Macrobiotic Diet and Extreme Vitamin D Deficiency

by Sarah Celebrity Health, Healthy LivingComments: 55

macrobiotic diet

I read a number of years ago that Academy Award Winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow followed a macrobiotic diet.

At the time, this news snippet aroused my curiosity as my own family followed a macrobiotic diet for a brief period of time when I was in middle school and it was the worst way of eating I have ever experienced.

I absolutely despised the macrobiotic diet because I never felt satisfied or well after eating a meal prepared this way. I am very glad my parents quickly decided that it wasn’t so fantastic after all and stopped making meals this way!

Now, Ms. Paltrow has disclosed that she is suffering from osteopenia, a thinning of the bones.

This condition was brought about by vitamin D blood levels so low, that Ms. Paltrow’s doctors said the level was “… the lowest thing they had ever seen ….”

Ms. Paltrow was prescribed high dose vitamin D drops and told to spend more time in the sun (without sunscreen, of course) to reverse the condition.

This is clearly excellent advice as those of us who know that frequent, brief, nonburning doses of midday sun on the skin is a very healthy thing to do, does not cause skin cancer, and is a great way to quickly raise vitamin D blood levels!

Let’s examine for a moment how Ms. Paltrow got such alarmingly low vitamin D blood levels in the first place.

A macrobiotic diet is based on grains, primarily brown rice.  Here is the breakdown:

  • Whole cereal grains, especially brown rice: 40—60%
  • Vegetables: 25—30%
  • Beans and legumes: 5—10%
  • Miso soup: 5%
  • Sea vegetables: 5%
  • Traditionally or naturally processed foods: 5—10%

In addition to these basic recommendations, food, especially the grains, must be very thoroughly chewed by macrobiotic diet followers.   Seafood, fruit, natural sweeteners and seeds/nuts may be enjoyed 2-3 times per week, if desired (but not required).

Dangerous Dietary Deficiency from a Macrobiotic Diet

At first glance, a macrobiotic diet may seem an excellent way to eat as it is whole, unprocessed and eschews junk food, sodas and other industrialized foods that are responsible for so many modern ills, particularly in children.

However, following a macrobiotic diet can only bring ill health over the long term as it is focused primarily on grains and contains little animal fats which are the only foods that contain any vitamin D and other fat soluble vitamins that are absolutely essential to health.

And no, kelp and mushrooms grown in the sun don’t contain the type of Vitamin D our bodies can use either, so don’t fall for that dietary myth.

Having experienced the lack of well being, lethargy, dark moods and hypoglycemia produced by a macrobiotic diet firsthand as a child, I knew that Ms. Paltrow was going to suffer serious health challenges as a result of this dangerous manner of eating.   Her first clue should have been the birth weight of her first child (a girl) who was born at a whopping 9 lbs 11 oz.    It is known that girls born this large are at higher risk for breast cancer before age 50.    A diet heavy in grains, even if whole and unprocessed, will frequently result in huge babies predisposed for childhood obesity and other associated problems.

Her second clue should have been the postpartum depression she experienced after the birth of her second child, Moses, in 2006.   Postpartum depression and low vitamin D levels have been strongly linked.

With this more recent news of severe vitamin D deficiency and osteopenia at such a young age, hopefully Ms. Paltrow will abandon the disastrous macrobiotic diet and reclaim her health by consuming animal foods high in Vitamin D on a more frequent basis and reduce her grain consumption to a moderate level as practiced by healthy, traditional societies.

Any diet that produces such severe nutritional deficiency such as what Ms. Paltrow has experienced is clearly the wrong way to go and an unwise approach to eating.

More Information

Don’t Waste Your Time with the Candida Diet

What?  White Rice Better Than Brown?

