Do I need to supplement my Vitamin D? I hear it is so important for cancer protection and other health benefits.

For the answer, we turned to Yale endocrinologist Elizabeth Holt, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine.  Dr. Holt writes: 

“Vitamin D is needed to help calcium from your food reach the skeleton, where it keeps bones strong. Vitamin D is found in certain foods (fortified milk and cereals, oily fish, for example). In addition, your body will produce vitamin D when sunlight hits your skin during warm weather months.

“People at risk for vitamin D deficiency include the elderly, individuals with darker complexions, and those who avoid sunlight or vitamin D rich foods. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D for adults is 600-800 international units (I.U.) daily. Higher doses of vitamin D are needed to start with for people whose levels are very low. Taking a vitamin D supplement is not necessary for everyone, but it is especially important for those who are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.

“Preliminary research studies have shown a role for vitamin D in cancer prevention.  The dose of vitamin D needed for this benefit is not yet known.

“With vitamin D supplements, there is such a thing as ‘too much of a good thing.’ Vitamin D is stored in the fat tissue and is slow to leave the body when levels are too high. High levels of vitamin D in the body can have dangerous side effects.  Therefore, it is not a good idea to take more than the recommended daily dose without a doctor’s supervision.”

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