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What Is the Optimal Vitamin D Level?

If everyone took 2,000 units of vitamin D a day, it could shift the curve from average blood levels in the mid-50s to about a 110 nmol/L (44 ng/ml), which some estimate could add years to our life expectancy. Data derived from randomized clinical trials have convinced some influential experts, such as Harvard’s Chair of Nutrition, that we should shoot for this kind of range, levels that about nine out of ten people fail to reach because it may necessitate taking 1,800 to 4,000 units of vitamin D a day.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), however, considered blood levels of 50 nmol/L (20 ng/ml) to be sufficient and therefore recommended only 600 to 800 units a day for those with little or no sun exposure. Why so low? Because the IOM was only considering bone health. Even if we cared just about our bones and not our lifespan, we’d still probably want to shoot for a 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml) threshold, because there’s evidence from hundreds of autopsies of people who died in car accidents, for instance, showing osteomalacia, or softening of the bones, in 18 to 39 percent of people who reach the IOM target of 50 nmol/L, but failed to make it to 75 nmol/L.

There has even been a charge that the Institute of Medicine simply made a mistake in its calculations, and, based on its own criteria, should be recommending thousands of units a day, as well. However, the mere absence of soft bones “can hardly be considered an adequate definition either of health or of vitamin D sufficiency.” It’s like saying you only need 10 mg of vitamin C to avoid scurvy—yes, but we need way more than that for optimal health.

The Institute of Medicine took the position that the burden of proof “fell on anyone who claimed benefits for intakes higher than the panel’s [minimal] recommendations,” which is a good approach for drugs. For unnatural substances, less is more until proven otherwise. For nutrients, however, shouldn’t the starting point at least be the natural levels to which our bodies have become finely tuned for millions of years? I explore this question in my video The Optimal Dose of Vitamin D Based on Natural Levels.

The target level of 75 nmol/L only sounds high compared to average levels today, but in modern times, we often practice unnatural activities like working at a desk job, or even wearing clothes! We evolved running around naked in equatorial Africa getting sun all day long. If we measure vitamin D levels in those living traditional lives in the cradle of humanity, a normal vitamin D level would be over 100 nmol/L (40 ng/ml). So, maybe that should be the starting point until proven otherwise—a concept, regrettably, many guideline committees seem to have ignored.

The natural level, however, isn’t necessarily the optimal level. Maybe the body would have thrived with less, so we still have to look at what levels correspond to the lowest disease rates. And, when we do, the higher levels do indeed seem to correlate with less disease.

When I was doing pediatrics, it always struck me that breastfed babies required vitamin D drops. Shouldn’t human breast milk be a perfect food? Of course, for the medical profession, the solution is simple: Provide the baby supplements, the vitamin D drops. But it seems like we shouldn’t have to. If we measure human breast milk these days, however, it has virtually no vitamin D and would cause rickets unless the mom has vitamin D levels up around the level natural for our species, which of course makes total sense. The way we live in our modern world is like an environmental mismatch. It helps to think of vitamin D as what it truly is: a hormone, not a vitamin. If you think of it as a hormone, then it would be reasonable to have normal levels. We physicians try to maintain blood pressure and all sorts of parameters within normal limits, “but why so little attention is paid to the status of the hormone ‘vitamin D’?”


If one is going to make an evolutionary argument for what a “natural” vitamin D level may be, how about getting vitamin D in the way nature intended—that is, from the sun instead of supplements? That’s the subject of my video The Best Way to Get Vitamin D: Sun, Supplements, or Salons?.

For the other videos in this series, check out:

I also explore vitamin D as it relates to specific diseases:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


154 responses to “What Is the Optimal Vitamin D Level?

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    1. Vitamine D is part of a chain. We do not know all of it. But if you take D you should add K2-natto based and boron too. Do not do this if you take medicine to thin your blood OR take max 50mg natto based k2. If you need info just watch Dr. Berg.

      1. Berg is not a doctof medicine, he is a chiropractor.

        Further, his judgement is extremely poor. For example, e repeats idiotic lies about Ancel Keys that he has found on the internet or in the trashy ‘health’ books by the likes of Gary Taubes et al. He obviously hasn’t read any of the studies/articles by Keys that he pontificates about. Otherwise, he would know that the statements he makes in his videos are factually incorrectly. Or possibly he just doesn’t care

        He also dismisses all the scientific evidence about the risks associated with high (LDL) cholesterol levels as a myth and promotes ketogenic diets. In my opinion, he is a highly untrustworthy source of information on health and nutrition. I wouldn’t trust his advice for a second.

    2. I am coming to the end of my year’s supply of vitamin D3 extracted from lichen and I have been looking for one without sugar (sucrose) which this one has, which is not easy to find. But , as I was searching, I came across a comment somewhere saying that lichen has a lot of fiber and create a lot of itching, which I seem to suffer from and inflammation deeper in the body, which I have as well. Otherwise I have been vegan for something like 27 years, I eat a lot of raw, like one green smoothie and a large salad every day, so very healthy diet so cannot understand what on earth I am doing wrong, it seems the only thing. Are my concerns valid?

      1. There is no way to know except by trial. Stop taking the lichen based one and take an algae sourced one and see. They do not have sugar in any of them I have seen.

      2. Nicole T

        So called ‘vegan’ diets are not necessarily healthy. Much may depend on what else you are eating besides the raw foods and salads. “Vegan’ diets often include highly processed foods.
        which are not healthy. Studies have shown that eating lots of fruits and vegetables may not help if we are also eating bad foods like eg red meat
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27557655

        Also, how much vitamin D are you taking? Too much may be problematical …..

        ‘Taken together, animal and human studies suggest that optimal concentrations of both vitamin D and vitamin K are beneficial for bone and cardiovascular health as supported by genetic, molecular, cellular, and some human studies. However, vitamin D and calcium supplementation along with vitamin K deficiency might also induce long-term soft tissue calcification and CVD, particularly in vitamin K antagonist users and other high-risk populations. At this moment, we should be careful about supplementing high-dose vitamin D, unless indicated differently.’
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5613455/

        1. I have eaten a whole year in 2014 entirely raw but I started eating cooked food again since, all vegetable steamed plus non gluten cereals like quinoa, buckwheat, polenta, tapioca, potatoes, all lightly boiled the occasional taste of a vege burger 2 mouthful), I don’t ever fry anything, don’t keep oil, sprout those cereals also and the best soya milk without additive and I know where the soya comes from. I was taking until a few days ago 2500iu of this cholecalciferol, it is probably possible that it is too much, B12 in the form of methylcobalamin and adrenocobalamin sublingual 500 microgram, about once a week a bone support with vit D3, K2, isoflavones,magnesium & calcium. No animal matter whatsoever, have stopped 27 years ago and whatever else I do, I would never start having that again.

