Vitamin D has been all over the research the past few years. This particular study looks at the ability of the active form of Vitamin D to halt the progression of prostate cancer cells in the lab and finds. While it doesn’t prove beyond a doubt, it is yet another study pointing to the importance of optimal levels of Vitamin D in prostate cancer prevention.
While the increase in concern and knowledge about Vitamin D has been great, it still seems like the message remains insufficient. There are a few steps that are being misunderstood when it comes to full utilization of Vitamin D in our bodies.
First is the general knowledge that pretty much everyone is deficient, and almost everyone is sub-optimal in their Vitamin D levels. It’s gotten to the point that we hardly ever check levels anymore because everyone (with only 2 exceptions that I can recall–one being my own levels) is suboptimal. So, while the learning curve of awareness of deficiency is progressing, it’s still too slow. Most that we interact with in the clinic are not aware of the levels of deficiency.
Next, after awareness comes concern with personal levels. There is an increase in labs that I’ve seen ordered by specialists and primary care docs that include 25-(OH) Vitamin D levels. But the lab normals always show values greater than 30 ng/dl as being normal. They are not. The experts on Vitamin D, like Dr. Micheal Hollick and the www.vitamindcouncil.orgcontinue to contend that optimal may be as high as 70 ng/ml. Thus, in patients with conditions such as obesity, heart disease, higher risks of cancer, diabetes or autoimmune conditions, 30 ng/ml is not likely to cut it.
Lastly, even if the levels are recognized as being too low, the recommendations for supplementation run too low. Patients coming in under 30 ng/ml on their bloodwork may be told to take 1,000 or even 2,000 IU / day. In general, 1,000 IU / day will raise the blood levels 10 ng/ml. Doing the math, if you need to raise your levels 30 or 40 points, you need to take that much in addition to what you may have already been taking. More often than not, the recommendations are too low.