"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

At the Harvard Forum, experts debate how much vitamin D is enough.

How much vitamin D is enough, and what's the perfect strategy to get your day by day dose of the so-called sunshine vitamin? It relies on who you ask.

Some background: Vitamin D isn't really a vitamin. It is a hormone. The body makes it when sunlight hits the skin. It converts cholesterol's cousin right into a substance that eventually becomes vitamin D. It is understood to assist the digestive system absorb calcium and phosphorus, so it is crucial for bone health. New research supports the proposition—that vitamin D could also be involved in controlling blood pressure, fighting cancer, and even improving the immune system.

In November 2010, a panel of experts on the Institute of Medicine adopted the Vitamin D recommendation: 600 International Units (IU) for anyone aged 1 to 70 years and 800 IU for those over 70 years of age. This was a considerable increase from the previous suggestion of 400 IU. Joan E. MansonIOM panelists told the forum that the brand new recommendations will help be sure that an estimated 97.5 percent of Americans are getting enough vitamin D to keep up healthy bones.

Walter C. Willett And Bess Dawson-Hughes challenged this coverage, saying that the IOM's recommendations would greatly reduce circulating vitamin D in tens of millions of individuals. This is a legitimate concern, as an increasing variety of Americans don't, or cannot, get enough vitamin D from the sun. People who've very low levels of circulating vitamin D include:

  • They are dark skinned
  • are thick
  • Don't exit
  • Wear sunscreen or protective clothing.
  • Have digestive problems, comparable to celiac sprue or inflammatory bowel disease, that make vitamin D difficult to soak up.

Willett and Dawson-Hughes say evidence from large follow-up studies suggests that taking high doses of vitamin D is protected and should help prevent disease.

All the talk focused on taking vitamin D pills or fortifying food with it, not getting it from the sun the way in which humans have been getting it for tens of millions of years. This is a hot button issue, as an excessive amount of sun exposure could cause skin cancer.

So here's my advice from the forum: If you're between 1 and 70, get no less than 600 IU of vitamin D per day, or no less than 800 for those who're over 70. The best strategy to get more is thru weight-reduction plan. Vitamins, but not vitamin D. Only just a few foods—salmon, tuna, sardines, milk, and fortified cereals—can provide you with greater than 100 IU per serving. Supplements are the best, safest strategy to get vitamin D.

Being of healthy mind and body, and only liable for my very own actions, I also get my vitamin D the old-fashioned way. It's a sunny afternoon, and I'm going out for a walk.