What’s the best source of vitamin D?

Question: I know from your newsletter and from the e-Tips that vitamin D is really important. And I also know it’s in milk — but you say we shouldn’t drink milk. So what’s the best way to boost my vitamin D intake?

Dr. Wright: The food industry began adding vitamin D to milk years ago. It was a cheap way to "protect" the public from deficiency. Unfortunately, it’s just not working: Cases of vitamin D deficiency have been skyrocketing over the past several years. Besides, there are so many health problems linked to cow’s milk that, as you’ve read, it’s the last thing I’d recommend anyway.

Especially when the best source of vitamin D is even more widely available — not to mention cheaper. Certain wavelengths of sunlight (found in ultraviolet B, or UVB, rays) act on a cholesterol derivative in human skin, starting a chain of reactions, which ultimately produce vitamin D. So if it were possible for you to get enough sun, you wouldn’t have to worry about vitamin D.

The problem is, hardly anyone does get enough sun these days, which is why supplements are so important. I recommend 4,000 IU ("International Units") daily for adults and teenagers, 1,000 IU for infants and small children, and 2,000 IU for everyone in between.

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Dr. Jonathan Wright

Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. has degrees from both Harvard University (cum laude) and the University of Michigan. More than any other doctor, he practically invented the modern science of applied nutritional biochemistry and he has advanced nutritional medicine for nearly three decades.

Thousands of doctors respect Dr. Wright as the author of the best-selling Book of Nutritional Therapy and Guide to Healing with Nutrition, as well as other classics in the field. Yet he regards all the above as secondary to his family medical practice. For more than 27 years, he has devoted his talents to helping heal many thousands of patients. Combining the most advanced new natural techniques with the best in traditional medicine, he takes a truly holistic approach.

As of today, Dr. Wright has received over 35,000 patient visits at his now-famous Tahoma Clinic in Washington State.

To learn more about Dr. Wright please visit http://www.tahomaclinic.com/.

Dr. Jonathan Wright

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  1. Dr DahlerDr Dahler says

    I agree that the Sun is our best source for the ultimate production of Vit D-3 in our skins,
    But then Dr Wright, states that we hardly are able to get enough of this hormone via our lifestyle lack of sun exposure, yet he does not give y’all an option as to …
    “What’s the best source of vitamin D?”
    I look forward to his better answer.

  2. Hendog 54901 says

    He says 4000 iu daily for adults, 1000 for infants – small kids and 2000 for them inbetween..Im not sure how much more info is needed. Sunshine on your shoulder makes you happy and healthy..cant beat some natural sunlight..even in the winter!

  3. HarolD Dean says

    What about raw cow or goat milk? I don’t cotton much to goat milk.
    How long should one stay exposed to the sun in order to get e nuf Vit. D?

  4. Alexis says

    I take Vitamin D as recommended by my integrative doctor – after being discovered to be deficient – my daughter was also deficient – the thing is we both had a TAN when we tested deficient – I’ve never worn sunscreen – tan easily but don’t have super dark skin – more light olive. I keep reading how the sun is the best source but it didn’t seem to make any difference with me or my daughter! No one seems to address this issue in the various articles I’ve read. I was full of heavy metals (not sure about daughter) and have read something about those interfering with the synthesis of Vitamin D. Obviously something does!

  5. Rickey Singh says

    Dr. Wright, How much exposure is considered enough? Do I have to be in direct sunligh? Can I get enough through the glass on my window.
    Thank you in anticipation of your response.

  6. Lauren says

    My husband, sons and I are taking 4000IUs a day since we live in Washington state. I take that to mean that supplementation is the next best option because no one gets enough from their diet unless their vigilant about what they’re eating and drinking.

  7. Rickey Singh says

    Dr. Wright,
    How much exposure to sunlight is considered enough? Can one get enough sun light through a glass windowor car windshield? Would I need to drink anything else so my body can absorb Vitamin D supplements?
    Thank you.

