Catching up with vitamin D

A recent (June 29, 2007) article points out that even in Hawaii, 11.1 hours/week of total body skin exposure (on average) is inadequate to get 51% of the participants to have an adequate amount of vitamin D (which they define as a level of 30 ng/ml, lower than I like). As the lead author states, "This implies that the common clinical recommendation to allow sun exposure to the hands and face for 15 minutes may not ensure vitamin D sufficiency."
This echoes nicely what I've been telling patients for some time based on my own experience of having pale skin, walking to work and taking supplements with 400 iu of vitamin D3 daily and still having a level of only 23: "15 minutes of sun exposure to hands and face daily adequate? A lie. 400 iu daily adequate? A lie."
The article ends with a conservative recommendation of "treating vitamin D deficiency with vitamin D supplementation, "it seems prudent" to aim for a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration no greater than the maximum produced by natural UV exposure; i.e., approximately 60 ng/mL."
They don't mention that it commonly takes 2,000-4,000 iu daily of D3 to get anywhere near that level, a dose that will give doctors with no nutritional background fecal incontinence. This dose will not get anyone near the lowest toxicity level seen of 150.
So, this article adds to the stack of journal articles supporting higher levels of vitamin D, but will it catch on among conventional docs? Not unless there are vitamin D reps coming in with donuts and pens that say "Vitamin D3" on them. If we're lucky, however, I'm wrong and every doc will start checking vitamin D levels, then recommending adequate vitamin D supplementation (for pennies a day) and cut the rates of cancer and degenerative diseases by huge amounts (some estimates say 50% reduction in cancer with adequate vitamin D).
If you want to learn more about the benefits of vitamin D, the Vitamin D council (
.com or .org) is a good resource.