A pharmacy wall stocked with vitamins can be overwhelming to scan. So if you could incorporate
only one into your routine, which should it be?
We put this question to Dr. Arielle Levitan and Dr. Romy Block, who penned “The Vitamin
Solution: Two Doctors Clear the Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health.”
“Vitamin D is probably the one, if we had to come up with one single vitamin that most people
need to be taking to some extent,” Levitan said.
It has an impressive resume, they said.
“It’s been proven to play a role in so many important things,” Levitan said, “particularly in
moods, in bone health … heart disease, prevention of dementia.”
Vitamin D can also ease muscle aches and thinning hair.
Usually, the doctors explained, your body should synthesize vitamin D in your kidney and liver
after sunlight exposure. But we rarely receive enough, especially in winter. And it’s difficult to
get a proper amount of vitamin D through foods.
Levitan and Block recommended looking for bottles that say USP or GMP, which denote trusted
But make sure you’re getting the right amount. They suggested checking with a doctor. Too much
can cause kidney stones and has been associated with higher mortality.
“A lot of our patients think that more is better, and if they don’t really need it, ‘I’ll just
pee it out,’ ” Levitan said. Not true.
They said most people need a supplement with 800 to 2,000 IUs daily, but some might need more
based on certain conditions. And it’s not just winter; even in the summer, many need more. So they
suggest people take vitamin D year-round because it’s metabolized very slowly. Just take a little
less in the summer, they suggest.
“People are taking the vitamins, (then) looking in the mirror the next day (for results),”
Levitan said. “We say six months to see the proper effect. It’s slow.”