Vitamin D – Why You’re Deficient and the Many Reasons Not to Be.

About 30 years ago… oddly about the same time as the food pyramid was released, the sun became demonized as the cause of skin cancers.  The knee jerk reaction was for the medical community to tell everyone to stay out of the sun or wear sunblock 1 million spf. Thirty years later and Americans get less sun exposure than ever and skin cancer rates have increased, not decreased.  Put the reduction of sun together with the new high carb, grain filled diet the FDA decided to promote and today you have the most unhealthy nation in our planet’s history.

While the links to the sun and skin cancers is debated heavily (even though people who live in the sun have less skin cancers than those who avoid it), the link to Vitamin D deficiencies and sun exposure are not.  Vitamin D, more specifically Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), is synthesized in the body in response to the skin’s exposure to ultra-violet B rays of the sun.  It takes only minutes for you to synthesize 8,000-12,000iu of V-D3 when your body is fully exposed to excellent sun light.  Excellent sunlight?  Yes, mid day sun while living at or in near proximity to the equator.  If you don’t sunbathe almost naked three to five times a week for ten or fifteen minutes at your home in Equator or Congo, then you don’t get enough excellent sunlight.  If you sunbathe in North Carolina during the summers, then you are doing well for yourself…  but only during the summer.

Another little known fact about Vitaman D production is the trigger to activate it is in your eyes.  Wearing sunglasses stops the UV rays of the sun from indicating to the brain that you are in the sun.  This article, Malilumination, discusses the adverse effects of not getting enough natural light.  So even if you were sunbathing at the equator, if you are not foregoing the trendy glasses, you are not going to produce V-D.

So if you are not on your way to your tri-weekly sunning trip in Columbia, you need to supplement V-D3.  Most tout it as the most important deficiency to address…   worldwide.

Rightfully so.  Vitamin D is utilized in every metabolic function in your body.  Replenish your deficiency and you get better at every function that keeps you alive.  Vitamin D supports bone health, helps battle depression, improves brain function, and bolsters the immune system.  Heck, even Oprah’s website says Vitamin D is good for you.  And if Oprah says it, you know its real.  If you would like more info on all the diseases linked to V-D deficiencies, take a look around and take a read of the studies cited in this article by Coach Poliquin:

Vitamin D3: Best…Supplement…Ever!
The facts about one of the greatest discoveries in functional medicine.

Luckily, V-D3 is very easy to supplement.  A 5,000iu capsule is smaller than an aspirin.

The FDA’s recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is 600iu a day.  That’s about enough to keep you alive.  The FDA’s RDAs are very low.  The RDA for vitamin D  is said to be sufficient to maintain bone health and normal calcium metabolism in healthy people.

Sufficient? Normal?  The problem with sufficient is it is not optimal.  And normal…  normal what?  Have you seen a normal American lately?!?!?  The last thing I want is to be as healthy (unhealthy!) as a normal American.  From thyroid levels to cholesterol levels, MDs use “normal” ranges to determine your health.  I don’t know of any better way than to sell yourself short in life than to just meet a normal level…  of any thing.  Basically, the RDA for Vitamin D is consider the amount needed to prevent Rickets.  Not sure what that is?  Yeah, because it’s not a disease anyone develops these days.  It is a painful bone disease typically found in extremely malnourished children.  Do you want your Vitamin D levels high enough to only prevent Rickets or high enough to thrive and be truly healthy?

This article, Higher Doses Reduce Risk of Common Health Concerns, Chris Meletis, ND further describes V-D disease links, but he also explains the RDA’s shortcomings well.  He cites giving his patients the RDA of Vitamin D3 does nothing to improve their levels of the nutrient.  To replenish V-D levels in his patients, he prescribes 8,000 iu a day.  That’s 56,000 iu per week and almost 100 times the RDA.

There’s a trick to Vitamin D3 supplementation.  For reasons still not known, V-D3 is restored more quickly by taking two or three large dosages per week.  So instead of a 8,000-10,000 a day, you would take 25,000iu-50,000 on Monday and Friday or on Monday, Thursday and Saturdays.

So how do you know how much to take?  Dosages are directly dependent on how deficient you are.  The “normal” in the US is 20-50 ng/ml.  That is low.  But again, normal in the US is sick compared to countries like Finland where the normal level of Vitamin D is 70 ng/ml.  The difference is standards.  Countries like Finland and Denmark have higher standards for measuring health.  They have lower rates of every disease compared to the US also.  It is also interesting that hormone and antibiotic fed meats are illegal in Finland.  Yes, illegal.  Yeah, Finland doesn’t have a huge agriculture industry to protect and subsidize.