Most Vegetarians Return to Eating Meat

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms Most People Miss

The Vitamin Deficiency that is Written All Over Your Face


Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

Comments (55)

  • kayumochi

    I ruined my health with Macrobiotics beginning in the late 1980’s and didn’t fully turn it around until this year. What took so long? While eating that way in the late 1980’s I developed a chronic crack on the right corner of my mouth. When it got really bad it was on both sides of my mouth. Years and years went by but the crack persisted, even when Macrobiotics went by the wayside. It seemed as if diet influenced the crack but my experimentation brought no solid conclusions. The 21st century arrived and I moved further and further into a diet with lots of meat and fat and fewer and fewer carbs. Still no solid healing of the crack. Then I read The Perfect Health Diet and began incorporating zinc supplements as recommended. The crack began to stayed healed more of the time. Then, a la Free the Animal, I began to supplement with unmodified potato starch. The crack was now healed most of the time. Then I added the SBO component along with mixing the potato starch with other fermentable fibers. The crack is now healed ALL of time. Except when I get off the protocol. This is what I have found: an overabundance of H Pylori in my gut lead to a zinc deficiency which caused the chronic crack I had for 20+years. The potato starch began to heal the gut biome. Adding the SBOs and other fermentable fibers finished the healing. My question now is, how did Macrobiotics created an overabundance of H Pylori.

    November 6th, 2014 1:17 pm Reply
  • Nina

    Yikes Sarah! I really think you should have done more research for this article. This is a quote from Gwyneth that she gave back in 2008 :

    “I was macrobiotic for about three or four years, but when I got pregnant with Apple I wanted french fries, grilled cheese, and yoghurt, so it kind of went out the window. I couldn’t look at brown rice. It made me throw up. But being macrobiotic is basically about eating local, organic, seasonal food that isn’t processed, and that’s how I eat now, so it’s not that different.”

    In light of her Vitamin D issues and other health concerns, she wrote and published a cookbook this past year, 2013, that has all sorts of recipes which call for things like: goats milk yogurt, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.

    I understand you wanting to write an article about the dangers of a macrobiotic diet, I agree with everything you wrote concerning that diet. However, why throw Gwyneth under the bus? It looks like she hasn’t eaten that way in a LONG time, and has moved on to eating differently. Clearly she has health issues that need to be addressed via her diet, but you seem to be tying to them to her macrobiotic diet RIGHT NOW, when she said over 6 years ago that she doesn’t eat that way anymore. Seems a bit uninformed on your end Sarah!

    June 7th, 2014 12:35 pm Reply
    • Nina

      Just wanted to add for clarification: Her first daughter was born in 2004, and she says she gave up her macrobiotic diet with that pregnancy, so it’s actually been 10 years since she ate macrobiotic. I am not defending Gwyneth and her constant string of diets or macrobiotic eating, I am simply a defender of getting the facts straight!

      June 7th, 2014 12:39 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Thanks for the additional info … however, severe Vitamin D deficiency can exist for years after coming off a nutrient poor diet like when one eats macrobiotic.

      June 7th, 2014 1:32 pm Reply
  • Fiona

    The Macrobiotic diet is based on mindful preparation and consumption of food. Developed in the East, where the staples are rice and vegetables, the mindfulness aspect – fundamental to macrobiotics – has tended to be discarded in the West.

    Vegans have adopted it wholeheartedly because it *looks* vegan, but the truth is that without the mindfulness aspect, the diet is only half followed and is bound to result in some unexpected consequences. When preparing and consuming food mindfully, one is open to the messages of the body. When one listens to the wisdom of the body, one is more apt to add what is necessary for good health. In the East they are not above adding a little fish or insect protein occasionally, when it’s available and the body is asking for it.

    When practicing mindfulness, there is a tendency to go outside more, for meditation, garden labour and trade of varying descriptions.

    Paltrow is pale, which suggests she doesn’t go out in the sunshine much (or uses a sunscreen – or both!), so little to no Vit D. So much for mindfully growing one’s own food (part of the macrobiotic mindful preparation of food).

    Plenty of green leafy vegetables and sunshine provides all the nutrients necessary for strong bones.

    Really, the only nutrient that macrobiotic practitioners *might* be short of is B12, available from the odd fish or insect, when the body suggests it – which is not as often as you might think.