            1. And Omega 3 (DHA and EPA), chia seeds and the odd nuts and sunflower seeds and avocados. But try not to have them all the time, give it a break every so often.

              1. I never see mentioned “cold pressed organic flax seed oil”, which is very high on Omega 3, less 6 and 9. Needs to be kept in the fridge once the bottle is opened and never use it heated and baked. Doesn’t taste great, but is also very helpful to combat digestive problems. It’s very popular in Europe, in particular in Germany.

                1. Flax contains only ALA which may or may not be converted to EPA/DHA in the body. A great many people do not convert well and so are deficient not matter how much flax/flax oil they consume. Fresh ground flax has other benefits besides the ALA though which are not in the extracted oil

                2. You won’t see oil of any kind recommended on this website because it is not a processed food. Oil is a very concentrated form of calories and fat. There are other better methods of obtaining your Omega 3s as outlined in NutritionFacts videos. However this oil like many others is marketed well so it is popular–but that doesn’t make it healthy!

      3. Hi I’m a RN health support volunteer. That is an interesting question. The best way to find out if it is your supplement is to stop it for a time and then see if your symptoms resolve. Your vitamin D level will not deplete in a short time. If that seems to be the case, you can try vitamin D2 which is the plant based form of it.

        All the best,
        NurseKelly

  1. The vitamin D level and the vitamin D dose are NOT the same thing. Different people need wildly different dosage to get to the same blood level. Based on experience I need about 13-14 i.u./day to reach 100 ng/ml blood level. 8000 i.u daily just gets me to about 45 ng/ml.

    1. The above is based on Dr Fuhrman suggestion and my experience that every added 1000 i.u. daily increases blood level but about 1000 ng/ml

      1. ‘Furthermore, while serum 25(OH)D levels increase in response to increased vitamin D intake, the relationship is non-linear for reasons that are not entirely clear [1]. The increase varies, for example, by baseline serum levels and duration of supplementation. Increasing serum 25(OH)D to >50 nmol/L requires more vitamin D than increasing levels from a baseline <50 nmol/L. There is a steeper rise in serum 25(OH)D when the dose of vitamin D is <1,000 IU/day; a lower, more flattened response is seen at higher daily doses. When the dose is ≥1,000 IU/day, the rise in serum 25(OH)D is approximately 1 nmol/L for each 40 IU of intake. In studies with a dose ≤600 IU/day, the rise is serum 25(OH)D was approximately 2.3 nmol/L for each 40 IU of vitamin D consumed [1].'
        https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

      1. I feel like Vitamin D needs to be studied for the variables.

        It feels like so many doctors are saying to not supplement at all nowadays and I want to ask them

        Would that be what you say to a dark-skin, elderly, obese person, who lives in the Northern Hemisphere and who cannot tolerate the heat and stays indoors year round and who eats a very low-fat diet?

        Do any of those factors change your answer?

        1. Someone could literally fall into all of those categories.

          (I think of High Carb Hannah gaining 30 pounds eating only fruit. There are obese low-fat eaters.)

        2. The Fruit Doctor has done some very interesting trials on herself (she shows blood test results) eating just lettuce and fruit, but she is mostly blogging about cholesterol, not Vitamin D. Her results are quite interesting.

  2. I have been taking 4000 to 6000 iu Vitamin Din oil based drops for years and cannot get my level above 40. I live North of 45 degrees lattitude and everyone I know is taking Vitamin D supplements and still low normal level and not able to make it rise to a level of 80 or 100 which may be considered optimal from a hormone and disease prevention point of view. Are there other co-factors that are affecting the ability of vitamin D absorption? Take with or without food or acidic foods or some other enzyme or co-factor that needs to be present in order to absorb the supplements better? I don’t understand why my friends, patients and self cannot seem to increase to optimal levels with supplementation and two hours (even more than 20 minutes at our altitude) of sun exposure would burn us all to a crisp, so not a viable substitute.

    1. Maybe you need to take a higher amount of vitamin D? Vitamin D is fat soluble and so absorption is better when taken with a little fat. I live in Detroit (42.3deg N). I have not been getting sun exposure on regular basis. Raised my Vitamin D from 40 ng/mL to 51 ng/mL (128nmol/L) in a year through 10,000 IU everyday.

  3. I breastfed my babies. Never heard of a need for them to take Vitamin D drops ?!? That was in the 70s, so maybe doctors have quit encouraging formula feeding and have learned more about natural child rearing practices and nutritional needs.

  4. One thing I find confusing is that some people talk in “ng/mL”, and some talk in “nmol/L”. While those units are quite different, it doesn’t jump out as obvious to me because I would assume everyone talks in the same units.

    When I get my blood tests, the results for Vit D are in ng/mL. However, Dr. Greger gives values in nmol/L. Note that 75-100 nmol/L is the same as 30-40 ng/mL (if the Google conversion is correct).

    1. I know! Labcorp and Quest, the two biggest diagnostic labs nationwide, plus HMOs like Kaiser all use ng/ml units, and Dr. Greger uses nmol/L units. They are NOT the same. I wish he would provide the equivalent doses in mg/ml… but I believe the optimal range that functional medical doctors advise is 40-60 mg/ml. And if you have a BMI in the overweight to obese range you may need alot more than 2,000 IU per day to get up into that range.

      1. I am caucasian, 5’3″ X 120 lbs so BMI is 21. I eat pretty much the way Dr Greger recommends i.e. WFPB no junk etc. I need 8000 i.u./day to keep to his suggested range of Vitamin D

      1. YR
        The cost of sunshine is written on my face, neck and chest. All of the years spent in the sun have taken a toll on my skin. Wish I knew how to benefit from sun exposure without further damage.

        1. Lida,

          As I posted elsewhere, I always wear a hat of some sort when I venture out, and avoid the hot hours of the (summer) days. Always wear my sunglasses. Never just sit somewhere and sunbathe (like at a beach). Keep moving. If you get sun exposure on just a small portion of your body, that counts!

          Best to go out either in the early hours of the day or else late afternoon, early evening. I live in an apartment complex, and my windows face the west. I often open one of them and, without looking directly at the setting sun, just stand there for a while….soaking in those beneficial rays.

          Also, in my earlier post I quoted Noel Coward: “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”

          https://www.nutritionadvance.com/health-benefits-of-the-sun/

          The sun can be either our friend or our enemy.

          1. The UK is all North of latitude 50. The US (sans Alaska) is all South of latitude 50.

            Englishmen going out in the midday sun is probably a good thing.for them.

            1. ‘In 2016, the UK Science Advisory Council on Nutrition (SACN) made a clear statement that in countries such as the UK it was impossible for everyone to make sufficient vitamin D. SACN recommended that everyone in the UK obtains 10 micrograms/day (400 IU/day) vitamin D through food or supplements to maintain blood levels of vitamin D above 25 nmol/L. This is because most people in the UK are below the 50 nmol/L …’
              https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-nutrient-intake-dietary-supplement-use-and-mortality-in-the-us/

          2. YR, while that is a very reasonable approach to take there are others (Dr. Mercola) who say that you have to expose as much of your upper torso and legs to get the full benefit of the sun’s D. They usually suggest 20 minutes a day this way or until you turn a light pink. I hope your way does still give us the benefit we seek.

