Vitamin D Is The Most Common Vitamin Deficiency In The World

It is a major health risk and a common cause of many diseases and disorders.

There are 3 types of vitamin D namely D1, D2 and D3. Vitamin D3 is the type that can only be produced in skin that is exposed to sunlight. It is one of the only vitamins produced naturally by the body. To have the body produce adequate amounts, an average of 1 hour exposure to sunlight per week is needed. Surprisingly, many people are still not producing the beneficial amounts.

Vitamin D deficiency is proven to lead to 3 main diseases which are

  1. Rickets
  2. childhood disease characterized by impeded growth, and deformity, of the long bones.

  3. Osteomalacia
  4. a bone-thinning disorder that occurs exclusively in adults and is characterized by proximal muscle weakness and bone fragility.

  5. Osteoporosis
  6. a condition characterized by reduced bone mineral density and increased bone fragility.

Vitamin D malnutrition is also linked to several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, tuberculosis, cancer, periodontal disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, depression, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder and several autoimmune diseases.

Be aware of the risks involved. Get some sun. The older you get the more you need it.

image source

Here’s the recommended daily vitamin D intake according to the US Dietary Reference Intake.

  • 1 to 50 year olds = 5 micrograms/day or 200 IU/day (IU is the International Unit for measuring vitamins)
  • 51 to 70 year olds = 10 micrograms/day or 400 IU/day
  • Past 70 year olds = 15 micrograms/day or 600 IU/day

Other facts about vitamin D absorption that you should know are :

  • Obese individuals may have lower levels of the circulating form of vitamin D, probably because of reduced bioavailability, and are at higher risk of deficiency.
  • Patients with chronic liver disease or intestinal malabsorption disorders may also require larger doses of vitamin D (up to 40,000 IU or 1 mg (1000 micrograms) daily).
  • The use of sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 inhibits more than 95% of vitamin D production in the skin
  • Dark-skinned individuals tend to block more sunlight to be absorbed even at higher latitudes, thereby increasing the risk of vitamin D deficiency.
  • Individuals such as certain female residents of conservative Muslim nations in the Middle East clad in full body coverings during all their outdoor activity are at much higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Food that is rich in vitamin D are :

  • 3 ounces of mushrooms exposed to 5 minutes of UV light after harvesting provides 2700 IU. This is one of the very few natural sources for vegetarians.
  • 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil provides 1,360 IU. Most fish liver oil has the same amount.
  • 3 ounces / 85 grams of catfish brings 425 IU.
  • 3.5 ounces of cooked salmon supplies 360 IU.
  • 3.5 ounces of cooked mackerel gives 345 IU.
  • 1.75 ounces of drained sardines canned in oil produces 250 IU.
  • 3 ounces of tuna canned in oil presents 200 IU.
  • 3.5 ounces of cooked eel yields 200 IU.
  • A glass of vitamin D fortified milk contains 100 IU.
  • 1 whole egg supplies about 20 IU.

Having enough vitamin D in the body contributes to a lot of benefits including

  • regulating calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood by promoting their absorption from food in the intestines, and by promoting re-absorption of calcium in the kidneys.
  • promoting bone formation and mineralization and is essential in the development of an intact and strong skeleton.
  • inhibiting parathyroid hormone secretion from the parathyroid gland. Excessive secretion leads to kidney diseases.
  • affecting the immune system by promoting immunosuppression, phagocytosis, and anti-tumor activity.

8 replies on “Vitamin D Is The Most Common Vitamin Deficiency In The World”

“The urgent need to recommend an intake of vitamin D that is effective” shows the World’s Leading Vitamin D experts consider the current RDA amounts insufficient.

While an hour’s sunlight a week may produce sufficient Vitamin d to meet the current RDA it will not do anything to reduce the current Vitamin D insufficiency epidemic.

Heaney has shown that outdoor workers in Omaha average 2800iu Vitamin D daily which, as the body uses between 3000 -5000iu daily leaves them short during the Winter months.

In order to obtain from sunlight sufficient Vitamin D3 to meet your daily need you require 15-20minutes full body (or as near to as possible) prone sun exposure when the erythemal index is at least 3 and your shadow is shorter than your height. Each 5 minutes a side produces 1000iu.

If you are unable to get outside and/or during the Winter above latitude 37 when UVB is not available a CHOLECALCIFEROL Vitamin D3 supplement at an effective strength is required. “The case against Ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2) as a Vitamin Supplement” Lisa A Houghton and Reinhold Vieth explains why D2 should never be prescribed or used.

Those concerned about safety may like to read “Risk assessment for vitamin D” John N Hathcock, Andrew Shao, Reinhold Vieth and Robert Heaney that shows no adverse events occur under 40,000iu/daily and a safe upper limit should be 10,000iu/daily.

To achieve an optimal status of around 125nmol/L =50ng/mL requires a total intake from all sources of around 4000-5000iu daily.

While a glass of fortified milk may be supposed to contain 100iu most do not and if they do it is in the D2 form which isn’t well absorbed. Milk should not therefore be regarded as a reliable source of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is also linked to Influenza epidemics – the reason they occur in winter. I wrote an article about some studies in afro american inmates (those who die from the flu the most) recently which included a recent list of the highest Vitamin D sources for westerners, since we don’t eat insects.

* Anglerfish Liver (100g) has 4,400 IU
* Summer Pork or Bovine Blood (1 cup) has 4,000 IU – Go the Haggis!
* High-Vitamin Cod Liver Oil (1 tbsp.) has 3,450 IU -Green Pastures is the best brand
* Indo-Pacific Marlin (110g) 1,400 IU – Which I wouldn’t eat because they’re endangered.
* Chum Salmon (100g) 1,300 IU
* Standard Cod Liver Oil (1 tbsp.) 1,200 IU
* Herring (100g) 1,100 IU
* Cultured Bastard Halibut and Fatty Bluefin Tuna (100g) 720 IU
* Duck Egg 720 IU – YUM!


Those are all animal sources. What about people who don’t eat meat, eggs or milk? There aren’t any fruit or vegetable sources for vitamin D?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.