    As to big babies – I and *all* my siblings were 9lbs and over at birth. None of us has suffered from obesity or breast cancer. I think that the studies on birth weight apply only when the mother is obese and living on the modern Western diet. 9lb-ers were not unusual post WW2 in a nation left healthy from rationing.

    June 7th, 2014 10:35 am Reply
  • Kari

    I’m a frequent reader of your blog. Though I’m a relatively new follower, so far I’ve appreciated the thought and research that goes in to all of your posts.

    Except this one.

    My issue is with your flippant comments about a 9 pound 11 oz baby described as “whopping”.
    The article you linked to to support the claim of breast cancer before age 50 being more common in big babies was not a study nor did it mention the fact you claimed. You also claim that, “A diet heavy in grains, even if whole and unprocessed, will frequently result in huge babies predisposed for childhood obesity and other associated problems.” While I agree with the point you are making about the grain diet, your wording implies that 1. a 9 pound 11 oz baby is “huge” and 2. big babies are predisposed to obesity and health problems. Whether or not this was your intention, please take caution in choosing your words in relation to a newborn’s size. Big babies are not predisposed to obesity or health issues unless there is a medical situation in the mother, such as gestational diabetes (which is one reason a baby’s size can be unhealthy, but does not mean that a big baby is unhealthy when gestational diabetes is not present).

    The United States is in the midst of an epidemic of cesarean sections (32% of births) and has the highest rate of death in infancy than any other developed nation. The number one cause of this is pre-term birth. Mothers are often induced for “big babies” only to find that the infant (induced too early) ends up in the NICU with breathing issues and other health problems from being pre-term.

    I had homebirths with my 9 pound daughter and 9 pound 3 oz son. Both were fast (less than 5 hours for my daughter, less than 8 for my son), uncomplicated, easy, natural births.

    While in hospitals only 10% of all babies are over 9 pounds, homebirth statistics (usually a low-risk profile) show a rate closer to 30% when the mother is allowed to go past 40 weeks gestation.

    The most recent report from the American Academy of Obestetrics and Gynecologists indicates that a suspected big baby is NOT an indication for induction or c-section unless another health problem is present in the mother of fetus.

    Please don’t feed into the misinformation and misunderstanding that circulates around “big babies”.

    June 7th, 2014 5:33 am Reply
    • Sunny

      I agree. When presenting information it is much better to say: “it appears as if” or “in my experience” or “research tells us” (then site research), or “could it be this or that?”. To come off as “cocksure” is to discredit yourself. Nothing and no one (except you perhaps) is set in stone, people are all different; how a person responds to food, drugs, environment, etc. is unique for each person. The trouble with western medicine is the same thing that is wrong with your blog: based on fuzzy science and too darned sure of itself. I am writing this because I follow traditional ways, much like you and have learned that the more one is militant and radical, the less one is believed and respected. By softening your words and siting more research (whether you agree with it or not) you can guide people to come to their own conclusions rather than have a “knee jerk” reaction of something being “shoved down their throat” which ultimately leads to people questioning not only your intelligence, but your sanity.

      June 7th, 2014 12:55 pm Reply
    • Sarah

      Totally agreed on the unnecessary flippant remark about big babies. Lots of factors go into the size of a baby, including the mom’s size. Gwyneth, like me, is 5’9″, so it’s not at all strange that she would have a big baby. It’s proportional to her height. My kids have been 9lb 6oz and 9lb 2oz. My husband and I (and our siblings) were over 8 pounds. We are all tall, slim people. Diets rich in protein (such as Brewer’s diet) also tend to be associated with big babies. The article linked also states that birth length, rather than birth weight, is the larger predictor for breast cancer.

      June 7th, 2014 6:18 pm Reply
      • Wendy

        Agreed. This article, much like the one about the poor woman with her fried chicken and too many garbage bags, could have been vastly improved had it been approached differently. I had a 9 pound 6 ounce baby at home and follow a hybrid of WAPF and Paleo – so I don’t think saying “her first clue should have been” was very fair. Or accurate.

