I Didn't Take My Vitamin D Levels Seriously & They Dropped 40%
Maintaining healthy vitamin D levels is absolutely vital for whole-body health. Seriously, this all-important essential nutrient is critical for immune function, gut health, reproductive well-being, mood support, skin health, hair growth, and so much more.*
And I should know—I've been writing about vitamin D and its crucial role in overall well-being for about a year and a half now. So, you can imagine my concern when I received my vitamin D test results last month and discovered my levels are just on the cusp of insufficiency (which, for the record, isn't truly "sufficient" for optimal health).
Why? Because despite knowing better, I didn't take a daily vitamin D supplement over the past year. Here's what happened.
How my vitamin D status dropped 40%
After four sunlight-deprived years of college in Syracuse, New York (a region notorious for its overcast weather), I decided to move to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2018. I spent three years getting plenty of sunshine while I was running or practicing yoga outside, swimming in the ocean, and socializing on the beach.
Six months after I moved back to New Hampshire (my home state), I had my vitamin D levels tested. My 25(OH)D serum levels were 50 ng/ml, which is just entering the truly optimal range (i.e., at or above 50 ng/ml). Although I hadn't been regularly supplementing with vitamin D for a few years, I managed to sustain healthy D status thanks to my (safe) sun exposure and a relatively fish-heavy diet.
I thought I could put off supplementation just a little bit longer, but last month I had my levels tested again and discovered that 25(OH)D results had dropped to 30 ng/ml in just 16 months! While my test results were listed in a little green box and stated they were "normal," I know that 30 ng/ml—while the cutoff for clinical sufficiency—is not an ideal serum level.
In fact, without upping my vitamin D intake, the likelihood of slipping into vitamin D insufficiency is practically guaranteed. I'm certainly not in the minority, either: Approximately 41% of U.S. adults are clinically insufficient1 in vitamin D, while another 29% are straight-up deficient.
How I'm raising my vitamin D levels
I'm on a mission to achieve (and sustain!) an optimally healthy vitamin D status.
To exceed 50 ng/ml, I'm taking mindbodygreen's vitamin D3 potency+, which delivers 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.* Evidence suggests2 this dosage can help the average adult reach that goal level of 50 ng/ml in approximately three months (but I'll be continuing for the foreseeable future—no borderline insufficient levels for me, thank you!).*
With vitamin D3 potency+, I know that I'm optimizing not only form and dosage but absorption and bioavailability as well, thanks to the formula's built-in healthy fats (i.e., organic olive, flaxseed, and avocado oil).*
Unless you live close to the equator and have the perfect balance of sunlight and vitamin-D-rich foods in your diet (hint: you still would need to eat a lot of them to reach 5,000 IU a day), chances are your habits and diet aren't enough to sustain a sufficient vitamin D status—yes, even if you lead a relatively healthy lifestyle.
Simply put, taking a high-quality daily vitamin D supplement is the most effective way to help you reach and maintain truly optimal vitamin D levels.* Consider mindbodygreen's vitamin D3 potency+ for a premium formula that delivers the optimal form, dosage, and bioavailability buddies (i.e., an organic trio of oils for enhanced absorption).*
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.