Why Vitamin D Deficiency is Becoming More Common

September 22, 2021

Are you suffering from a vitamin D deficiency or a vitamin B deficiency? According to statistics, more people have vitamin D deficiencies.

According to a March 2009 study in Archives of Internal Medicine, 77 percent of American adults and teens have vitamin D deficiency (lower than 30 ng/ml). These figures are alarming for people with darker skin tones. The body has a harder time making vitamin D if the skin is darker than normal. This includes Mexican-Americans at 90 percent and all non-Hispanic Blacks at 97 percent.

These statistics are important because a vitamin D deficit is associated with increased risk of heart disease, at minimum 17 types, diabetes, depression and asthma, lowered immunity, chronic pain, arthritis osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain.

Cedric Garland (Dr.P.H.), a leading researcher at the University of California San Diego Medical Center Moores Cancer Center says, “The benefits of vitamin D are as clear as the harmful connection between smoking and lung carcinoma.”

Don’t rely on sun exposure to improve Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is also known as the “sunrise vitamin”, because it is made by the body when it is exposed to UV-B rays. Vitamin D deficiencies can be corrected by consuming vitamin D-rich foods. The average American only eats fish once every 11 days, despite it being one of the most nutritious food sources of vitamin D.

According to the Archives of Internal Medicine article, there are two main reasons that most people have an insufficient vitamin D. Increased use of sunscreen is the most important factor. A sunscreen with a UV protection factor of 15 reduces vitamin D synthesis by 99 percent. Additionally, increased outdoor activity and obesity are associated with a decreased synthesis of vitamin D.

The majority of Americans are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. However, the amount is not increasing. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data (NHANES), shows that the average vitamin-D level has decreased 6 ng/ml from 1988 to 2004.

Determining Vitamin D Deficiency

Only one way to find out your vitamin D levels is via a blood test, called 25-hydroxyvitaminD. It can cost anywhere from $100 to $200.

A level below 30 ng/ml is considered “insufficiency”. Vitamin D “deficiency”, is defined as a vitamin D level below 20 ng/ml. Your vitamin D level must be at least 150ng/ml before “toxicity” can begin. Lifeguards in La Jolla (Calif.) have vitamin D levels of around 100 ng/ml.

There is much debate about the recommended vitamin D level. Experts agree that vitamin D should not exceed 30 ng/ml. Cooper Clinic suggests that patients aim for 40 ng/ml to be a baseline.

Dr. Garland’s research shows that a woman with a level of 52 ng/ml (or greater) has a 50 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. Her risk drops to half if the level is higher than 34 ng/ml.

Donald Trump, M.D. is an oncologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. He recommends that his patients receiving chemotherapy have vitamin D levels between 60-70 ng/ml. This is what he calls “high normal.”

Supplement the Sun

Supplements such as Cooper Complete Vitamin D(3) are a great way to avoid vitamin D deficiencies. You can also eat salmon and include fortified foods like low-fat milk into your diet. Vitamin D(3) is present in all Vitamin D products. It is easily bioavailable in comparison to D(2).

The amount of Vitamin D needed depends on your skin type, age, skin tone and sun exposure. It also depends on where you live and how much weight you have.

Cooper Clinic recommends that you consult your doctor about your vitamin D levels, including your age and any health concerns. Dr. Garland and other researchers suggest a daily oral intake between 50-60 mcg (2,400 to 2,400 IU) for adults.

Moreover, you cannot predict the vitamin D levels in you. So consult your doctor. Your level may be lower than you should. It’s easy to fix and affordable.


Cooper Complete team contributed this article.