                1. So what does eating meat have to do with his take on vitamin D from the sun?? I think he does spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun and it has nothing to do with his meat eating. I don’t support everything he says or does but he often makes some valid points.

                  1. Very true, and I agree with you. I like to hear/read his take on things. The health gurus can’t ALLl be right ALL of the time.

                    I’m thinking, though, that Dr. Mercola would be on the Eschew List of dear Fumbles — which seems to be growing.

                    1. If I had one criticism of this forum it would be that they can be very vitriolic in their defense of the WFPB diet. No reason to vilify those who do not follow it or do not follow it to the letter. I don’t think Dr. Greger would consider them EVIL but just UNINFORMED. This is not always a kind and gentle place. But I try to overlook that and focus on the information that I do gain from the forum and, of course, from Dr. Greger’s research.

                    2. YR

                      The problem with being easy on individuals who make a lot of money from promoting nutritional nonsense is that people die or have their health ruined by following their advice.

                      Someone once said that Atkins was responsible for more deaths than World War 2. I can well believe it.

                      In the end it doesn’t matter if they are cynical charlatans who realise that there’s money to be made from telling people what they want to hear or just gullible cranks who simply repeat other people’s lies. The end result is the same: increased rates of chronic disease and premature mortality. Should we be quiet when there are posts here praising such people and their claims?

                      Given that you believe that astrology, ‘medical mediums’ and the alleged messages of channelled supernatural entities are valid sources of information, I understand that you don’t share my beliefs on this matter. I suggest though that this is more a reflection on you than it is on me.

                    3. “I understand that you don’t share my beliefs on this matter. I suggest though that this is more a reflection on you than it is on me.”
                      – – – – – –

                      Fumbles,

                      And most of us are quite aware that you are an “atheist.” You’ve mentioned it often enough. So which is worse, a seeker of spiritual wisdom, or one who rigidly stamps his little foot and pouts, “It’s impossible”?

                    4. I don’t say that “it’s impossible”, YR, I just say that there is no evidence that there are gods, Tooth Fairies, Easter Bunnies or little green men for that matter so why should I or anyone else believe in them? It’s not impossible that there are but it seems much more likely that human beings come to erroneous conclusions or even make this stuff up to obtain power, wealth, status or whatever. Perhaps that’s why they all emphaisise the importance of faith. If there’s no credible evidence for the existence of Odin or Jove or whatever, then yes you have to rely on cultural traditions and faith don’t you? Not forgetting that there are also people who hear voices ………..

                      Of course, there is good money to be made from selling ‘spiritual wisdom’ to those who want to believe.

                      You and others have mentioned your religious and/or ‘spiritual’ beliefs a lot more often than I’ve mentioned my lack of such beliefs so your complaint on that point sounds a tad hollow. Typical of believers but hollow.

                    5. NDEs are very culturally specific. You don’t find Hindus, Buddhists, animists etc meeting Jesus in those circumstances.

                      Also, most people who ‘die’ don’t have an NDE.

                      An alternative explanation for those things is that they are a special type of dreaming or subconscious mental response to an existential health crisis. Massive physical changes occur in such situations and it’s possible/likely that many people will experience equally significant mental/emotional effects too.

                      Even if these experiences did have some objective reality, they would still not prove the existence of god(s). Gods are not a necessary condition for an afterlife.

                    6. “NDEs are very culturally specific. You don’t find Hindus, Buddhists, animists etc meeting Jesus in those circumstances.

                      Also, most people who ‘die’ don’t have an NDE.”
                      – – – – –

                      Very true. Native Americans arrive at what they think of as The Happy Hunting Grounds. And so forth, depending upon “religious” beliefs. The dude called Jesus certainly isn’t the only one supposedly greeting those who pass. There are those who never even heard of the guy.

                      And it goes without saying that “most people who die don’t have an NDE.”

                      (BTW, I turned away from organized religion decades ago.)

                    7. Thanks for the link YR but YouTube videos by bs artists are not examples of ‘credible evidence’ in my book.

                      But people want to believe this stuff, so it sells.

                      But if we are “god” then god must be a monster given what happened to the victims of Stalin’s/Hitler’s/Mao’s/Pol Pot’s death camps and countless millions of others throughout history. Not to mention the absolute horrors that billions of sentient creatures are subjected to as part of our animal agricultural system.

                    8. Oh sure, the inevitable Hitler arguments. And why do people die from (insert disease), horrible accidents, crib death, starvation, yada yada? There are answers.

                      “When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.”

                    9. Perhaps my problem is that I get my philosophy from WC Fields rather than fortune cookies

                    10. Then there was the Amish alcoholic. She kept falling off the wagon.

                      ‘When the sucker is ready, the con artist will appear.’

                    11. Thanks Geoffrey.

                      I wasn’t aware that DMT also produced NDE like experiences. I’d known about ketamine for 20 years though. Perhaps ketamine is just more widely available and used.

                    12. Might be. Funny though because ketamine is a pharma drug and closely regulated while DMT you can extract from a number of easily obtainable plants with some very simple kitchen chemistry, an acid/base extraction.
                      DMT is more known for alien abduction but that is so similar to NDE…I don’t know, I’ve never had and NDE or been abducted!

                    13. YR

                      If I have a ‘drinking problem; – and it’s true that I am a tea tank – then perhaps you have your own problems?

                      ‘the Peters’ Delusion Inventory (PDI) …… is a measure of delusional thinking in the general population and contains items related to paranormal phenomena (e.g., belief in telepathy, witchcraft, and voodoo) as well as strength of belief and level of distress associated with these (Peters et al., 2004).’
                      https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01424/full

                    14. Fumbles, the so-called human has a lot of amazing qualities. For instance, who can explain why certain people can “see” events before they happen, for instance? Or are able to heal themselves just by their thoughts? (They can also kill themselves by their thoughts.)

                      We had a tragedy in my building (independent living for 62 and older) a couple of weeks ago. One of the females jumped out of a window of her 10th floor apartment and killed herself. Our super found her body the next morning. What a horrible shock that must have been for him.

                      Just a week before her suicide I had a very vivid dream. Couldn’t tell if it was a male or female, but it was somebody I knew. This person very calmly took a flying leap off a high building and landed on the pavement below. Died, of course. The dream woke me up, and I was furious with whatever “dream-maker” gave me this dream.

                    15. Many years ago when I was just about to fall asleep during an afternoon nap, a very bright white light surrounded me and my bed. Where did that come from? I don’t take drugs or drink alcohol. The light was so bright it hurt my eyes.

