I’m not a good bleeder. I once tried to give blood and they unhooked me because they thought I’d pass out. I also nearly passed out when my wife had a c-section and the anesthesiologist butchered her increasingly bloody hand while jamming in the IV.
So, while I’m working to overcome my blood phobia, it was no easy task for me to bleed all over the mail-in vitamin D test (that’s not an affiliate link, just a really cool product) I recently ordered. But I had to, because for the past three months I’ve been taking over 11 times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D. And I needed to know whether it was working—and whether I was taking too much.
This was all part of my 2013 New Year’s health resolutions. One of my goals was to begin more aggressive supplementation, and I now take Life Extension Foundation multivitamins, omega 3 supplements, coenzyme Q10, SAMe and vitamin D3 supplements. My total vitamin D3 intake is 7,000 IU, which is about 11.7 times higher than Health Canada’s RDA of 600 IU, and 3,000 IU higher than their tolerable upper intake level of 4,000 IU.
Vitamin D benefits: evidence mounts
Why so much vitamin D? There is now a plethora of evidence linking vitamin D3 deficiency with poorer health, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, respiratory infection, stroke and overall higher mortality. There is also evidence of a protective effect for vitamin D against Multiple Sclerosis, and a link between higher serum vitamin D and lower Parkinson’s disease risk.
In northern areas—such as Toronto, where I live—vitamin D deficiency is more common due to less sunlight, and this can be exacerbated by sunscreen use. So I decided to follow Life Extension Foundation’s advice, take 7,000 IU total each day, and test my blood levels regularly to stay safe.
The optimal level of serum vitamin D appears to be 50-80 ng/mL. Above 100 ng/mL is associated with increased risks of atrial fibrillation. Since I’m taking 11.7 times the RDA, you would expect that I would be at least in the healthy range.
So am I?
Lots of supplements, yet still suboptimal
According to my serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D test results, I’m at 40 ng/mL. Not entirely deficient, but definitely not optimal.
And I’m certainly not alone. In fact, 85% of Life Extension Foundation members were found in a 2010 study to have suboptimal vitamin D levels. And these people are fanatical about their health.
So if you aren’t already taking vitamin D supplements and regularly testing your blood levels (as challenging as that can be), you might want to consider it. Vitamin D is cheap, and while only a blood test can say for sure, my experience suggests you’re highly unlikely to overdose—and much more likely to be deficient.
Image credit: Lυвαιв