  8. Elizabeth says

    Yes, usually the information you give is complete, Dr Wright. The short article on vit D is infuriating because it gives so little useful information. For example, what foods other than dairy contain Vit D, what forms of supplementation are best, from where are they derived-animal skins, lanolin or plant sourcres? How much Vit D from supplements is too much? Please give more complete information.

  9. Ray says

    I’m a new member here and would welcome the answers to these questions above.

    How much sun exposure is required daily?

    Does sunscreen interfere with processing vit. D?

    Is one kind of vit D supplement better than others in usage by the body?

    Do people vary much in amount of vit D required or exposure to sun required to get said amount?
    Thank you.

  10. Daniel Jacobson says

    Would not sunflower seeds, sunflower sprouts, and growing sunflower greens all be outstanding sources of Vitamin D?

  11. Anonymous says

    Nobody mentioned as to why very tan people who get lots of Sun everyday still come up deficient?
    How about bathing and washing off with harsh soaps the Cholesterol that was Sun Exposed?

    It was said that it takes this some 3 ” Three Days to Soak in ” So washing the oily Cholesterol Off before it gets transferred Trans Dermally is the problem. Nothing against bathing.

    Getting Sqeaky clean after a day in the Sun is not a very good Idea.

  12. Anonymous says

    Vitamin D supplements are not common in supermarkets in Sydney; what’s the best supplement? And what to look for in the description of the chemical? Are there any “traps for the unwary”, as there are in VitaminE?

  13. Seg says

    The absolute FIRST thing is to get tested then you can know where you are and how much SAFE sun exposure or supplementing you need. As a rule fo thumb fairer skin people (CAUCASIAN) typically needs LESS sun exposure to get the desired “dose”, their skin will turn slightly pink in as little as 15 to 20 mins, anything past that WON’T GENERATE ANYMORE vit D and you could get burnt which is totally conterproductive -think skin cancer. Also the time of day depending on where you live plays a very important factor.

    Darker skin type will need more anywhere from 30 to 60 mins but again the key is SAFE sun exposure and you can only know how much you need by getting the RIGHT test done. Other than sunlight you next best bet is to use a SAFE TANNING BED and if you don’t have access to any of these then you need to take supplements but again the key is to get tested so you’ll know how much you need.

    As to the TYPE of supplements well you can google it and i’m sure you’ll come up with a million and 1 different brands, the one i use is from mercola.com and i think it works very well..

    Another thing to keep in mind if you are getting safe sun exposure, if you take a shower afterwards you could be washing away the oils from your skin that are necessary for the VIT D conversion.

  14. BobRichardson says

    Isn’t cod liver oil full of Vitamin D? My grandmother gave my father and his siblings cod liver oil as children. That was in the 1920’s. Our (wife and I) five children all were fed cod liver oil at the first signs of a cold. We are now taking it in pill form. I still take it occasionally. Usually I supplement with Vit D3 on a daily basis.

  15. Tom says

    There are only 3 known sources of Vitamin D3 (the form your body uses) in the world: direct sunlight on your skin (not through a window), lanolin (lamb’s wool oil), and fish (cod) liver oil. Most people are deficient in Vitamin D, especially in the northern latitudes.

    You can have your Vitamin D levels checked in a blood test. If you are found to be deficient, you should take 10,000 IU’s daily until your levels go up to a healthy level. This takes time, so don’t worry about overdosing on D3. If you did overdose, your symptoms would be diarrhea and nausea, nothing life threatening. To give you an idea how safe Vitamin D3 is, if you spend an hour in the sun in swimsuit type exposure, your body will produce about 20,000 IU’s, which then absorbs transdermally, so don’t take a shower right away after you come in from the sun.

    Sunscreens and statin drugs will interfere with the body’s production of D3, so my advice would be to avoid those. Limit your sun exposure to what you can do without burning.

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