                      I’ve also had many astral projection experiences, but I won’t say any more on this. Don’t get them anymore. :-(

                      As for the NDEers, some of them say their lives have completely changed since having them. Many of former atheists are now able to predict the future, read people’s auras, etc. Others have changed so much they quit their corporate jobs, leave their spouses…..

                    16. Just a week before her suicide I had a very vivid dream. Couldn’t tell if it was a male or female, but it was somebody I knew. This person very calmly took a flying leap off a high building and landed on the pavement below. Died, of course. The dream woke me up, and I was furious with whatever “dream-maker” gave me this dream.
                      ————————————————————-
                      When first reading this my thoughts went immediately to Quantum Entanglement. Not sure this fits the bill for that, but the fact QE exists suggests there are still things out there we do not yet understand.
                      ____________________________________________________

                      Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon which occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other, even when the particles are separated by a large distance—instead, a quantum state must be described for the system as a whole.

                    17. Hmm, I never heard of the term before, Lonie. It’s said that there’s no past, present or future and that everything is happening in the NOW — which might explain why I “saw” the event a week before it happened. Linearly speaking, of course.

                      Yup, there’s SO much we have yet to learn about ourselves.

                      http://everything.explained.today/Quantum_entanglement/

                    18. If people have a hundred dreams, it’s the one that became ‘true’ that they always mention. The other 99 are always forgotten.

                      Just like the annual predictions for the year ahead by astrologers, economists and stock pickers. Everybody politely forgets the 99+% that failed but excitedly trumpets the odd one or two that came to pass (more or less).

                      I suspect that coincidence, the law of averages and using a large hammer to bang a square peg into a round hole can better explain these kinds of things than psychic prediction or even quantum entanglement. Evena stopped clock and all that …………

                    19. If people have a hundred dreams, it’s the one that became ‘true’ that they always mention. The other 99 are always forgotten.

                      Just like the annual predictions for the year ahead by astrologers, economists and stock pickers. Everybody politely forgets the 99+% that failed but excitedly trumpets the odd one or two that came to pass (more or less).

                      I suspect that coincidence, the law of averages and using a large hammer to bang a square peg into a round hole can better explain these kinds of things than psychic prediction or even quantum entanglement. Evena stopped clock and all that …………
                      —————————————————————————————————-
                      Tom, my practical side agrees with you. My intuitive side however, remembers a visit to a palm reader some 30 to 40 years ago. We were a party of 5 or 6 and the group reading was set up by a lady who worked for me and with whose husband I would go out drinking with.

                      The lady told my friend’s wife that he was in for some bad times… he died of lung cancer less than a year later. She told another friend who asked the question of whether he would ever be rich that he would not but he would live a long life. Last I heard he was still alive well into his 90’s but not rich. Also, last I heard, he was still taking a shot of whiskey daily, claiming it cleaned out his arteries. ‘-)

                      When she read mine, I won’t say she was shaken, but maybe a little startled. She quickly stopped my read and as far as I know, never said anything in re: me to myself or anyone else in the party. I wasn’t very inquisitive back then and didn’t really care what she thought as I wasn’t a believer in such folderol.

                      I’m wishing now I had inquired.

                2. That West window must be full spectrum UV transparent or it will do you no good at all. Might be fun for the neighbors though.

                3. Hmmm…..maybe I could give the neighborhood a thrill. Good idea. :-) They’d only see my top half, of course.

                  (I also eat foods that contain Vit. D.)

                    1. I know. And that’s why I don’t consider myself 100% WFPB. I do eat (some) animal foods, whereas most folks here probably don’t.

                  1. I don’t really understand why some people think that a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet necessarily consists of 100% plants. If it did, simple logic would mean that it should be called a whole food plant or whole plant food diet. The key word for me in WFPB is ‘based.’

                    A diet based on plants doesn’t necessarily exclude animal foods. This is clear from the various food pyramids created by health authorities around the world. The base of these pyramids is much always whole plant foods eg
                    https://www.safefood.eu/Healthy-Eating/The-Food-Pyramid-and-The-Eatwell-Guide/The-Food-Pyramid.aspx

                    The big question is really: what proportion of a healthy (WFPB) diet should consist of animal or processed foods (this question assumes that people are not taking supplements and that therefore people will need B12 from fortified processed foods or animal foods for example).

                    If people take supplements of B12 and vitamin D.etc, then perhaps animal foods become unnecessary for optimum health. As far as I know, though, there is no conclusive evidence that a 100% whole plant food diet delivers better health on average than a WFPB diet that contains a small amount of animal foods like the traditional Okinawan and Japanese diets.

                    1. A very significant percentage of the omnivorous population is B12 deficient. Since symptoms can take many years to develop and include what looks like “old age dementia”, it is probably a very good idea for everyone to supplement regardless of diet. I totally agree with you about “plant based”. I have found I don’t feel well if 100% vegan (zero junk, protein from beans, intact whole grains, nuts/seeds) but if I add a few ounces of animal sourced foods/week I’m fine

    2. YIKES! MISSED THAT! Thank you, very important for clarification of this and my posts above are ok but that means I am in alignment w/ Dr G’s recommends at my 8000 i.u./day and 45 ng/ml blood level

    3. Hello Rachel.

      Yes! You’re right. It can be quite confusing sometimes when values are given in different units. Just as you said, 75-100 nmol/L is the same as 30-40 ng/mL.

      I found this website that can be helpful when converting Vitamin D values to another unit:
      http://www.vitamindservice.com/node/91

      Hope it helps.

  5. Please write about vitamin K2 and how it (along with vitamin D) is required for calcium transport and absorption into the bones, and whether supplements are better than regular consumption of nattou (fermented soy beans) or sauerkraut.

    I’m vegan for over 4 years and only recently started eating nattou and sauerkraut regularly for K2 (MK7) after I heard that we need it for healthy bones and to prevent calcium plaques forming in our arteries.

  6. If you are 70 years old and already diagnosed with osteoporosis is there any benefit to increasing Vitamin D at this stage of life? BTW currently taking actonel.

    1. I am NOT a doctor but I have seen in person some of the horrific side effects of bisphosphonate drugs i.e. jaw bone necrosis. It all depends on your individual set of variables. For the vast majority I think the risks of those drugs far outweighs the very small benefits over time. Take Vitamin D3 to maintain proper blood level along with K2, eat lots of mineral rich vegetables, minimize junk food and acidity pushing dietary components, and get weight bearing exercise to your capacity, walk, jump up and down, dance, lift weights (swimming and bicycle riding are NOT weight bearing).

      Again, I am not a doctor and obviously your call

        1. Two forms of vitamin K. K1 is in leafy greens esp, does all sorts of good things including help blood to clot when needed. K2 only in animal sourced foods, some fermented foods, and if all goes perfectly, converted from K1 in your intestines. It it mostly involved in processing minerals along with Vit D and somehow helps calcium to deposit in bones instead of joints, organs, and blood vessels.