        June 9th, 2014 12:26 pm Reply

    Interesting about the large babies. Never heard that before about the breast cancer. However I can tell you I had 2 large babies, 9 and almost 10 pounders, now age 12 and 15, no obesity problem and always very healthy. Rarely been to see the pediatrician for illness since birth. We’ll see what happens when they’re 50.

    June 6th, 2014 11:59 am Reply
  • Bill Schloendorn

    Vitamin D deficiency is rampant as more and more people are applying sun screen for fear of contracting skin cancer. A macrobiotic diet will not contribute to a Vitamin D deficiency any more than a traditional Western diet. A macrobiotic lifestyle will thwart cancer, heart disease, gout and may other diseases associated with a Western diet. Most physicians don’t check Vitamin D levels; nor do they have any insight to the actual positive effects associated with maintaining a healthy Vitamin D reservoir within the body. Adding food sources to one’s diet that provide a rich source of Vitamin D could introduce other negative aspects. For example, cheese and milk contribute to acid reflux and high cholesterol, free range salmon is a good source; but scarce. The farm raised, franken-fish sold as salmon is harmful for a myriad of reasons. Egg yolks are a good source. Mackerel is good; but, you might fall victim to ingesting too much mercury. Vitamin D3 will enable most folks to maintain proper Vitamin D levels. Everyone should check their D levels (minimally annually). There are many who subscribe to the theory that low-level Vitamin D levels might be the result of something else going on in the body. Hence, it is a good idea to check your Vitamin D level.

    December 17th, 2013 8:57 pm Reply
  • Joe

    What a load of misinformation this article is! Eat animal foods daily?!? There is nothing in this article that exhibits any form of intelligence whatsoever.

    The author of this drivel does not realize that vitamin D deficiency happens to all kinds of people, including the meat and potatoes crowd. This article is backed by no scientific evidence whatsoever. A Macrobiotic diet does not need to be low in vitamin D if you are diligent on your supplementation and spend enough time outside.. and stop demonizing whole grains with pseudo-science and actually eat some for once, and the key to successful macrobiotic diet is VARIETY! It’s the people who are too strict and uniform with their diet planning that may run into these kinds of problems… that goes for ANY kind of diet. If you actually knew anything about macrobiotics you wouldn’t spread this misinformation.

    February 20th, 2013 6:30 pm Reply
    • Susan

      Somebody needs a steak cooked in butter!

      June 6th, 2014 1:24 pm Reply
  • Lisa

    Thank you John Mooter.

    I have just started Macrobiotics and after 9 months my doctor is very happy. She did tell me to take calcium supplements and D3. However, I just had a lovely weekend with my sister and brother-in-law who is an internist who eat the standard healthy American diet with plenty of exercise. He now has heart problems at age 57. I would much rather have a little osteopenia than veins full of cholesterol, etc.

    September 11th, 2012 4:07 pm Reply
    • Elena

      It’s good that you’re doing well, but a truly healthful diet should not require supplements to keep you healthy. Especially when calcium is very easily obtained via food and Vitamin D with a combination of food and proper sun exposure.

      June 7th, 2014 9:11 am Reply
  • John Mooter

    Many of the comments about Macrobiotics by Sarah are totally false and misleading. SHe states in one post that Americans eat a lot of grains. Most Americans eat almost zero percent whole grains. MAcrobiotics does not consider white bread and white pasta, etc. healthy.

    All primitive societies had a principle whole grain as the main food, with minimal animal products, except in colder climates. John McDoughall, MD, discovered that his healthiest patients still ate the traditional diet, emphasizing whole foods and starch-based. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) came to the same conclusion., as did Dr Esselstyn, Dr. Ornish, and many others.These doctors were not partial to vegetarianism; in fact, T. Colin Campbell was trying to prove that animal foods were important for optimal health, and discovered just the opposite.
    The teachers in Macrobiotics are not perfect. They have made mistakes. Macrobiotics is bigger than any one person’s teaching.
    Vitamin D comes from the sun. However, due to lifestyles, many should supplement with Vitamin D, as well as B 12.I know many many people who eat this way and are in robust health, some in their 90s, one man a marathon runner in his mid 80s. Many fail because they do not follow the diet correctly, or have misinformation.
    Whole grains, vegetables and beans have been the staple foods of societies for thousands of years. Recent studies on the “Paleo Diet” have shown that past information has been flawed.
    Roman gladiators were called “barley men” because they thrived on whole grains.
    If one studies Macrobiotics, one will see that it is not as rigid as many think.