To find out your Vitamin D levels, you can have your MD do the blood test to measure.  Most insurances cover it.  Another option is for lab work is Any Lab Test Now.  They are located in Land Fall Shopping center on Military Cut Off Rd.  You can walk in, get your labs done and have your results within a day or two.  Their tests are without  the doctor’s office mark ups, so they are very affordable if you need to pay out of pocket.

To better increase your Vitamin D3 supplement’s effectiveness, increase your intake of Vitamin E, Magnesium and Zinc.  V-E, Mg and Zn help facilitate the body’s uptake, storage, and usage of Vitamin D.



Last night Dr. Eric McGraw spoke at CFW on Low Back and Hip Pain and the measures to correct their causes. Above, Kelly L. is using techniques Rx'ed by Dr. MrGraw to improve her squat and correct an imbalance in her hips that causes a shift of her body weight in the bottom of her squat. Having Dr. McGraw on the CrossFit Wilmington staff is an asset that further sets CFW apart. For more info on Dr. McGraw the services he provides, go to

5 rounds
Max Rep Set of Deadlift  (335/195)
Max Rep Set of HSPU

Post total number of reps.

Olympic Weightlifting
Power Snatch + 2 Snatch Balance @ 70% x 4 sets
Above the Knee Snatch @ 60% x 2 reps x 5 sets
Weighted Box Step-up 10-10-10

8 thoughts on “#3 of “The Five”: Vitamin D

  1. t. says:

    I don’t know how many times per week I hear “I can’t overhead squat” or “I’m just not flexible enough to…”. Blah, blah, blah. What I really hear is “I’m don’t have the discipline to do the exercises, stretches, and mobility work the instructors at CFW tell me to do”.

    Mrs. Kelly L. is a wonderful example of doing what it takes to improve one’s self. I was not at CFW when Kelly was doing the hip and squat exercises. When I saw the pictures on the memory card I was reminded of how much someone can accomplish if they enlist all the tools and techniques available.

    Thanks Kelly.

  2. Steve says:

    There’s no doubt CFW is far beyond any other gym in Wilmington. I worked out at the other Crossfit and let me say, its the instruction and leadership that sets this place apart. Tony brings in experts from so many schools. The network he has created is priceless. The articles and information provided in one of his posts exceeds all you can get from the other place in a year. They just don’t know the stuff we are given at CFW.
    But I have to say, CFW could really increase its women membership if you started teaching this.

  3. t. says:

    Hahaha. Steve… Another member sent me that link yesterday. We are working on a program to develop that phenomenon. I’m considering which trainer to make lead on it and I think Mr. Hot-Deliciousness will be the choice.

    On the other stuff… no need to compare or contrast our program with CF Coastal’s. Anyone who is reading this blog, and therefore your comments, already knows the difference.

  4. Abs says:

    Kelly is one persistant and dedicated athlete!!! Nice work chick! So my 2 week Sabbatical is coming to an end…and how I do miss my peeps at CFW…see you all Monday evening! Have a great Easter Weekend and “Easter egg hunt” I had an absolute blast at it last year! New peeps…GET OUT TO THE BEACH…they are fun workouts and a change of pace from the gyym that I am certain you will enjoy!!

  5. Whitney says:

    I stopped wearing sunglasses when I started this whole lifestyle after I read a post by Mark Sisson. It occurred to me they were one of those things that has only been around for a few decades, one of those things that was someone’s brilliant idea to make money and make life ‘easier’ that morphed into an every day must have. It took about a month for me to not wish I had them all the time. Now I don’t notice it at all. I didn’t even know about the vitamin D thing, that makes so much sense! This is one of those times I learn something and it turns out I am doing something right for a change. I am so glad! I do have brown eyes and I think that makes it easier for me to handle the brightness. People with light eyes could probably benefit from sunglasses occasionally to prevent retinal damage.

  6. Tanner says:

    T- I think Mr Deliciousness will be happy to oblige.

    If you all have yet to visit Dr. McGraw for ART or Chiropractic adjustment, I highly recommend you do so. He has personally helped me recover from a lower back injury and correct some movement patterns and bad habits I had developed.

  7. Nutrition Revolution says:

    We hear some crazy things here especially about doctors recommending tanning beds to help with Vit D which is insane!!! Herbalife does include Vitamin D as a bonus in most of our targeted nutrition products. It’s in our Calcium and CoQ10 as well as other products. Stop by and see us for a HEALTHY MEAL and herbal tea!! We are next to Aussie Island by Target.

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