Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D During The Dark Days Of Winter?

If you have no idea whether or not you’re at risk of “D-ficiency” or if you are unsure of how relevant it is to you, read this and we’ll help you sort it out.

How to find out if you are getting enough.

If you live in the northwest, it is pretty much a given that your body needs more D than it’s getting. Next time you are seeing your doctor, ask for a vitamin D test. They’ll take a blood sample and get back to you. Serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (also known as 25(OH)D) is the best indicator of vitamin D status. Your 25(OH)D result tells you about the status of your vitamin D concentrations from food and sun combined. The IOM uses 20 ng/mL as the cutoff for determining deficiency. It is very common to have a value lower than 20 ng/mL when you live in the Northwest.

Supplementing with D.

Supplemental vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). While each form is made differently, they both effectively improve vitamin D status when taken as a supplement or added to fortified foods. When shopping for a vitamin D supplement, look for 1000 IU of either D2 or D3.

Choose wisely – not all supplements are created equal. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements, so it is very difficult to know how pure a product is, not to mention whether or not it is contaminated. When you see a “USP” (this stands for United States Pharmacopeia) seal on the front of the supplement bottle, you can be assured this is a solid supplement. It is possible to overdo the D, so be sure that between your food sources of vitamin D and your supplement, you are getting no more than 2000 IU per day.