    August 24th, 2011 12:42 am Reply
    • Jud

      Thank you, finally some people responding intelligently. I read the article and was like geez, she must have not been doing it right or something… I Grew up macro my whole life. I’ve never taken so much as even an Advil…. I play sports and live a very active lifestyle… I support the whole foods plant based diet (as dr cambell likes to say) which is basically what a macrobiotic diet is – not a necessarily a delineated percentage chart as shown above in the artical. Whole grains, beans, a varsity of vegetables and a little fish on occasion… And I also agree with the mo fullness part some said as well – Nuff said!

      October 19th, 2015 11:45 am Reply
  • Diana

    Hi Sarah,

    I have heard that you can get Vitamin D from tanning beds. Here in Michigan, especially around Februrary, finding the sun is hard enough, much less feeling brave enough to bear my bare skin to its icyness. I am sure that my Vitamin D levels have dropped dramatically since moving here (from sunny Virginia). Do you know of any information on getting Vitamin D levels up from tanning beds?

    February 15th, 2011 4:04 pm Reply
    • william

      Utilizing tanning beds for vitamin d supplementation is likely your best choice. Even if you live in FL your not likely getting the wavelengths needed for supplementation due to geoengineering. The metals sprayed into the atmosphere shield much of the sun from hitting earth.

      You may learn more at or

      Let me mention one food that is brilliant in vit d supplementation. Your levels will be highest using this product over anything else you might do because of hi absorption: fermented cod liver oil.


      June 6th, 2014 2:30 pm Reply
    • megan

      also has a lot about vit d3, the sun, and which tanning beds to use. all are not safe. make sure you find out which kind are and find them in your area. and parents should be able to decide if their kids can go in them not the government. government butt out of our rights!!!!!

      June 7th, 2014 7:56 am Reply
  • Gerard Mulder

    I feel good at mocrobiotic.

    December 7th, 2010 6:00 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Kate, glad you like the header. I love it too!! So nice to have a pretty one finally.

    Maria, I read about washing off Vitamin D that has just formed in the oils of the skin from sun exposure on Dr. Mercola’s website. If I remember right,, you can’t wash it off with just water, but soap will do a pretty good job of washing it away for the first few hours after exposure.

    December 5th, 2010 12:53 pm Reply
  • Maria

    Actually, according to Dr. Holick who is a world renowned expert on vitamin D you cannot wash Vitamin D off your skin because it is made in the living cells of the skin.
    To answer all your Vitamin D questions (how much Vit D to take, in what form, when, can you get enough Vit D from food, should you go tanning and much much more) read his new book “The Vitamin D Solution”
    This book is revolutionary, it was eyeopening for me, and so full of useful information that can help us all improve our health. Through his ground-breaking research on vitamin D Dr. Holick concludes that vitamin D deficiency is the most common medical condition in the world and we all should be getting more vitamin D through sun or supplements. I especially loved the fact that he has a Q&A section at the end of the book that answers all these questions I talked about above.

    December 5th, 2010 4:31 am Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    HI Lanise, it could be that you are showering too soon after getting your sun exposure. You need to wait as long as possible to give the skin time to absorb into the blood the vitamin D that forms in the oils of your skin. Gut imbalance will affect B12. Are you doing any probiotics, fermented foods etc?

    December 3rd, 2010 2:30 pm Reply
  • Lanise

    I am low in Vit D also and I have been prescribed to take 50,000 IU’s 2x a week. I also am taking Cod Liver Oil daily, 2 tablets a day. Now I’m wondering if I should up that.

