Researchers have come to the conclusion that for most people there is little use in taking extra vitamin D. That’s quite surprising, considering the huge amount of scientific evidence to the contrary. But for this kind of science (and for a lot of other categories as well) it’s just a matter of “you ask, we deliver”. Who pays the piper, calls the tune. For an experienced researcher it’s a piece of cake to design a study that shows that extra vitamin D is of no use. And there is a lot of money available to prove that supplement don’t work.
First of all, these kind of people (including doctors) talk about tests and vitamin D levels, like there is any kind of proof what is the optimal level. The truth is that most of such tests are based on random numbers. Someone has decided that level X is the best and that’s it. It’s not based on anything. When you spend an hour in the Australian sun on a summer day your skin makes at least 20,000 IU of vitamin D. But most supplements contain at the most 1,000 IE and many doctors will warn you not to take any more. That doesn’t remotely make any sense.
So what other information is available? High levels of vitamin D reduce the chance for the flu by 40%. That has been scientifically proven, but common sense would also get you there. Why are there only flu outbreaks in winter? Science has also proven that the risk for MS can be reduced significantly when people have enough vitamin D. That is not surprising, considering that Africans and other people who get loads of sunlight rarely get MS. Before white Australians all moved their work into offices and covered themselves in sunscreen there wasn’t much MS here either. I could go on about scientific studies, but if you want you can find them everywhere on line. There are truckloads of proof that enough vitamin D protects against cancer and diabetes as well.
But there is a little bit more to it. The benefits of sunshine are usually portrayed as like they are limited to enough vitamin D, but that’s not true. Sunlight is essential to life on earth. We need the sunlight and we need the sun rays on our skin. Maybe scientists haven’t proven yet why this is so important, but a little bit of common sense tells you that that’s true. Ask people who live close to the North Pole how they feel about the beginning of spring and they will all tell you that there’s no better feeling than the sun shining on their skin. They won’t say that there is nothing better than enough vitamin D. Some things are just too obvious and don’t need any research.
But what is the use of this research to start with? Vitamin D supplements are very cheap and the stuff is extremely non-toxic. Of course it is possible to overdose, but it’s about as rare as overdosing on water. Those who have used a bit of common sense advise that everyone should take at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D a day. In summer you could skip this, but only if you spend a lot of time outside in the sun, without any sunscreen. If you aren’t sure you get enough sunshine, then keep taking your supplements all year around. Whatever your doctor says and whatever the test results, it’s almost impossible to get too much vitamin D. But it’s very easy to get too little and results for your health can be bad. High doses of vitamin D can sometimes reverse disease, but preventing it is a lot better and a lot easier. So save yourself a trip to the doctor and a blood test. Just go to the supermarket and buy a bottle of vitamin D. It’s good for you.