What is Vitamin D?

Dr John Wade, MD, FRCP, discusses what is vitamin D

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Dr John Wade, MD, FRCP, discusses what is vitamin D
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Wade, MD, FRCP
Video Title: discusses what is vitamin D
Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds
So vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin.  

We make vitamin D in our skin. So, if you have sun exposure on your skin you will make vitamin D. Experts have suggested that 10 to 30 minutes of sunshine, a day should make enough vitamin D on a daily basis and vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so you can store it up over a period of time.      

We recognize though that in Northern climates, if you are above the 42nd parallel, above the line between New York City and the east coast of Washington State, the rays of sun come in an angle that you make less of vitamin D.  

So, certainly people in North America that are above the 42nd parallel should be looking at supplementing with vitamin D in the winter months from October through March or April.

How much vitamin D is necessary? There has been some suggestion that we’ve not had enough vitamin D through either diet or supplements, and if you measure men and women that are in their 50s and 60s, the levels of vitamin D are often half of what we think they should be.  

So, the doses that are recommended while they are getting more sunshine, vitamin D have increased the last year or two, and we currently recommend that men and women after the age of 50 should be getting about 2,000 units a day of vitamin D.  

You can get that by getting those 10 to 30 minutes of sun exposure every day or you can get it by taking vitamin D in your diet. It is probably best by getting it by supplement.

So, some vitamin D enthusiasts like to push vitamin D beyond 2,000 units a day and some people suggest you might go as high as 3,000 to 5,000 units of vitamin D daily.  

There is a note of caution with that. As you push your vitamin D up, your calcium in the blood may go up. That may cause some problems and you also may have an increase with kidney stones, calcium stones.  

So, most experts would sort of recommend that at the present time, the upper dose would be 2,000 units of vitamin D. I would be a bit cautionary if I was going higher than 2,000 units of vitamin D daily.

Presenter: Dr. John Wade, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.