      1. Geoffrey,
        Just because you are not a doctor doesn’t mean that, with respect to nutrition and exercise,
        you don’t know what you are talking about. And conversely, just because a person is a doctor doesn’t mean they know, with respect to nutrition and exercise, what they are talking about!

        1. True enough and thank you for that. I like to say it though because so many people run off and do “whatever” based on the say so of some random person on the internet.

      2. balboa, Geoffrey is right. Bisphosphonates lower the amount of osteoclasts the body makes. Those are the cells that break down bone. That helps short term. But since these drugs do not help produce more osteoblasts ( b for building), eventually you have more damaged old bone which breaks.

        Vitamin K2 along with the proper amount of magnesium (very important), calcium, vitamin D and boron will build bone. You also need some healthy fat to properly absorb these nutrients.
        And as Geoffrey says exercise, muscle pulling on bone, builds bone.

        1. And don’t forget silica… and there’s a number of others that may be relatively minor players but important to end result none the less

        2. Marilyn, in your opinion and as a result of your research and practice, what would be the proper amount of magnesium to take? What do you advise for postmenopausal women as regards calcium, magnesium and boron? I know that D3 will vary based on test results but what do you suggest for the others mentioned?

    2. Hello balboa, thanks for your comment!

      Vitamin D it’s not only important for bone health. It has many other functions and health benefits. To say if you’d benefit for taking supplements or not, it’s better to see where your vitamin D levels are. And based on these results you can talk with your doctor if you need them or not.

      If you want to know how more about vitamin D supplements you can see other Dr. Greger’s videos:

      https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/vitamin-d-supplements/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/should-vitamin-d-supplements-be-taken-to-prevent-falls/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-much-vitamin-d-should-you-take/

      Hope it helps.

  7. Dr. Greger,

    Vitamin D is one of the topics, which the VegSource guy has ridiculously maligned your name about, and looking at everything again, I still come over on your side of the equation.

    I don’t like that he is a negative person in this movement and I don’t like how he has spoken about you and Dr. Fuhrman and Plant Based London.

    I know that he is good friends with Dr. McDougall and I value that you still went and did an interview with Dr. McDougall after all of the internet went abuzz with whether he has dementia or not.

    The group of you being loyal and supportive and having good character is why I keep coming back.

    I hate that sources of division try to tear people like you down and I am not saying that I expect people from WFPB not to disagree, but I have watched breathtakingly enjoyable disagreements on topics regarding WFPB without one unkind sentence and it caused me to care about the cause more.

    I can’t name more than a few WFPB people who have put down people and seeing it upset me.

    Anyway, for Vitamin D, at the end of the whole thing, I still agree with you and regarding nuts, I agree that if people have heart disease they are trying to reverse, then, go Dr. Ornish or Esselstyn and if they do not have heart problems, nuts aren’t going to be a problem – as evidenced by the Adventists where the ones who ate more nuts lived longer.

    Well, I am not a blogger with influence, but I just wanted to say that I examined the evidence and found him being harsh about you in a way which was uncalled for and he didn’t listen to your words and made accusations and that really sucks.

    1. He didn’t just disagree with you. He has said multiple slanders against you and has said something like that apparently he has to correct everything with you and those are personal attacks and I am saying this because he is someone you need to not trust.

      It genuinely breaks my heart because this movement has been so positive and so respectful even in disagreement. You are genuinely someone who deserves respect and I believe in forgiveness and in giving people grace, but he genuinely has an attitude against you and ignores that his sentences accuse you without correcting for what you actually said.

      He is not part of the same process you are and I do not like him breaking the bonds within this movement between people who have been bonded together for so long.

      Guard your heart.

        1. balboa,

          There is a man who is misrepresenting Dr. Greger.

          He is a man who is also respected in WFPB, but he genuinely has logic problems and seems to have it out for Dr. G.

          I say that on purpose. He twisted things Dr. Greger said and Dr. Greger was supporting a colleague who he respects and that man trashed both of them and acted like he was superior to Dr. G.

          That is all.

          Vitamin D is one of the two topics he trashed him about, but the last one upset me more because he kept acting like Dr. Greger said things, which Dr. Greger did not say in the first place. Then, made a cheap shot like “Am I going to have to clean up after Dr. Greger all the time, apparently?”

          I suspect the two men are friends but the man is not disagreeing respectfully with a friend. He is trying to trash Dr. Greger and Dr. Fuhrman’s reputations and I hate that.

          I have watched so many precious videos and these men all seem to genuinely love and respect each other and I hate that this movement is so hard to get mainstream and backstabbing two of the men who have done so much for the movement breaks my heart.

          And, yes, I shouldn’t be getting in the middle of internet things, but the man caused me to have to analyze Dr. Greger and his 19 researchers and Dr. Fuhrman. Is Dr. Fuhrman an upstanding man or a con artist? I have learned so much from both men and don’t like the vendetta way of disagreeing about topics.

          Sorry, Dr. Greger for my fifty cents.

          I do not like what is happening and it is hard for my brain to process why the man is doing it and I already know that he is part of the circle of friends. That makes it suck even more.

              1. Dennis,

                Him saying over and over and over again that Dr. Greger was exaggerating when he was the one actually exaggerating by not listening to what Dr. Greger said as if Dr. Greger doesn’t know the difference between studies of his dear friends and a survey by another dear friend.

                Then, his saying a sentence as if Dr. Fuhrman had intentionally deceived people somehow and knew better that a woman who reversed a disease on his diet 14 years earlier had died 5 years before the average SAD diet, as if Dr. Fuhrman’s diet is worse than SAD and acting as if he and Dr. Greger were covering up things.

                It would be as if I said, “Boy, look at how young Steve Jobs died, obviously McDougall diet is clearly way worse than SAD.”

                He is using studies “future” as if they had already happened and is so condescending and tries to damage the character of these men, rather than arguing a position with logic.

                He clearly doesn’t like the Adventist Study and that is the one Dr. Fuhrman uses the most. Unless there is evidence that the nut industry somehow did something deceptive, his position should at the very least be open to the concept of future studies might clarify things.

                Either way, he should really be respectful of these men.

            1. Balboa,

              He is a man who has a WFPB site and who made a WFPB movie, I think. He is best friends with Dr. McDougall, who is Dr. Greger’s mentor.

              All of these men disagree on topics regularly, but this man doesn’t fight fair and Dr. Greger and Dr. Fuhrman seem to be his targets, but how he presents his information is highly upsetting.

              For instance, Dr, Fuhrman’s survey didn’t name people by name, but he said that he knew who it was by description because Dr. Fuhrman gave him people to help him with his movie project.

              Dr. Fuhrman helped him.

