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Take 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily to reach recommended levels

What is the optimal level of vitamin D? Doctors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, said that the medical community increasingly agrees that the optimal level for vitamin D is at least 30 to 32 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). Using that measure, three in four U.S. adults are likely low, and to reach the correct level, should take at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D3—the most beneficial form—per day.

Researchers in one study measured vitamin D levels in 89 National Football League players during training camp and found 81 percent were abnormally low. Twenty-seven were deficient, with levels less than 20 ng/mL; and 45 were low, with 20 to 31.9 ng/mL. Only 17 players had at least 32 ng/mL of vitamin D.

Players with muscle injuries who had missed at least one practice or game in the prior season had much lower levels of vitamin D than non-injured players. This was the only significant difference between them, doctors said. While low levels of vitamin D may not have caused the injuries, the study “highlights a potential problem,” study authors concluded.

African Americans tend to make far less vitamin D from sunlight than whites, and 93 percent of the black players had low levels compared to 31 percent for white players.

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