When recommended levels of vitamin D are way too low

December 04, 2012
Volume 09    |   Issue 49

Years ago, when I had my patients tested for vitamin D insufficiency, I sent them to a lab run by an integrative doctor. He called me one day and asked for the phone number of one patient whose results were 30 ng/ml. "Her levels are dangerously low," he said. "I need to rule out any cancer."

My patient didn't have cancer, but I still remember hearing the panic in this doctor's voice when he was concerned that her levels were so low. Now the guidelines - at least for chronic kidney patients – suggest an even lower level is safe. I say it's not!

This new study suggests that people with chronic kidney disease don't need to take supplements. That's because the guidelines have changed. Instead of needing blood levels of at least 30 ng/ml, they're said to have enough of this vitamin at levels of 20 ng/ml or more. In fact, they say that most people have plenty of vitamin D in their system if they have more than 20 ng/ml. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it could be downright dangerous!

The problem is, even 30 ng/ml is insufficient to protect against cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and countless other health problems. This includes kidney problems. In other words, these recommendations could make kidney disease worse!

According to the Vitamin D Council, ideal blood levels for kidney patients should be between 50 and 80 ng/ml. That's the same level as a healthy person should have. So why would anyone lower the guidelines?

Some researchers and doctors believe vitamin D above 30 ng/ml can damage the kidneys and even the heart. But the doses required to do so are astronomically high. Most people who take 5,000 IU daily aren't taking nearly enough to ever have a problem. In fact, I've heard of only one case of vitamin D toxicity. And that occurred at a level of 254 ng/ml – far more than the recommended range.

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It's very important you keep your vitamin D levels in the 50-80 ng/ml range. Too much can cause problems, but it's almost impossible to get. And too little can open you up to major health problems. Don't listen to these new guidelines. These are the same folks that set the Recommended Daily Allowance for nutrients and almost all of them are way too low for optimum health. You can order a high-quality vitamin D product by following this link.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Holly Kramer, Chris Sempos, Guichan Cao, Amy Luke, David Shoham, Richard Cooper, Ramon Durazo-Arvizu. Mortality Rates Across 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) Levels among Adults with and without Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate <60 ml/min/1.73 m2: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (10): e47458 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047458

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