              Without verifying that it even is the same person, which it could well be, he is going to make accusations, because the woman died a few months before the survey results were taken, so Dr. Fuhrman using her data, which was submitted 15 years earlier is somehow scamming people.

              The fact that the people were not named already upsets me that he is going to name someone based on his personal relationship with Dr. Fuhrman as if it would be wrong for Dr. Fuhrman to use the woman’s story as an example.

              I have trouble following his logic, but I know that he just threw a few good doctors under the bus because he is against nuts.

                1. Thanks, Geoffrey!

                  I genuinely appreciate it!

                  I was listening to the Food Revolution Summit speakers talks and missed that Dr. Fuhrman had responded.

                  I genuinely respect these men and see it as if there is such a big war that there are only a few handsful of true leaders and them having to watch out for friendly fire is so disturbing.

                  We live in an age where I can live thousands of miles away and not know any of them and know way too much about all of them.

                  But I am grateful for all of them.

                  1. Now, Dr. Fuhrman gave an exceptional response.

                    Excellent.

                    Mr. Nelson just tried to roll over a tank with a Radio Flyer wagon.

                    Ain’t gonna happen.

  8. Just leaving my own story here — I participated in the Grass Roots D3 study for 6 years and had my D3 levels tested every 6 months. I live in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Plenty of sunshine. I’m 72 and in great health (although I have a genetic elevated level of Lp(a)). At this time, I’m considered to have no symptoms as my IR and A1c are excellent. I get the NMR blood test with my cardiologist due to the genetic elements. My risk factors are non-existent.

    I learned that to maintain a level of 60-70 ng/ml (which I consider to be optimal, not just sufficient), I need 10,000 IU of D3. All this through testing. I prefer to use the D3 associated with salmon oil (very helpful to keep Lp(a) in check), but switched to D3 from the usual cholecalciferol sources. I use a daily supplement of 10,000 IU with 2100 mcg of K2 and 1,000 mcg of sea-iodine – from cholecalciferol sources (Life Extension). I do NOT use table salt with iodine so I added this.

    I documented both outside activities in sunshine here for 2 hours daily PLUS supplementation to arrive at levels of 70-90 ng/ml on the D3 tests I took every six months. I tested in August and February each year so I would have some good data. It took me 10,000 IU with the K2 described above to arrive at the following:

    Here are my results —

    Not only do I have a terrific immune system –

    no colds, no flu (or shots) or anything else;
    reversed osteopenia as measured with dexascans;
    clear arteries with no calcification as measured by EBCT scans;
    lots of energy.

    Since I don’t know whether my IR levels (lowest percentile measured) are related to D3 (did not find research on this), I don’t know what to say here. Much research is left to do. I have reduced my elevated Lp(a) levels to way below what the Philadelphia Heart Institute said was possible. I’m an N=1 here.

    I’ve been researching this since about 2009 and working with the Phila Heart Institute. Here’s my own opinion based on my research and lifestyle changes:

    1. I have always exercised (some years more than others) and still do even at age 72. I walk 6 long fast miles 4-5 times per week and I practice yoga.
    2. I eat a mostly plant-based diet and with fish (a few times per week). Sometimes I break my patterns and eat other meats, but never too much. I do eat one egg every morning. I do include healthy foods, like sprouted grains (occasional Ezekiel bread), sometimes legumes, and usually veggies daily. I do think the calorie count matters for me.
    3. The K2 matters and my cardiologist believes that this is the reason my osteopenia reversed. Verified through dexascan. I went from 2 standard deviations to less than 1 standard deviation. I have not checked since that dexascan 10 years ago.
    4. I drink a couple of glasses of red wine (non-California) nearly daily, although that is not always the case. I drink 4-5 oz per glass. The red wine actually works to lower the Lp(a) levels and raise the HDL levels for me. My HDL stays within a range of 85-100 ng/ml. This has been verified by blood labs both with the red wine and without.
    5. Weight loss has improved my numbers, but that was accidentally achieved through some life events that caused me anxiety and loss of appetite. I kept to my program to get me through those life events. I had no idea at the time that I would see such amazing results. I went from 138 lb to 122 lb (I’m 5’2″).
    6. I never was much for carbs outside of vegetables, so that was not an issue. When I was vegetarian for two years, I relied too much on breads and grains for my main dishes and that did not work for me.

    I was fortunate to be able to test my diet by working with the Philadelphia Heart Institute nearly 20 years ago when I first went to them. I got blood work every 6 months, so I could see what foods worked, what weight and exercise levels worked. They urged me to try Niacin B3 (2 grams daily) to control the Lp(a) and that worked, but it reduced my Lp(a) only by about 20%. From there it was diet, exercise, and weight loss that brought my Lp(a) numbers from 145 ng/ml to 14 ng/ml. They had told me that the genetics could not be changed. I still take the Niacin and am convinced it’s part of my own healthy lifestyle.

    Right now, I’m the only one in my family, to include cousins (aunts and uncles all dead from strokes and heart disease) and my own siblings (high BP and heart problems) who is without any heart disease or BP problems or diabetic complications.

    I hope what I have posted has been helpful for someone in this forum. We all have a story to tell. And being able to share our personal experiences in a clear way can be helpful.

    Thanks, Cindy

    1. Congratulations for reversing your osteopenia!

      So you are taking 10,000 iu per day, plus, 2 hours per day in the sunlight in SC to get to your numbers?

      That is helpful to me.

      I get almost zero minutes in the sunlight in the Northeast per day and might need to go up a little with my D3 because of still being overweight.

      I am doing well on my eating. By that, I mean that I am not using oils or eating junk food or too much processed food, but I have stalled out in weight loss. Not complaining. It just means that I need more D3.

      Mostly, I eat lots and lots of vegetables in 2 low carb, low calorie wraps with hummus or beans almost every night and some fruit. Lunch has more variety. Breakfast tends to just be green tea. Sometimes an Ezekiel english muffin with no oil peanut butter. My snacks are beet and kale chips most days.

      Not much variety, except for lunch, but I do eat broccoli slaw, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, beets, kale, pomegranate seeds, carrots, tricolor peppers, grape tomatoes, shredded cabbage, artichoke, crunchy sprouts, onions and avocado, nutritional yeast and a sprinkle of flaxseeds and usually no-oil garlic hummus in 2 garden vegetable wraps every single day.

      Blueberries are another snack and sometimes Cara Cara oranges or kiwi.

      I wonder if I put too much hummus or avocado on, but that is what makes it satisfying and I felt like the no-oil hummus gave me calorie room, but I could be having too many calories for my metabolism. Not sure. It is 2 wraps, but the current wraps I am using are supposed to be 60 calories each.

      I don’t know. I am not doing this walk for weight loss. I enjoy eating the foods.

      I just know that my Vitamin D3 was zero for a decade or more and I am trying to do better at everything.

