Who should use vitamin D?

Many calcium supplements include vitamin D (to help absorption); buy the combo. D is called the sunshine vitamin because it’s manufactured in the skin whenever you get about 15 minutes of sunlight. If you’re slathering on sunscreens (as you should) and/or you’re dark skinned or live in the northern half of the country, it’s surprisingly easy to run low on D. Plus many researchers now suspect the daily value (DV) for this vitamin is too low and recommend at least 1,000 IU (international units) a day, not the currently recommended 400 IU. Not coincidentally, a lack of D appears linked to low moods and mental fogginess. Make sure you take vitamin D3, the kind your body makes.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

Vitamin D should be used by people who may be considered high risk for vitamin D deficiency. People that would tend to fall into this category would be older adults, obese individuals, dark-skinned individuals, people who get limited sun exposure, and infants who are exclusively breast fed with limited exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is effective for people with alcoholism, liver or pancreas disease, intestinal disease, people without a stomach, weak or painful bones, low levels of phosphate in the system, and people with kidney failure or thyroid problems that may have low levels of calcium. A specific form of vitamin D may also be used for people with psoriasis or osteoporosis. It can also be used by people taking corticosteroids and to help prevent falls in older people.

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine
The medical evidence is solid that you likely will need vitamin D supplementation if you are elderly or otherwise decreased in mobility; if you have increased risk of cardiac disease or cancer; if you have dark skin; or if you live in northern locations with limited sunlight. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily dose of 600 IU (international units), and many people don't get that much.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.