    Does anyone know what inhibits Vit D absorption? I am also deficient in B12 and both of these deficiencies surprise me. Living in Arizona it is not hard to get enough sun during the day. We have very few cloudy days and I rarely wear sunscreen, only if I’m going to be out for a couple of hours. So, I’m thinking there most be something else going on that is inhibiting my D and B12 absorption. Thanks.

    December 3rd, 2010 4:36 am Reply
  • Rhinoplasty Los Angeles

    Thanks for discussing the diet at length ….I always foolishly thought that the macrobiotics diet and dependence on grains was a very good idea.I almost forgot about the consideration of vitamins D.

    December 1st, 2010 5:03 pm Reply
  • sara

    It’s so frustrating to me that people aren’t encouraged to take more vitamin D! A pregnant friend of mine told me that she knew that she had been tested as vitamin D deficient before she got pregnant, but when I suggested taking a supplement said that she would have to ask her doctor first! This woman is already on blood pressure medication during her pregnancy, why would she be afraid of Vitamin D supplement? And why wasn’t she prescribed one already!?
    I am slowly turning my husband around to a traditional diet. I think it will be a while before he is totally on board, though. Thanks for another great post.

    November 30th, 2010 7:04 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Musings .. you should take 1.3 tsp of the fermented cod liver oil a day (this is 6-8 capsules I think) as this is about 4000 IU vitamin D and plenty of omega 3’s. You don’t need plain fish oil on top of this. 60 is a GREAT level. Congratulations as you are one of the few I know in the ideal range. My kids take the cinnamon fermented cod liver oil right off the spoon and take 1 tsp per day which is 3000 IU and a maintenance dose for a school age child. It’s up to you if you want to add D3 drops in the wintertime. I don’t down here but I’m in FL which has UVB rays year round. Philly is a different story so you will have to gauge this and decide yourself on that one.

    November 30th, 2010 2:03 pm Reply
  • Musings of a Housewife

    Sarah, I’ve been reading Nora’s Primal book and reading her recommendations for cod liver oil, fish oil, vit D3 and K and A and how they work synergistically. I’m a bit confused.

    I take fermented cod liver oil, 2 capsules a day. Last winter I was also taking 5000 of D3 and my levels tested at 60 which is good. Now I’m wondering if I need to add vit K. As I understand it, the cod liver oil has both A and D, so I don’t need more A??

    Also, she says that fish oil is different – it is for omega 3 and cod liver oil is for D and A mostly. Do I need fish oil if we eat a lot of pastured meats and eggs? I’m thinking no.

    I picked up fish oil “gummies” for the kids and they’ve been taking them (was confused at the time – thinking I was getting them cod liver oil or a comparable). Should I switch them to cod liver oil instead? And add D3 now that it’s wintertime?



    November 30th, 2010 1:46 pm Reply
  • Caroline

    I’ve also heard she works out with a trainer who says “women should never lift weights of more than 3lbs” which is not only total B.S. but also not enough weight bearing exercise to encourage strong bones. Possibly a contributing factor to her osteopenia. I suppose this is all good evidence that “skinny” is not always healthy.

    November 29th, 2010 9:27 pm Reply
    • Katie

      3 lbs, seriously?!! Wow that is the biggest load of bs I’ve ever heard. You will never build muscle or strength lifting only 3 lbs. And I’m guessing her trainer, whom I’ve heard of as a popular celebrity trainer for women, costs an absurd amount to go to.

      June 1st, 2014 7:39 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    I would also add that 20,000 IU may seem like a lot at first, but if you remember this is the vitamin D dose that you get in a bathing suit during just a brief (10-20) minute midday sun exposure then it doesn't seem like much at all and a daily dose of 3000-5000 IU via cod liver oil seems very normal for a maintenance dose.

    November 29th, 2010 12:49 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    For adults for short periods of time, I have no doubt the level is that high to get stubbornly low levels to rise.

    November 29th, 2010 12:44 pm Reply
    • Joyce

      Mary, I met an MD at a conference recently (unrelated to health) and we just happened to discuss Vit D. He suggested that I take 10,000 IU of D3 for 6 weeks and that that quantity should help to significantly improve my levels over the current low of 33; which is considered a Vit D deficiency. I think that for many woman our levels have been chronically deficient for many years due to use of sunscreen, inadequate supplementation, etc. Some signs of deficiency are fatigue, depression and a general sense that you could be feeling better than you are.

