By Dr. Allen S. Josephs 3/11/2010
I’m still reeling from the results of the latest research on vitamin D. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism involved 90 healthy young Californian women between the ages of 16 to 22(1). Incredibly, 59% of these women had vitamin D insufficiency (blood levels less than 29 ng/ml) and nearly 25% were actually vitamin D deficient.
Researchers also found that there was a strong relationship between low blood levels of vitamin D and the likelihood of increased body fat, as well as decreased muscle strength. According to lead researcher Dr. Kremer, this study was the first to show a clear link between vitamin D levels and the accumulation of fat in muscle tissue, a major factor of overall health.
A surprising element of this study is that it involved healthy young women who would be expected to benefit from their youth, along with a good diet and ample sun exposure. In the past, vitamin D deficiency was thought to only be a concern for the elderly and those living in the north. Researchers now believe, however, that vitamin D insufficiency has reached epidemic proportions.
Now you may understand why I am constantly stressing the importance of this nutrient. If you have not had your vitamin D level checked, I urge you do so. The data regarding the benefits of vitamin D is overwhelming and adequate levels are essential to support good health. Although the typical recommendation for adults is 400 IU per day, I recommend taking 2,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D3, the most potent form of the nutrient.
1. Gilsanz V, Kremer A, Mo A, Wren T, Kremer R. Vitamin D status and its relation to muscle mass and muscle fat in young women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. February 17, 2010. [Epub ahead of print]