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BY: Dr Michael Holick
Do you know what your vitamin D levels are?
You should. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to many cancers, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and more -- while high levels protect against these diseases. In addition, research shows that getting enough D can make it easier to drop weight.
What to look for: The next time you get your cholesterol checked, ask your doctor to check your D levels as well. (The same blood test can do both.) Levels between 50 and 80 ng/ml are essential to experience the benefits, depending on your age, weight, overall health and individual amount of exposure to the sun.
What to take: Until you’re tested, take a daily supplement that contains approximately 5000 IU of vitamin D a day. (Amounts up to 10,000 IU have repeatedly been proven safe.) Children under the age of one should take 1000 IU a day; kids older than one should take 1000 IU for every 25 pounds (11 kg) of their body weight. If possible, take your D with the biggest meal of the day for the best absorption. D comes in two forms: D2 or D3. Either one is fine. Personally, I take 2700 IU of D.
And when summer rolls around again, consider spending a little time outside without sunscreen so you can absorb D the way nature intended. I don’t bake in the sun, but I don’t wear sunscreen while cycling or playing tennis except for on my face. Fifteen minutes in the sun before 11am and after 3pm should be enough to cover your daily D needs, recommends the Cancer Council Australia.
Dr Michael Holick author of The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problem. This is his first article appearing in Oral Care and Health Daily (Australia & New Zealand).
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