms of depression in overweight and obese subjects: randomized double blind trial. J Intern Med. 2008 Dec;264(6):599-609.

10. Shipowick CD, Moore CB, Corbett C, Bindler R. Vitamin D and depressive symptoms in women during the winter: a pilot study. Appl Nurs Res. 2009 Aug;22(3):221-5.

11. Holick MF, Chen TC. Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Apr;87(4):1080S-6S

12. Holick MF. Vitamin D: a D-Lightful health perspective. Nutr Rev. 2008 Oct;66(10 Suppl 2):S182-94.

13. The Vitamin D Counsil. Understanding Vitamin D Cholecalciferol. Accessed online at 26-04-2010 

Tags: Vitamin D

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