D supplements are a good idea all year long. If you want healthy bones, you
need vitamin D. Without it, your bones can’t absorb the calcium they need to
stay strong. Other signs of deficiency include fatigue and depressive
The easiest and
most plentiful source of vitamin D is sunshine. People living in the Pacific
Northwest are at a high risk for vitamin D deficiency, particularly in the
winter, says Dr. David Buchholz, medical director. Breast-fed infants, elderly
men, and women are at the highest risk, he says. Food sources of vitamin D are
not abundant in the American diet.
And even if we
get more sunshine, we're advised to wear protective clothing and to slather
ourselves with sunscreen; while this protects us from skin cancer, it also
reduces the effectiveness of vitamin D. So, no matter if the sun is hibernating
for a few months or it's out in full glory, The Endocrine Society advises most
people should take a daily vitamin D supplement.
A hot topic is
whether we should be tested to find out if we're getting enough vitamin D. The
Endocrine Society that says unless you have certain risk factors, including
liver disease, kidney disease, or an inability to process foods appropriately,
testing isn't needed.
tested for vitamin D deficiency throughout the year is not worthwhile because
vitamin D levels in the blood fluctuate," says Dr. Buchholz. "Test
results could make you think you don't need supplementation when you really do.
If you have concerns about whether you're getting enough vitamin D, whether you
should take supplements or get tested, talk to your doctor."
vitamin D dose for breast-fed infants is 400 international units (IU) per day,
600 IU per day for people 1–70 years old, and 800 IU a day for those over 70.
If your healthcare provider thinks a supplement is recommended, vitamin D
products are available over the counter without a prescription at most