Anyone who is not supplementing with Vitamin D is either living in a cave (which means they REALLY need supplementation) or just has no interest in improving their health. It is rare that I have a patient come in with optimal D levels (60-100 ng/ml), even with supplementation. The important thing to consider here is what can be done to optimize our vitamin D levels.
There are some factors that we can’t control. Latitude (although you could move..) and air pollution can affect vitamin D levels in the bloodstream. What we need to focus on are ways that we can control that can increase our serum vitamin D levels.
1) Foremost is supplementation. Most often I begin with 2,000 IU, although this number goes up based on individual patient characteristics (skin color, weight, diet, presence of chronic disease, family history, etc…). I strongly urge liquid vitamin D because it is so cost efficient (at 2,000 IU / day, $20 for about a year), and we can dose vitamin D on a weekly basis (7 times the dosage once / week).
2) Maintaining an ideal body weight. There is a clear association between body weight and vitamin D levels. Higher body fat will lower vitamin D levels in the bloodstream. This makes it harder to increase our serum vitamin D levels when we are overweight. Get to and maintaining an ideal body weight will help with vitamin D levels.
3) Living an anti-diabetic lifestyle. Although this can correlate with body weight, this is not always the case. One of my most prediabetic patients was very lean, so body weight can’t be the only factor we use to determine if someone is living a prodiabetic lifestyle. We know that those who are insulin resistant / prediabetes have a difficult time absorbing vitamin D from the gut. These patients require much higher levels of vitamin D to boost serum levels.
4) The last item we’ll cover has to do with this particular article. The researchers looked at how monounsaturated fats, such as those found in avocados and olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats such as those in nuts and fish, and how they affect vitamin D absorption and serum levels.
Basically, the monounsaturated fats led to higher levels of vitamin D, but the polyunsaturated fats led to lower levels. Before you decide to cut out nuts and wild caught fish from your diet, however, just remember that a good quality liquid vitamin D can be taken once a week.
To increase your body’s vitamin D levels, you just need to be a little more conscientious about the foods you take it in with. I know I will.