September 16, 2015

Director's Letter
Carole Baggerly
Director, GrassrootsHealth 

We started GrassrootsHealth in 2007 by traveling the world and talking to vitamin D researchers. As you all know these researchers banded together to recommend everyone get their serum levels between 40-60 ng/ml. But many of us struggle with how to get there. Sun? Food? Supplementation?

The starting point is to test your levels twice a year, ideally now and in March. In September your levels should be at their highest since we just finished the summer. In March, they are typically the lowest, after winter.

After you receive your test results, you can use the charts and information below to help decide a supplementation level for you. The data comes from the 1000's of you who have participated in this project! Thank you! With the D*action data we can use science to help predict where your serum level will be with supplementation.

I'm currently in Charleston, SC meeting with people at MUSC, the health department, and insurers who are involved in Protect our Children NOW! The vitamin D test of all pregnant women is now formally in the prenatal panel. We're working on the next steps, namely data analysis (we do lots of that!) and charting out interactive pieces to educate the pregnant women.  More to come!


Carole Baggerly
Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
Feature Story
How to Choose a Daily Supplement Intake

While average vitamin D serum levels achieved with specific supplementation amounts are useful guidelines, it is important to recognize the wide range of serum levels that can be produced at any specific supplementation amount.  The serum level can vary greatly from low to high (20 ng/ml to 120 ng/ml for the same supplementation amount), indicating the importance of measuring your serum level to determine the success of supplementation.

The chart below indicates the additional daily intake observed to produce noted serum levels in participants of our D*action study (N=7324, adults over 18 yrs, average weight = 150 lbs).  Of special note is the achievement rate for the serum levels.  Two values are listed for each calculation:
  • The additional supplementation amount that would be sufficient for 50% of participants to achieve at least the given target serum level
  • The additional supplementation amount that would be sufficient for 90% of participants to achieve at least the given target serum level
Click to expand

Let's go through an example.

This is Bob.

Bob currently walks 30 minutes a day at noon in shorts and a t-shirt. He drinks 1 cup of milk per day. He takes a daily multivitamin and 1000 IU extra vitamin D. (So he gets 1400 IU of D in supplementation.)

A friend finally convinced Bob to get his vitamin D tested through D*action. So he pricked his finger, answered some questions and sent his blood away to be analyzed. It came back 20 ng/ml.

His friend had shown him the GrassrootsHealth Disease Incidence Prevention Chart and so Bob knew he would like his D level to be at least 40 ng/ml.  He asked his friend for advice, what more did he need to do? Luckily his friend read this newsletter and she pulled out the handy chart above. Using this chart she told Bob that an additional 3300 IU of vitamin D each day would be enough for 50% of people to reach his goal of 40 ng/ml but that 4700 IU/day would be needed to get 90% of people to 40 ng/ml. Bob decided he would try an additional 5000 IU/day (as a close amount to the 4700 IU/day). 

Now Bob still walks 30 minutes a day at noon in shorts and a t-shirt, drinks 1 cup of milk daily. Takes his multi-vitamin + 6000 IU of vitamin D. He will test again in 3 months to see his new vitamin D level.

Real Data
82% of Medical Staff in South Carolina are vitamin D deficient   

As we announced last week, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), where we have been conducting our Protect our Children NOW! campaign, has made 40 ng/ml a standard of care for all pregnant women. They test all their incoming patients, and if they are below 30 ng/ml, they begin supplementation at 4,000-5,000 IU/day and recheck at 24-28 weeks. If the level is in the range of 30-40 ng/ml, they begin supplementation at 2,000 IU/day.

Dr. Roger Newman, Vice Chair, Women's Health Research at MUSC, challenged his department to take the D*action blood test. Since they would be testing all their patients, he believed that the medical staff should start by knowing where they stand with their own levels. His prediction was that they would all be below 40 ng/ml, but three staff members surprised him! That's right, 14 out of 17 healthy members of the medical community were deficient! So, if you haven't tested lately, this should be an eye opener - please do it now! 

Click to Expand
Editor's Letter
Susan Siljander 
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

In my family, the vitamin D levels are all over the map. At last testing we varied from 30 ng/ml to 85 ng/ml. (Since the 85 ng/ml was a 12 year old boy, he enjoyed boasting at having the highest level in the house.) Since vitamin D absorption - or maybe consumption - varies so greatly, it is extremely important to test and to vary your regimen (sun, food, supplements) to see what works for you.

This chart is just amazing in that it gives you a good idea of how to make the necessary changes. Test again in three months to see what works for you.

Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & 
Research Organization  
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
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Open to any US woman, 18 years or older, at 12-17 weeks of pregnancy


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Change in Serum Level with Achievement Rates Based on Intake

D*action data
September 2015

View Chart

Disease Incidence Prevention Chart

A chart showing
 the required vitamin D
serum levels for prevention of many diseases including cancers, falls, heart attacks, diabetes, and several others
August 2012

View Chart

Vitamin D Supplement Doses and Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Range Associated with Cancer Prevention

Paper that uses D*action data to describe the relationship of measured vitamin D status to vitamin D supplementation by health conscious individuals and as related to cancer prevention.

Read Paper

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