Vitamin D Supplements Explained by ConsumerLab’s Dr. Tod Cooperman


Hi I’m Dr. Tod Cooperman, president and
founder of ConsumerLab.com, and I’m here to talk about vitamin D supplements. Now
ConsumerLab just finished testing vitamin D
supplements. We’ve tested hundreds and hundreds of vitamin D supplements over
the years. We’ve been testing these types of products and all the types of
supplements since 1999 and publishing them on ConsumerLab.com. I’m going to
tell you basically what does vitamin D do, do you need it, how much should you
take, what type should you take — essentially soup to nuts, quickly, about
vitamin D. So, first of all, why is vitamin D important? Well, it’s an essential
nutrient. You must get vitamin D either from the sun, or from your food, or
supplements. You need to get about 600 I U [15 mcg] per day; if you’re over 70 it’s
800 IU [20 mcg]; for babies one year and younger, it’s 400 IU [10 mcg]. Now vitamin D is important
because, one, it’s critical for bone health, so if you don’t have the right
level, your bones won’t be as strong; it helps you, basically, absorb, use calcium.
Second, it actually reduces the risk of heart attacks and stroke. It actually
also reduces the risk of asthma and allergy and various types of
inflammation. People who get the right amount of vitamin D actually tend
to live longer than those who are deficient or have way too much. We’ve
also been not only testing supplements for all these years — and vitamin D — but
following the literature very closely. There’s a lot of discussion about, really,
how much should you get, what’s the right blood level, and when you really boil it
down, what you find is that if you get too little or too much, it’s not a good
thing. Right in the middle is where you want to
be, and that sweet spot is around 25 to 35 nanograms [ng] per ml, that’s what you’ll
see on your blood tests. Now, there’s a lot of discussion about, really, where
should that range be: I can tell you from all the research we’ve done and
from the studies that are coming out over and over, that’s really a very good
place to be. Really anywhere above 20 ng per ml — or n
nanograms per ml — is good. You don’t really want to go over 39 or 40. Now how
do you get to that level if you’re not there? The rule of thumb is, basically, 100
IU per one nanogram per milliliter. So if you want to go up by one point, you need
about 100 IU extra, basically, above what you’ve been getting lately
per day. So if you want to go up from some, say 20 to 25, you’ll need 500 IU. Now, if
you’re obese, vitamin D is fat soluble, so it kind of gets distributed over more fat;
you may have to double that amount, so instead of of taking 500, you might have
to take 1,000 IU. You don’t want to take too much vitamin D. You know
companies will sell you any amount you want to take. There are products
with 400 IU, 600, a thousand, two thousand, five thousand. We’ve tested one that has
10,000. I would stay away from taking very high levels of vitamin D, in
fact the upper tolerable intake limit is 4,000 IU. But, really, if you’re taking up
to a thousand or even 2,000 a day that’s safe. Now, if you don’t need it, you’re
already at twenty-five or thirty nanograms per ml, I wouldn’t bother
taking vitamin D, because you don’t want to put yourself, really, at harm or start reducing the benefits that you’re getting from vitamin D, and you
can get adequate vitamin D just from the sun — 15 minutes a day on your hands, arms, and face is sufficient, and you can get it from various foods as well and dairy
foods that are fortified with vitamin D. Now the types of products that are out
there range from liquids to tablets to gummies. I prefer the liquids. I’d
recommend you use a liquid, and for two reasons.
First of all, they’re very convenient. You can easily adjust the dose if you’re
sharing it with your family — you know your kid needs a smaller amount, you
need a higher amount, you can easily do that with a liquid based on the number
of drops that you use, and secondly, and even more
importantly, vitamin D, being fat soluble is better absorbed when you take it with
food [on which you can put liquid vitamin D] that has fats and oils. Because when you take it with food with fats and oils,
that basically stimulates the secretion of bile into your small intestine. That
bile breaks up fats, helps you absorb fat soluble vitamins much better — you can get
30 to 50 percent more vitamin D by taking it with a meal that has fats and
oils than if you were just to take it with a glass of water. And you could take
it slightly before the meal, or during the meal, just don’t take it way after
the meal. So basically, in a nutshell, that’s vitamin D. You really want to make
sure you’re getting enough. If you have enough, don’t take more. If you’re not,
take a supplement or get it from food or get a little more sunshine. You can read
our report, where we’ve actually tested, analyzed all these products.
Unfortunately, not all of them had all the vitamin D that they claim to have, so
you want to make sure you’re buying a good product and that’s why we do test
these products and publish these reports. if you have any questions or comments
you can post them where you see this video. So, again, this is Dr. Tod
Cooperman with ConsumerLab.com. Thank you.

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