Although ample vitamin D is a must in order for your body to run as it should, it is one of the most common nutrients of concern out there. With 41% of American adults meeting the criteria for clinical insufficiency, and an alarming 93-plus% failing to consume just 400 IU of vitamin D per day, it’s possible you may need more of the sunshine vitamin yourself.*
You see, research suggests we need a minimum of 3,000 IU vitamin D3 (which is the body’s preferred form) per day to achieve a total serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D—also known as 25(OH)D, the clinical biomarker measure of whole-body vitamin D status—of 30 ng/ml. That’s a whole lot more than the 400 IU per day the average person gets! Given that, it’s no surprise that 29% of American adults are straight-up deficient in D. Mind you, that stat considers diet and sun, too.
Thing is, even that 30 ng/ml benchmark is really the bare minimum (because it’s the cutoff for clinical vitamin D insufficiency), which not the ideal. “As an endocrinologist, I know that achieving optimal serum 25(OH)D levels in the 50+ ng/ml range is imperative for immune health, bone health, and more,” says board-certified endocrinologist Brittany Henderson, M.D.
Basically, we’re not in a good place with the sunshine vitamin—and don’t let the fact that vitamin D deficiency is so common fool you into thinking it’s not a really big deal. In fact, deficiency can cause quite a long list of annoying and serious issues. So, let’s break down everything you need to know about vitamin D deficiency, including the tell-tale signs to look out for, plus what you can do to get your levels back into a healthy place.