Vitamin D: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter asks if you are getting enough, and if testing of Vitamin D levels in the blood should be routine

We were impressed by the lead article on Vitamin D in the February 2008 issue of the University of California, Berkeley’s Wellness Letter (a “newsletter of nutrition, fitness, and self-care”). The Wellness Letter is usually quite conservative about recommending nutritional supplements, but in this case it finds the recent wave of research on Vitamin D promising enough to recommend that people “consider taking 800 to 1000 IU of supplemental D a day.”  As the newsletter reports, studies have now gone much beyond the well-known benefit of this vitamin in working with calcium to keep bones strong; recent research has ranged over a much broader field, focusing on Vitamin D’s “potential to reduce risk of everything from some common cancers and multiple sclerosis to diabetes, hypertension, and age-related muscle weakness.” 

Although not going so far as to suggest testing blood levels of D for the general population, the Wellness Letter does recommend talking to your doctor about testing, “especially if you are over 60 […] or have low bone density.”

A further recommendation: “When shopping for a supplement, read the fine print: look for D3 (also called cholecalciferol), which is more potent than D2 (ergocalciferol).”

For other commentary on recent Vitamin D research, see the “Vitamin D” category on this blog.

And you can also read the Vitamin D3 entry on the New York Buyers’ Club website.

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