      1. Deb,

        When I was part of this Grass Roots Vitamin D3 study, I put in those extra hours with the sunshine as a way to understand the role of supplemental D3 plus/without sunshine. I experimented very deliberately.

        I no longer get outside in the Lowcountry for 2 hours of sunlight at midday. It’s just too darn hot here in those summer months. But I learned that my D3 supplementation PLUS the sunlight would take me to 100 ng/ml. It was an experiment and one I wanted to test. Nowadays, I just take the supplement unless I have that unusual day when I can actually take my shirt off and soak up direct sunlight for 2 hours. On those days, I just do sunlight.

        During winter months, I lived in Southeast Pennsylvania in Amish country. I got out for long walks during mid-day. My levels with the supplementation would drop to 50-60 ng/ml. Just not enough sunlight even at midday to get those 70 ng/ml levels.

        It was eye-opening for me. As someone else has noted, you’ve got to get tested! Test in both winter and summer to find out what your levels are and be aware of how you got your D3, through supplementation or sunlight. It’s a learning process.

        Thanks, Cindy

        1. Cindy,

          YES, It’s just too darn hot here in those summer months, too!

          Right now though it is May 1st and I have a fleece long sleeve top on and it was still too cold and my coworker said that if we don’t see a glimpse of sun pretty soon he might jump off of a bridge.

          It has been so rainy.

          I know for a fact that I don’t get sun between Labor Day through most of May.

          That leaves June, July, and August and half of July and all of August fall in the too darn hot and we have so much humidity. Can’t even breathe.

          That leaves part of May and June as my potential sunlight months, but I am still usually 3/4 sleeve in May and that leaves June.

          I don’t wear shorts and I don’t wear sleeveless tops and don’t sit out in the sun, but probably do get some Vitamin D in June.

      1. @LG King —

        hahahaaa! I will have to ask my cardiologist about testing my TMAO levels! That could take all this research to new levels of “collusion”! I would like to know what 3 oz of fish 4 times a week and that 1 egg add.

        I also follow Mirkin’s blog and understand the TMAO comments.

        I’ve been hoping Dr. Greger would uncover and discuss how a vegetarian diet reduces the Lp(a). It’s such a mixed bag for those of us with this health risk.

        Cindy

    2. I am N=1 also. Walking a mile with a 10 pound weighted vest (I gradually worked up to this distance so knees would not be sore) helped to eliminate my osteopenia. Gradually after a year or so I added another 10 pound weighted vest and a 10 pound weight in each hand, so that now I walk the mile caring 40 pounds of weight. I’ve also lost 20 pounds without changing my diet. Migraines have been eliminated as well. My doctor doesn’t believe my osteopenia was eliminated by this regimen, but I’m convinced of it. If you try this, please do so gradually. My knees ached for about 3 days when I wore the vest for too long a time at first. Now my knees are fine. I also jog a mile several times a week and no knee pain. I’m 65.

      1. Way to go, Irene!

        I used to walk 13 miles a day and once that got easy peasy, I couldn’t afford the time to go any further, so I added arm and leg weights and a backpack.

        Sometimes I liked the weights, but walking always has a sense of freedom and peacefulness for me and the weights change that to a sense of work. Not saying it negatively. I am saying it became an exercise, where without the weights it was “adventure” or “soaking in nature” or “clearing my mind” and I ended up going back to wanting the meditative peacefulness and inner silence.

        Life often is a choice that way.

  9. I still take the Niacin and am convinced it’s part of my own healthy lifestyle.
    … I hope what I have posted has been helpful for someone in this forum. We all have a story to tell.
    ——————————————————-
    As a Niacin aficionado, I agree with your Niacin statement, and salute you for your second statement.

    1. The D level of people living in the wild is around 100. Do not take extreme doses of D if you do not supplement with K2 and boron. D releases the stuff that gets stuck in your blood vessels. And you need K2 from natto to take it where it belongs. We originate from regions with more minerals in the soil. Have you ever bought broccoli and seen a hollow stem? It is caused by a shortage of boron (borium) in the soil.

      1. I’m not certain but pretty sure that most if not all the liver damage cases have been from time release version of niacin which is what Niaspan, the prescription form is. I do know for certain that niacin at moderately high doses can increase insulin resistance somewhat and that can be a concern for some people.

        1. hi Geoffrey,

          My physician said that some of the damage was from a time-release version of niacin available over the counter. He mentioned research to suggest that the time-release mechanism is different from the one in Niaspan.

          I’ve taken the Niaspan, which he said was different from the time-release version over the counter. Something different in the patented delivery system. I’ve never had anything but optimum liver AST and ALT measurements. And I do get those checked every 6 months due to taking this drug.

          I now take the generic form, which is called Niacin E(xtended) R(elease). My numbers remain pretty consistent.

          But I may be that unusual person who does not take any medications, eats a healthy plant-based diets (as described above), has no other health issues, has more normal weight, and exercises. It could be the luck of the draw here. Hard to know.

          Thanks, Cindy

          1. “But I may be that unusual person who does not take any medications, eats a healthy plant-based diets (as described above), has no other health issues, has more normal weight, and exercises.”
            – – – – –

            I’m another. No health issues, normal weight, plenty of exercising — which includes yoga exercises, rebounding, lots of walking, some weight lifting, etc. — and I’ve never taken any medical prescriptions. Also like you, I do eat some animal foods. (But I’m pretty sure I’m older than you are.)

            However, I don’t drink alcohol (eat grapes instead), and I avoid going to doctors.

        2. Wow, thanks, Geoffrey for the heads up about insulin resistance!

          I took Niacin for a while, pre my Whole Food Plant Based adventure.

          I was having night terrors and took high doses because of reading things like this:

          https://www.psychotherapy.net/blog/title/alcoholics-anonymous-founder-bill-wilson-s-long-lost-treatment-paradigm

          It said that people with schizophrenia were helped by Niacin, for instance, and at the time, I was hearing voices and all sorts of things.

          Could have been from never sleeping or from lack of nutrition or from homocysteine or unchecked Diabetes. Who knows.

          All I do know is that I don’t take it anymore and didn’t remember why I would have been taking it until you wrote your comment and I remembered Bill W.

      2. Mr. F –

        Was this OTC Niacin or prescription? My doctor told me there was a difference in how the liver reacted. I discussed with him going to OTC and he shared this with me. I had not seen any research on this OTC niacin at the time.

        Cindy

        1. Thanks for your question, Cindy

          It was a long time ago and it was a non-prescription supplement.

          It may well have been a time release version of niacin but I can’t be sure now because it happened 25 years ago or more.