      20,000 IUs for a limited period of time like 6 weeks would probably be fine, too. One of the most important things that Vit D can also do for you at a “preventative level” is to help prevent breast cancer, a universal concern for women. I don’t know what the signs of Vit D toxicity are, though. But if you think you are deficient you should probably have a blood test and work “up” from there.

      December 3rd, 2010 5:11 am Reply
  • Mary

    I have read that it is recommended to take 20,000 IU Vit D to raise levels. That seems like a dangerous amount when they say the daily recommended dose is 400-1000. Your thoughts? I'm pretty sure I am deficient…

    November 29th, 2010 5:13 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Joyce, you are right, almost every single person I've met is deficient most especially women. The most recent info on dosage for children last I read is 3000 IU per day (this is maintenance dose .. if you want to increase vit D levels, it should be higher). I do not have any information on whether dosage should vary based on skin color. This is the dosage my 3 kids get every day regardless of whether they get sun exposure or not.

    November 29th, 2010 3:10 am Reply
    • Katie

      Hi Sarah. What is the exact kind of vitamin D supplement you give your children and the dosage? What brand would you recommend? Thanks!

      June 1st, 2014 7:45 pm Reply
  • Joyce Handy

    Hi Sarah, it seems that EVERY woman I speak to is Vit D deficient, and many are taking supplemental prescription Vit D! I just spent the entire summer up at a lake in upstate, NY, never used sunscreen (except for my face), take Fermented Cod Liver Oil, and 2,000 to 4,000 IU's of supplemental Vit D and was shocked this fall to find out that my blood level of D was still only 33; which is considered deficient. So, I have to up the D3 to at least 5,000 a day.

    By the way, what is the dosing level of Vit D for children, and is it different for children with darker skin? I ask because my husband is Indian and my kids have really deep tans for about 5 months of the year. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks, Joyce

    November 29th, 2010 2:25 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Sally, Gwyneth is extremely talented and I am glad she has given up that horrendous macrobiotic diet (someone posted on The Healthy Home Economist Facebook page that Gwyneth was interviewed on TV a couple days ago and that she said that has given it up).

    November 28th, 2010 9:50 pm Reply
  • Sally

    Great article. Funny, I just saw her on Glee and she was FABULOUS. I didn't know she could sing and dance. This was a very different Gwyneth than the pasty faced girl I've seen at the movies. This new G was dynamic and full of life. Interesting!

    We take 5,000iu about 5 days a week of Vit D3, have for a couple of years. Me, my husband and two gigantic teens. After a few really cloudy days, we'll take a double dose. No colds or flu. One son was an asthma sufferer and I feel pretty confident that Vit D had something to do with his loss of symptoms.

    We take Vit K with it, recommended. 400mg. Also VitD3 is fat soluble meaning you can take your week's dose all at once, it doesn't pee out like Vit C or Bs. It's also why you could take too much at one time.

    Vit D council has a website and recommendations. Mercola has written a lot on Vit D as well.

    Thank you for the post – I love hearing about how someone's life has changed and all it took was eating real food and real supplements!!!

    November 28th, 2010 9:40 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Joyce, there isn't a maximum recommendation. Grains just should never be the dominant food in one's diet like it is with most Westerners.

    November 28th, 2010 8:59 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Linda, you do not get any vitamin D unless your bare skin is exposed to midday sun. Early morning and late afternoon sun does not have much UVB rays which are the vitamin D producing ones. If you feel you need vitamin D drops, you should have your levels tested first by a doctor or order a kit online yourself for about $75. Most people have no need for tests. Just take a daily dose of cod liver oil and get brief and frequent doses of midday sun.

