Learn More About Vitamin D

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Vitamin D Quick Facts:

What is it? Vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins that comes in two major forms; these are vitamin D2 (or ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (or cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is produced in skin exposed to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B radiation.

What does it do? It is involved in calcium metabolism, muscle metabolism, bone health and new evidence shows it plays an important role in the health vis a vis cardiovascular health and the prevention of cancer.

Suggested Dose

  • 200 IU daily for men and women 19 to 50 years old
  • 400 IU daily for men and women 51 to 70 years old
  • 600 IU daily for men and women 71 years and older

How much sun? According to a study from Australia, 2–14 minutes of sun three to four times per week at 12:00 noon is sufficient to ensure recommended vitamin D production in fair-skinned people with 15% of the body exposed.(5)

Vitamin D Overview:

If you think Vitamin D is just for kids who drink milk, think again! Of course we are all familiar with the need for vitamin C, as a potent anti-oxidant, the B vitamins for energy support, and even folic acid, for pregnant moms. But vitamin D may be the king of all vitamins. Truly! There is growing evidence to show that this vitamin has several very amazing properties.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hypertension (high blood pressure), insulin problems, inflammatory diseases, cancer and cardiovascular disease. For instance, a recent study looked at the association between vitamin D and calcium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes. In the Nurses' Health Study, scientists followed 83,779 women who had no history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline for the development of type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin D and calcium intake from diet and supplements was assessed every 2-4 years. During 20 years of follow-up, they documented 4,843 incident cases of type 2 diabetes. They discovered that a combined daily intake of >1,200 mg calcium and >800 IU vitamin D was associated with a 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with an intake of
Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with anxiety and depression in individuals with fibromyalgia.(2) Also, in two U.S. cohorts, higher intakes of vitamin D were associated with lower risks for pancreatic cancer. So there is a potential role for vitamin D in the pathogenesis and prevention of pancreatic cancer.(3) Thus, it is becoming clear that vitamin D protects against other chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers, all of which are as prevalent or more prevalent among blacks than whites. Clinicians and educators should be encouraged to promote vitamin D supplementation and its potentially broad health benefits.(4)


1. Pittas AG, Dawson-Hughes B, Li T, et al. Vitamin D and calcium intake in relation to type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care 2006;29:650-6.
2. Armstrong DJ, Meenagh GK, Bickle I, Lee AS, Curran ES, Finch MB. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia. Clin Rheumatol 2006.
3. Skinner HG, Michaud DS, Giovannucci E, Willett WC, Colditz GA, Fuchs CS. Vitamin D intake and the risk for pancreatic cancer in two cohort studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2006;15:1688-95.
4. Harris SS. Vitamin D and African Americans. J Nutr 2006;136:1126-9.
5. Samanek AJ, Croager EJ, Giesfor Skin Cancer Prevention P, et al. Estimates of beneficial and harmful sun exposure times during the year for major Australian population centres. Med J Aust 2006;184:338-41.

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