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10 Surprising Reasons You Can’t Get Your Vitamin D Levels Up

To detect and treat vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency, you need cutoffs. A total serum 25(OH)D level less than 20 ng/ml is vitamin D deficiency, while a result greater than 20 but less than 30 ng/ml is vitamin D insufficiency. Both are concerning results and should be calls-to-action.

So what goal should you aim for, then? Well, first of all, you’ll want to avoid lingering around 30 ng/ml. Instead, aim for 50 ng/ml or higher.

Why? Board-certified endocrinologist Brittany Henderson, M.D., puts it this way: “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. It’s difficult for most standard vitamin D formulations to achieve this.”

As an R.D., I have talked to countless friends, clients, and strangers who are genuinely convinced that 30 ng/ml is the end goal for vitamin D health. It’s a common misconception. Now you know: 30 is the cutoff to avoid, so aim higher. Research demonstrates that 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily in adults with a healthy weight (which, as a general rule-of-thumb is a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9) will get you to 50 ng/ml.

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