The benefits of Vitamin D

Published 10:36am Friday, June 1, 2012

We obtain vitamin D, three different ways.
1. Through our diet, from sources like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, or cod liver oil (the richest dietary source). Small amounts are added to most dairy products.
2. From dietary supplements.
3. From exposure to sunlight. That’s right vitamin D3 (sometimes called the sunshine vitamin) is synthesized in our skin when “7-dehydrochlesterol” (which is a cholesterol precursor) reacts with ultraviolet light.
In fact several studies show fewer incidents of autoimmune disease and multiple sclerosis in those who live closest to the equator. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you become a sun worshiper. It takes very little sun exposure to produce vitamin D. For some, as little as five minutes, twice a week.
If you’re already tan or have darker skin, it may take 15-20 minutes, and if you’re black, it takes six times the sun exposure to produce vitamin D.
If you’re going to use supplementation, I recommend 600iu daily of vitamin D3 for ages 1-65. For those 66 and older, 800iu. For those vitamin D deficient, upper limits can be as high as 10,000iu, but only under a doctor’s recommendation and direct supervision.
Remember Vitamin D is fat soluble, and it’s stored in the liver, so levels can accumulate, and reach toxic levels. Too much vitamin D can also cause a condition called “hypercalcemia,” where blood calcium levels rise too high. This can cause renal failure as well as damage to organs.
Also, when taking vitamin D, ask your doctor to monitor your status if you are living with any chronic liver or kidney disorder.
Diet or exercise question? Email me at or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and personal trainer for 26 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, Converse college equestrian team, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.

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