The days may be longer—but don’t ditch your vitamin D

On Sunday, we all set our clocks ahead an hour—and unofficially welcomed the longer, warmer days of spring, once again.

 

With this new season comes a whole new set of health concerns—including a couple with sneaky ties to prostate trouble, in particular. We’re going to be talking about some of those over the several weeks. But before we dive into anything else, let’s revisit one topic that stays urgent all year round.

 

You might think that these extra hours of sunshine mean that you can ditch your vitamin D supplement. But here’s your friendly reminder to keep taking that daily dose regardless of daylight savings…

 

A year-round challenge

 

Fact: Most people simply don’t live close enough to the equator—or get outside enough—to achieve adequate vitamin D levels on sunshine alone at any time of year. And rates of vitamin D deficiency among Americans are sky-high because of it.

 

Unfortunately, the science on this subject is very clear: Vitamin D deficiency leads directly to higher risk of disease—and not least of all, to a higher risk of prostate cancer.

 

In fact, research has shown that men with vitamin D levels below 12 ng/mL are more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease following a prostate biopsy. (And more than four times as likely, if they also happen to be African American.)

 

That’s not all: Ample stores of vitamin D are also essential for generating and maintaining adequate testosterone levels. And as we’ve explained over the last few weeks, this makes that daily dose of vitamin D critical to both your sex drive and your overall health.

 

The good news? You can avoid all of these risks simply by paying close attention to your own vitamin D levels.

 

Vitamin D by the numbers

 

First: Everyone should get routine vitamin D testing. The absolute best way to determine adequate levels of vitamin D is with a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D blood test.

 

Some practitioners order it automatically. If your doctor doesn’t, ask for it. And when the results come in, make sure you ask for the numbers, too.

 

That’s because many doctors consider anything over 30 ng/mL to be sufficient. This is the deficiency threshold for most clinical research—but for optimal health, you want to your levels to be much higher.

 

Dr. Geo likes his patients to be between 40 and 70 ng/mL. Anything below that requires aggressive supplementation. And what does that mean?

 

Well, 600 IU of vitamin D3 is the absolute minimum you should be taking for maintenance. But if you’re a larger man, heavier, have darker skin, or just don’t get outside much, you probably need more than that.

 

Dr. Geo generally starts his patients with 2,000 IU in these cases, and sometimes with as much as 10,000 IU daily. Just bear in mind that at these high doses, it’s important to work with a doctor who’s monitoring your levels.

 

Until next time,

 

The XY Wellness Team

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