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Vitamin D- Why are we hearing so much about it?

Many of you have been asking about Vitamin D because your primary care physician has recently tested your Vitamin D levels or you have read an article about its importance or simply you know that it is important. 

It is well documented that there is a high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in Western societies.ViatminD   Surprisingly, we a also finding this to be true of our sunniest states such as Florida and Arizona.  This is because the fear of skin cancer has lead many to avoid sun exposure or use sun screens to protect their skin. 

In the past, 400 IU of Vitamin D was thought to be a sufficient amount to raise Vitamin D levels.  We now know that we need more like 1000IU- 2000IU per day to raise a low Vitamin D level to the normal range. 

Vitamin D levels are know to reduce osteoporosis risk by keeping bone mass high and possibly decrease the incidence of some cancers and autoimmune diseases.  Therefore, until more is known, it would be smart to limit vitamin D supplementation for most healthy individuals to 2000IU per day or less, the dose that the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set as being probably safe for the general population. 

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