A pharmacy wall stocked with vitamins can be overwhelming to scan. So if you could incorporate only one into your routine, which should it be?
We put this question to Dr. Arielle Levitan and Dr. Romy Block, who penned “The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear the Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health.”
“Vitamin D is probably the one, if we had to come up with one single vitamin that most people need to be taking to some extent,” Levitan said.
It has an impressive resume, they promise.
“It’s been proven to play a role in so many important things,” Levitan said, “particularly in moods, in bone health … heart disease, prevention of dementia.” Vitamin D can also ease muscle aches and thinning hair.
Usually, the doctors explained, your body should synthesize vitamin D in your kidney and liver after sunlight exposure. But we rarely receive enough, especially in winter. And it’s difficult to get a proper amount of vitamin D through foods.
Levitan and Block recommend looking for bottles that say USP or GMP, which denote trusted manufacturing standards.
But make sure you’re getting the right amount. They suggest checking with a doctor. Too much can cause kidney stones, they note, and has been associated with higher mortality.
“A lot of our patients think that more is better, and if they don’t really need it, ‘I’ll just pee it out,’” Levitan said. Not true.
They say most people need a supplement with 800 to 2,000 IUs daily, but some may need more based on certain conditions. And it’s not just winter; even in the summer, many need more. So they suggest people take vitamin D year-round because it’s metabolized very slowly. Just take a little less in the summer, they suggest.
“People are taking the vitamins, (then) looking in the mirror the next day (for results),” Levitan said. “We say six months to see the proper effect. It’s slow.”