Is there a way to see how much vitamin D I need?

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Yes, your doctor can check a simple blood test to see what your level is. The current recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D appears to be a bit too low. When blood levels of vitamin D were measured in studies showing benefit, the levels that were effective for prevention generally couldn’t be achieved by following the current government recommendations.

The current RDA for an adult under age 70 is 600 IU, or 15 micrograms; over age 70, the RDA goes up to 800 IU (20 mcg). Vitamin D can be a tricky to get enough of. Getting plenty of sunshine has been the age-old way for most people to produce the necessary amount, but most people today simply don’t have the time outdoors or live in areas with the right weather. The most convenient way to get enough vitamin D is through a vitamin D supplement. Based on Dr. Steve’s experience with his patients, he believes a vitamin D supplement is helpful for most everyone.

Nearly all nonprescription vitamin D supplements contain cholecalciferol, also known as vitamin D3, which is the type your body makes from the sun. Look on the label to be sure you’re buying this form and not the less effective form called ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2. D2 isn’t as potent as D3 and doesn’t last as long in the body.

Of course, since cholecalciferol is just the vitamin D made by your body when it is exposed to sunlight, you can help yourself out in lots of ways by just getting a little bit of sun. This is a lot different than getting a tan; there’s no swimsuit required (just face and hands is enough).

Your body only needs sunlight for about 10-15 minutes about 2-3 times a week to give your vitamin D levels a boost. If it is a sunny day, just take a walk after lunch!

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