9 things that can affect your vitamin D level

Published: July, 2011

Weight, warm skin, and the angle of the sun are among the determinants.

When an Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel made long-awaited vitamin D recommendations late in 2010, one of the messages was that most Americans probably have enough of the vitamin circulating in their blood to get its main proven benefit, protection of bones. But in 2011, the National Center for Health Statistics released data that paint a less rosy picture. According to the center's numbers, almost one in three Americans has vitamin D blood levels below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml), the threshold that the IOM panel said is needed for good bone health. Besides, many experts think the IOM panel was too cautious and that we'd be better off if our vitamin D levels were considerably higher than 20 ng/ml.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »