Ask The Herb Lady

With Cathy Schram

How Much Vitamin D Should I Take?

Q: I am totally confused about how much vitamin D to take. Isn’t too much bad for you?

A: Great question. The RDA for vitamin D is 400 IU’s/day. However, recent studies by the Institute of Medicine have determined that those values are low. The new recommendations are 600 – 4,000 IU’s/day for healthy people, and 5,000 – 10,000 IU’s/day for those individuals who may be low in vitamin D. Your lifestyle will play a role in your D intake as well. For example, if you are in the sun 20 minutes or more per day, you are getting natural vitamin D. Keep in mind, if you are wearing sunscreen, it will prevent your skin from absorbing the vitamin D.
You also want to make sure that you are taking D3. This is the form that is more bioavailable. We need vitamin D to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus and to promote bone mineralization. But it is important to note that vitamin D is very instrumental for supporting immune, cellular and urinary tract health, as well as controlling our moods and hormone systems. There have been numerous studies done on vitamin D showing that it is helpful for many other problems, including asthma and cancer. Since almost 70 percent of Americans are low in this vitamin, you may want to try some. It is a fat soluble vitamin, but you will be perfectly safe in taking a dosage of 1,000 – 2,000 IU’s/day.

Q: I have painful, stiff joints and was told that glucosamine would help. I can’t take that because I have a shellfish allergy. Is there an alternative?

A: MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a great choice to fortify collagen and connective tissues to maintain healthy joints. It helps to reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Msm is an organic sulfur which is found in our bodies. It is essential for our body’s growth and repair mechanisms. In addition to healthy joints, MSM also promotes soft, smooth skin, lustrous hair and stronger nails. You could try a number of anti-inflammatories, such as tumeric, boswelia or even fish oil.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Schram, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011.