Is Vitamin D a Miracle Nutrient? Vitamin D Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Vitamin DWhen a new health/nutrition product hits the market, my clients deluge me with emails and calls. Here’s a typical query: “Do I stop eating fruits and veggies if I drink some of this antioxidant-rich juice?” As a nutritionist, my job includes counseling; consequently, some of the most important time I spend is researching new clinical trials. Currently, the most promising and fascinating research involves Vitamin D.

Dr. Michael F. Holick, an endocrinologist from Boston University, has spent 30 years researching Vitamin D and its impact on health. During the 1990s, dermatologists recommended staying completely out of the sun. Not Dr. Holick. He recommends getting sunlight daily. In fact, he is so adamant about recommending daily sunlight, he describes Vitamin D as being “taken for granted and ignored.”

Dr. Holick adds, “Every tissue and cell in the body requires Vitamin D, not just for bones and teeth. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to the cause of many diseases such as cancer, MS, rheumatoid arthritis and depression. It’s critical to overall health.”

An estimated 1 billion people worldwide – including the United States – are deficient in Vitamin D. Needless to say, this is a very large number, but it doesn’t have to be. Humans can get Vitamin D from these sources: exposure to sunlight, dietary intake and supplements.  More on Vitamin D health benefits can be found throughout my site by clicking here.

The current recommendation for ages 19-50 is 200IU / day and ages 51-70 at 600IU / day. Most researchers believe the dose should be increased to 800-1000 IU / day. Because this is extremely difficult to achieve from diet alone, I advise scheduling some “sun time” and taking a supplement.

The best natural sources of Vitamin D are:

• Cod liver oil

• Sardines

• Mushrooms

Although I’m not recommending the following foods fortified with Vitamin D; they include:

• Milk

• Yogurt

• Breakfast cereals

• Bread

When supplementing with fish oil, make sure you are purchasing a pure, concentrated product. An award-winning product that has been processed through the use of nitrogen to minimize oxidation, such as Nordic Naturals 3D, is your best bet for the purest and best-preserved fish oil.

Current research also indicates the importance of asking your doctor to test your blood for Vitamin D 25 Hydroxy (Calcidiol 25-hydroxycholecalciferol).

Take My Vitamin D Quiz!

1) How long are you in front of a computer daily?

a) 0-1 hours

b) 1-3 hours

c) 3-6 hours

d) 6 or more


2) Where do you consume lunch?

a) Indoors

b) Outdoors


3) Do you walk or jog outside when the sun is out?

a) Yes

b) No


4) How long do you think you’re in the sun daily?

a) Never/Rarely

b) 10 minutes or less (walking to and from my car, etc)

c) 30 minutes

d) Over 1 hour


5) When weather permits, does your weekend revolve around outdoor sun-based activities?

a) Yes

b) No

c) Rarely


6) Do you supplement with Vitamin D or Cod Liver Oil/Fish oil?

a) Yes

b) No


7) Do you consume fish—especially salmon or herring—on a weekly basis?

a) Yes

b) No


8) Have you ever been diagnosed with any inflammatory conditions (Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, Osteoporosis, Cancer, etc)?

a) Yes

b) No


9) Have you testing your blood levels of Vitamin D-25 Hydroxy?

a) Yes

b) No



#1 A-4, B-3, C-2, D-1

#2 Indoors-0, Outdoors-4

#3 Yes-4, No-0

#4 A-0, B-1, C-3, D-4

#5 A-4, B-0, C-1

#6 Yes-4, No-0

#7 Yes-4, No-0

#8 Yes-0, No-4

#9 Yes-4, No-0


If you scored between 34-36 points you are literally ‘golden’!

Scoring between 28-34 means, go and talk to your doctor about getting your blood tested for vitamin D and adjust your supplementation and outdoor activities accordingly

Points between 20-27 mean you are in need of addressing your Vitamin D intake through: Getting your blood tested, consume foods which naturally contain Vitamin D, start planning daily outdoor-time and most importantly talk to your doctor or nutritionist about supplementing with Vitamin D.

Anything below 20 requires serious attention; you should definitely schedule an appointment with your doctor ASAP to check your blood levels of this critical nutrient. Start planning activities on the weekend that includes the sun. If you love to shop, try going to an outdoor mall!