    November 28th, 2010 8:57 pm Reply
  • Joyce Handy


    What exactly is the maximum grain consumption allowed per day per the advice of the Weston A. Price Foundation? And, I assume these are soaked grains except for perhaps the white basmati rice you eat. Thanks, Joyce

    November 28th, 2010 7:55 pm Reply
  • Linda

    I have been wondering if I am deficient in vitamin D. Am I correct in assuming that even when I am outside in the sun, but covered up with a coat and hat that my body can't absorb vitimin D? I do take fermented cod liver oil but do you recommend Vitamin D supplements as well?

    November 28th, 2010 7:08 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Excellent advice, Marina. Everyone comes along in their own time in their own way and forcing the issue does not seem to make things go any faster within a family.

    November 28th, 2010 4:42 pm Reply
  • marina

    Linda, take it slowly, and your family will eventually embrace this way of eating. It was the same for me, I started eating this way about 6 years ago, and at first my husband was very critical/picky, along with his mother, but now we are on the same page, he even talks about proper nutrition to our kids! :)And asks me to make liver patte every week! As long as you keep cooking and offering and putting healthy meals on the table, the kids and spouse will come around eventually! They will love feeling healthy and full of energy!

    As for vitamin D, And I have been giving my kids vitamin D3 drops (my little sunshine brand) every morning, and it is almost December but they did not have any sniffles yet, even if they spend a whole day in school! They also take cod liver oil. There is no much sun in the winter here in Ontario, very depressing sometimes, but vitamin D keeps it under control!

    November 28th, 2010 4:34 pm Reply
  • Linda

    Your posts are so interesting and I am learning a lot. I just wish I could get my family to embrace this way of eating.

    November 28th, 2010 4:10 pm Reply
  • Meagan

    I like the analysis. Can you do this for my life/diet and fix my problems? LOL.

    November 28th, 2010 5:20 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Carla, but notice how a macrobiotic diet is so deceptive as it is very much whole foods based but still leads to ill health because it does not include any of the sacred foods that traditional societies used to maintain vibrant health and to supercharge mineral absorption by the body.

    November 27th, 2010 9:27 pm Reply
  • Carla

    Wow, this is so interesting. I love how things always go back to real food. I know I am low in things but without a doctor to check, I feel like I'm at loose ends and hoping eating right will eventually get me to where I need to be.

    November 27th, 2010 7:45 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I shared this with my 70 y/o father who has diabetes. He read a book that said you can lower blood sugar w/o meds if you eat only oatmeal and beans. So now that is all he eats. He is very stubborn and rarely changes his mind, but I hope he will eat more nutritiously after reading this…

    November 27th, 2010 5:19 pm Reply
  • Emily

    i grew up vegan-macrobiotic for the first 5 years of my life. i had 25 cavities by age 2! i have suffered poor dental health since then and am very sad that my parents didnt know how bad a low fat vegan diet can be for our bones and teeth, which of course are bones! whole grains as youve mentioned, are filled with anti-nutrients which prevent us from absorbing the minerals in them. my husband grew up on fatty meats, whole milk and white bread, amongst other standard american fare, and he is 42 and has never had a cavity.

    November 27th, 2010 4:17 pm Reply
    • BEC

      Thats so funny, because i grew up a meat eater, whole milk and white bread eater too and as a 37 year old i have had cavities in every one of my baby and adult teeth (which non of my siblings did, same diet) & my children who have grow up vegetarians have perfect teeth! mmmmm, maybe everyone is different!!!

      June 7th, 2014 5:04 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Lovelyn, the fact that you eat the way you do now is highly protective against cancer which is autoimmune in nature. I believe that the choices we make as adults are most affecting of our health than some of the things that occur to us of which we have no control. Birth weight does have a link for future breast cancer in girls, but this is only a warning – it is not set in stone if lifestyle changes are made.

    November 27th, 2010 4:11 pm Reply
  • Lovelyn

    I didn't know that large babies are more likely to develop breast cancer. I was a 10 pound baby. Now I'm worried.

    I tried to eat a macrobiotic diet when I was a teenager and hated it. Now I love butter way too much to ever try anything like that again.

    November 27th, 2010 4:05 pm Reply

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