  10. I’ve searched your blog to learn more about what the right amount of vitamin D and B12 are for me (I’m a 28 year old vegan woman) but I’ve found the information difficult to understand in practical terms. What is a unit? Some of the vitamins I buy have the unit “IU” and others have the unit “mcg.” When I started regularly following the daily dozen I was taking 1 B12 vitamin at 1200mcg every day and 1 vitamin D vitamin at 1,000 IU every day. I found that I broke out in acne on my back and I’ve since stopped taking the vitamins and started searching for guidance. I basically don’t have a family doctor so I rely on websites like this one to do my research. Can you help me understand a bit more? Thanks!

    1. My D was below 20 that is really bad. A Harvard professor looked at my files and recommended me toch check my D. Even with a daily dose of 800 iu it was still below 40.
      About getting D from sunlight: young healthy people have this proces, through the skin sunlight is absorbed, cholesterol is converted into vitamine D. (Not all of it) When we get older this conversion is less succesfull. Resulting in a shortage in D at an old age even if we stay outside. Sorry if my English is not 100% it is not my native language and my memory is getting worse. Another thing that helps me is algae oil capsules to replace fish oil.

      1. Welcome, Kees!

        Your English is quite good!

        Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

        Yes, as we get older, we don’t tend to be outside in the same type of clothing either.

    2. 1200 mcg is 48,000 IU

      1000 IU = 25 mcg

      There is a study about it. That is good news for you. It is easy for you to know that you went to a low dose.

      https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/vitamin-d-status-inversely-associated-with-acne-according-to-new-study/#.XMks5I5Kjv0

      Vitamin D status inversely associated with acne, according to new study. A recent study published by the journal PLoS One found that low vitamin D status was associated with the onset and severity of acne. The study also discovered that vitamin D supplementation improved inflammatory lesions after 8 weeks.

    3. Hi Samantha. Thanks for your comments!

      Vitamins have different measuring units. Some of them are measured in mcg, mg, or IU (international units). This is a standardized and global rule.

      Also, on the internet, you usually find how much supplements you should take, however, I think it’s better to run a lab test to know where your vitamin levels are. Because if you have very low levels, you may need a higher supplements.

      It’s also common to see that vitamin B12 triggers acne in some people (not everyone!) however, as it’s an indispensable vitamin for those following a plant-based diet, you should seek for a lower Vitamin B12 daily dose.

      Hope it helps.

  11. This was the most important passage to me:

    The Institute of Medicine took the position that the burden of proof “fell on anyone who claimed benefits for intakes higher than the panel’s [minimal] recommendations,” which is a good approach for drugs. For unnatural substances, less is more until proven otherwise. For nutrients, however, shouldn’t the starting point at least be the natural levels to which our bodies have become finely tuned for millions of years?

  12. I am male physician from India.My skin is not very dark but my baseline Vit.D level was 12.
    After taking 2000IU of Vit D my level was only 28. so I have been taking 5000 IU everyday.
    Have not checked the blood level since then. I assume my blood level should be OK.
    But now I am curious to check that.

        1. YR,

          Yes, I get those calls all the time.

          I get calls that the warranty on my car is about to expire and I don’t actually own my own car, so I am not planning on renewing the warranty any time soon.

          I also get calls for toner for my printer and that the IRS is suing me and that I am going to be arrested and handcuffed.

          The fact I pay my bills and suspect the IRS could contact me and have me dock my own pay if they want, I am not worried.

    1. I have found Dr Joel Fuhrman’s suggestion to be accurate for me. That is, each 1000 i.u./day that you supplement will increase your blood level by approximately 10 ng/ml. Using that, you can guesstimate from where you are, dosage needed to get you to proper level. Worked like a charm for me

      1. Geoffrey,

        You have been so helpful.

        I am going to end up thanking you multiple times in one blog entry.

        I wasn’t taking D, but I am doing it now for my brain health.

        I mostly just hate pills, but I hate brain problems, too.

  13. An interesting aspect regarding vitamin D and potential mental health effects is that vitamin D improves serotonin activity/concentration through much of the same mechanisms as do common antidepressant drugs:

    1) It acts as a SSRI by repressing the expression of SERT mRNA
    2) It acts as a MAO-I by repressing the expression of MAO-A mRNA
    3) It increases the expression of TPH-2 which is the rate limiting step in serotonin synthesis

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6042449/bin/12263_2018_605_Fig6_HTML.jpg

    Main article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6042449/

    1. Allan,

      That is a fabulous image! I look at the jpg and it has plasticity listed in 2 places. I am working on plasticity!

      Honestly, it is related to Serotonin and Autism that I am much more interested in Vitamin D. I am not someone who has ever been diagnosed with Autism or anything at all for that matter. Kids who are getting abused are separated from doctors and when they are messed up young adults, they hate doctors and when they are middle-aged adults eating poorly they don’t really want to go very much either and when they have a brain breakdown and don’t want to lose their independence, there is no way in Hades that they are going to go. Some of us are walking fabulously out of a brain breakdown and are very interested in plasticity. Plus, I probably would have been in the Autistic spectrum from self-consciousness if self-conscious people were allowed in the club back then. I am not sure I like how very wide the definition is, but it doesn’t matter because learning about how broccoli helped their brains helped my brain and Vitamin D helps their brains and that might help my brain, too.

      What is 1,25 D?

      Is it a type of Vitamin D? Or something which comes from D3?

  14. I avoid the sun because of skin cancers. I have osteopenia, but my last bone scan was improved.
    My doctor has me taking 8000 IU Vitamin D daily. How much is too much?

    1. “Too much” is however much makes YOUR blood level too high. Get tested!
      Adjust dosage. Get tested again!!!!

    2. Beff,

      And what Geoffrey says — get tested, take the supplements, get tested again!

      And as others have said — be sure you take K2 with it. Essential…..

      Cindy

  15. Science is science. Something may be natural but when evidence shows taking it too much is useless, then why should we force people? Higher level of supplementation causes falls in a senior. Who wants to experience a fall due to a supplement with no clear benefit?

      1. Geoffrey Levens, what does your research show to be the upper limit of D3 before it becomes a toxic factor? If it takes 80,000 IU to raise your level to 70 let’s say is that safe? I have read that the upper limit of D3 should be no higher than 10,000 IU. Interested in knowing your take on this. Thanks.

        1. My research is pretty irrelevant because I’m just some random guy tapping on a keyboard. If someone needed 80K i.u./day to maintain a mid-normal range blood level then there is something else very wrong that needs to be investigated and figured out. Published upper limits on daily dosage are based on population averages. I really have no idea of upper safe daily limit other than those numbers

          1. OK, thanks. Your previous comments have suggested to me that you are some kind of research guru when it comes to supplements such as D3.

            1. HAH! Thanks but no, just someone who has an arrogant way with words. I was an acupuncturist for 30 years and worked in health food stores most of that time as well but really, much more oriented towards diet and medicinal herbs than supplements.

          2. Too much” is however much makes YOUR blood level too high. Get tested!
            Adjust dosage. Get tested again!!!!

            So this is what led me to believe that you might know what is too high a blood level.

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