What should vitamin D levels be?

By December 19, 2018 No Comments

Here in the Midwest, we find that most people are deficient in vitamin D unless they are taking a quality supplement. Since there are low levels of vitamin D in foods, and most of our vitamin D comes from the sun, it isn’t surprising that we see an uptick of vitamin D related concerns in Michigan winters.

Common problems related to vitamin D deficiency are:


Muscle Pain and Weakness

Depressed Mood 

Increased Migraines

Increased Allergies

Lowered immune response to common viruses

Hormone Disruption

Plus, even without symptoms, a Vitamin D deficiency puts us at an increased risk of:

  • breast cancer (maintaining vitamin D levels above 50 lead to a 50% reduction in breast cancer) 
  • colon cancer (Vitamin D levels less than 20 lead to 75% increased risk of colon cancer )
  • autoimmune disease: especially Multiple Sclerosis (Vitamin D levels less than 40 lead to three times the risk of MS)
  • diabetes and high blood pressure risk with Vitamin D levels less than 30
  • bone loss with Vitamin D levels less than 30

When we stop and think about how vital this one vitamin is to proper body functioning and prevention of disease, it certainly makes sense to screen for deficiency.

When screening with blood testing, the range of what is considered a normal vitamin D level can vary greatly even among health professionals. At Root, we think the better question than what is normal is: what is an optimal vitamin D level?

Optimal levels of vitamin D should be personalized. Are you at risk for one of the above conditions? Are you currently experiencing inflammation or infection? Your vitamin D optimal level may be different from your neighbor.

Additionally, your vitamin D requirement is unique. 

Do you absorb vitamins well (i.e. healthy gut and intact gallbladder helpful in absorbing fats and vitamins)? Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin meaning that vitamin D from food sources gets absorbed along with fats in the intestine.

Do you have a difference in your genetics that interferes with the way vitamin D is transported or metabolized?

Or, as in this latest study, Are you magnesium deficient? Enzymes that synthesize and metabolize vitamin D are magnesium dependent. 79% of US adults do not meet their recommended dietary allowance of magnesium. This study showed that it was also important to optimize magnesium levels when testing vitamin D levels.

We can check for all of these unique differences at Root.

So, while we can’t give a blanket statement for the optimal vitamin D level, putting all the best evidence together, At Root we believe that vitamin D levels are likely optimal for most adults between 50-70. 

We realize this is a stark contrast to what most people are told: that their levels are “normal” – over 25-30. This is because we personalize and optimize not only your current state of health, but your overall wellness and prevention.


*Post for education only and is not medical advice. Please check with your physician before starting any supplements.


Cedric F. Garland, Dr PH, FACE, Edward D. Gorham, MPH, PhD, Sharif B. Mohr, MPH, Frank
C. Garland, PhD. Vitamin D for cancer prevention: Global perspective. Annals of Epidemiology. Volume 19, Issue 7, Pages 468-483 (July 2009). 

Ramagopalan SV, Maugeri NJ, Handunnetthi L, Lincoln MR, Orton S-M, et al. (2009) Expression of the multiple sclerosis-associated MHC Class II Allele HLA-DRB1*1501 Is regulated by vitamin D. PLoS Genet 5(2): e1000369. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000369 

Anderson L, Cotterchio M, Vieth R, Knight J. Vitamin D and calcium intakes and breast cancer risk I npre- and postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 2010; 91(6): 1699-1701. 

P. Lips, D. Hosking, K. Lippuner, J. M. Norquist, L. Wehren, G. Maalouf, S. Ragi-Eis, J. Chandler. The prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy amongst women with osteoporosis: an international epidemiological investigation. Volume 260, Issue 3, pages 245–254, September 2006 

Qi Dai, Xiangzhu Zhu, JoAnn E Manson, Yiqing Song, Xingnan Li, Adrian A Franke, Rebecca B Costello, Andrea Rosanoff, Hui Nian, Lei Fan, Harvey Murff, Reid M Ness, Douglas L Seidner, Chang Yu, Martha J Shrubsole; Magnesium status and supplementation influence vitamin D status and metabolism: results from a randomized trial, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 108, Issue 6, 1 December 2018, Pages 1249–1258, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqy274

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