Overdosing and competition with vitamin A or other nutrients is hardly an issue when you obtain optimal vitamin levels the way Mother Nature intended you to: through sunlight exposure.
There is very little or no risk of vitamin D overdose when your body generates it from healthy sun exposure. This is because your body has a built-in feedback loop, or as shown below.
- When UVB light penetrates your skin, it converts sterol (prohormone 7-dehydrocholesterol), a form of steroid, into pre-vitamin D3. For a couple of days after it is created, the pre-vitamin D3 undergoes more changes in your skin until it turns into inactivated vitamin D3.
- If the cholesterol in your skin is exposed to the sun for long enough, it is converted into chemicals called lumisterol or tachysterol , which are biologically inert, instead of becoming inactivated D3.
Of course, you need to make up for the lack of vitamin D caused by lack of access to sun exposure – either because of winter, too much cloudiness, or little or no time spent outdoors. Here are two ways to do so, plus guidelines to keep your vitamin D levels within the optimal range.
No-Sunshine Solution # 1: Safe Tanning Bed
One option is a safe tanning bed, one which has the harmful emissions shielded. Use one with electronic ballasts instead of magnetic ones. Beware of potentially harmful and outdated equipment from most tanning salons, and instead opt for your own tanning bed or standup system for maximum comfort and benefits.
The UVB rays of a tanning bed will help your body produce vitamin D naturally, aside from the potential skin and overall health benefits offered by other lights, such as red, blue, and infrared lights.
No-Sunshine Solution #2: Vitamin D Supplementation
There are two types of vitamin D supplements: D3 (cholecalciferol) and D2 (ergocalciferol). The former is the natural form that is the same vitamin D your body makes when exposed to the sun. The latter is the synthetic and less preferable version.
You should be vigilant because nearly all vitamin D supplements prescribed today contain synthetic vitamin D2, which was first created in the 1920s via ultraviolet food exposure. It is a patented process that is licensed to drug companies for prescription vitamins. This means that if your get your vitamin D prescription from your doctor, it is almost certainly vitamin D2, not the beneficial D3.
But How Much Vitamin D3 Do You Need?
You should be maintaining therapeutic vitamin D levels of 50 to 70 ng/ml year round. Age-appropriate vitamin D3 doses are recommended daily if you are going to choose supplementation:
- 35 IU per pound for infants and children below 5 years old
- 2,500 IU for children ages 5 to 10
- 6,000 to 8,000 IU for adults and pregnant women
Vitamin D testing is another crucial area, as the correct test to take is 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D test, not 1,25(OH)D. It is the better marker of overall vitamin D states and is most strongly linked to overall health.
Joanne Phillips is a stay-at-home mother, and a parenting and natural health blogger. She is formerly a PR/events organizer. From Michigan, she moved to California two years ago to start raising a family, which now includes identical twins. Joanne Phillips is mainly interested in writing about vitamin D and other supplements, vegetable juicing, and whole foods in the blogosphere. She is a huge fan of Dr. Joseph Mercola where she read health news and information dung her free time.