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Controversy Surrounds the “Sunshine Vitamin”

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that vitamin D is necessary to regulate the absorption of calcium in your body to help keep your bones strong and healthy.

But Big Pharma is trying to change the dialogue about vitamin D.

One thing we are seeing are more and more reports stating that routine vitamin D testing is unnecessary. The reason?

Well, why test for it when people can buy vitamin D and take it on their own, regardless of their blood levels?

That makes absolutely no sense! If someone has insufficient levels, they need to know about it. It could be the cause of their fatigue, bone and joint pain, osteoporosis or muscle aches and weakness.

Low levels of vitamin D are also common in patients who suffer chronic pain or have fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, mood changes and dementia.

Even if you aren’t currently experiencing symptoms, prolonged insufficiency will eventually lead to one or more of these conditions.

This is a particularly big problem for people living in the north. From fall until spring, there is not enough sunlight in northern states to allow the body to produce sufficient levels of vitamin D. Then, add on the use of protective coverings and sunscreen during the summer, and they may end up being vitamin D deficient or insufficient for most of their lives.

So it is no surprise that a report produced by the International Osteoporosis Foundation makes it very clear that people living at higher latitudes – where sun exposure is limited – have much higher cases of bone fractures than those living at lower latitudes.

For example, Sweden has higher cases of bone fractures than Canada, Canada has higher rates than the U.S., and the U.S. has higher rates than Brazil.

How Much is Enough?

Another reason for the recommendation against Vitamin D testing is simply a lack of agreement on what constitutes insufficient levels. Experts can’t seem to agree on what low vitamin D means.

Some laboratories define it as below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), others set it at below 50 ng/mL.

Again, this is not a good reason to avoid getting your vitamin D levels checked, especially considering that 24.5% of the U.S. are vitamin D deficient, and 41% have insufficient levels – meaning their 25-hydroxy vitamin D concentrations are 30 ng/mL or lower. That’s 65.5% of the population!

This is in line with pandemic proportions. Yet no efforts have been made by the Government or mainstream medicine to implement regular testing, solve the problem, improve your health or extend your life.

Instead, recommendations are moving toward reduced testing. So it is up to you to TAKE CONTROL!

Take Control of Your Vitamin D Levels

The test itself is easy and harmless. Insurance typically pays for it. And vitamin D supplements themselves are inexpensive. Plus, there are all sorts of potential health benefits associated with higher vitamin D levels.

So there really is no good reason not to get tested. All you have to do is ask your doctor for a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test.

The National Endocrine Society and other agencies have pretty well defined a reading below 30 ng/mL as insufficient. This has been shown to be the (absolute) minimum measure needed to ensure specific health benefits.

However, some within the National Endocrine Society believe 40 to 60 ng/mL is more desirable for the general population. I happen to agree with them.

That being said, aim for maintaining levels of at least 40-60 ng/mL. (If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease closer to 65 ng/mL is better.)

  • If your levels are 30 ng/mL or lower, take at least 8,000 IU of vitamin D3 in the cholecalciferol form each day and retest in three months. (For best results, look for one that also has a low dose of vitamin K2 and a little vitamin A.)
  • If your levels are 31 to 40 ng/mL, supplement with a 5,000 IU daily combination for three months. Then retest.
  • If your numbers are over 40, you’re not deficient. Still, it’s a good idea to take 2,000-4,000 IU daily to maintain sufficient levels.

And don’t forget the most natural source of all. Sunshine! With summer right around the corner, getting 10 to 20 minutes of sunshine a day will do a world of good for your vitamin D levels.


Singer AG, McChesney C. Reduce unnecessary routine vitamin D testing. Can Fam Physician. 2023 Sep;69(9):620-622.

Epidemiology According to Fragility Fracture Type. © 2024 International Osteoporosis Foundation

Cui A, Xiao P, Ma Y, Fan Z, Zhou F, Zheng J, Zhang L. Prevalence, trend, and predictor analyses of vitamin D deficiency in the US population, 2001-2018. Front Nutr. 2022 Oct 3;9:965376.

Vieth R, Holick MF. The IOM—Endocrine Society Controversy on Recommended Vitamin D Targets: In Support of the Endocrine Society Position. Vitamin D (Fourth Edition), Editor(s): David Feldman, Academic Press, 2018, Chapter 57B – Pages 1091-1107.

Seaborg E. Just Right: How Much Vitamin D is Enough? Endocrine News. © 2015 Copyright Endocrine Society.

LeFevre M. Screening for Vitamin D Deficiency in Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:133-140.