The A B C’s of D

 

I don’t know about you, but over the past year or so, I have been hearing more and more about the health benefits of Vitamin D, and conversely, about all of the health risks associated with a Vitamin D deficiency. That is why I decided to compile as much information as I could regarding this topic, and share it here, making it (hopefully) simple to understand. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post with any feedback, Vitamin D success stories,  or any additional information you might have and want to share, and thanks.

If you steer clear of the sun, are over weight or live in a northern climate such as New England or the Pacific Northwest, you may have a Vitamin D deficiency! Since the symptoms may be subtle, you may not even know are deficient. Last year after my annual exam, I found out that I was indeed Vitamin D deficient. I had no idea and had no specific complaints at that time that would have led to believe that I was. I was prescribed 50,000 I.U.’s of Vitamin D supplement per week for eight weeks, with the recommendation of at least 1000 i.u.’s per day after that. What I can tell you is I noticed a general sense of well-being and an increase in my daily energy after the eight week period. Also, I have not had one cold since, and as a health-care practitioner, I see many patients that have bad colds and upper respiratory infections.What I have learned since then is also very important.If you do not have the appropriate levels of Vitamin D in your system, there are many long-term health risks.

Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with many conditions including, increased cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, and certain cancers such as breast cancer. Research also suggests that appropriate Vitamin D levels could play a role in the prevention and treatment of Obesity, Type II Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, breast, colon & ovarian cancer. It can also help the growth and activity of your cells, reduce inflammation and help to ward off depression, especially seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

A recent study even confirmed that individuals with low levels of Vitamin D reported having more cases of the common cold AND the flu!I will definitely make sure I am taking my Vitamin D this season especially as I mentioned before I have not had a cold or flu in a VERY long time. Whew!

Because Vitamin D also helps to regulate our immune system and reduce inflammation, it is important in autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, & IBS. Vitamin D also helps to increase serotonin levels in the brain to help treat depression.

With regards to obesity, because Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it can be taken and stored in the fat cells making it less available in our body’s metabolism.

As we age, our ability to convert Vitamin D into its active form decreases, which can potentially lead to many of the degenerative diseases mentioned above.

I highly recommended that you check to see what your vitamin D levels are; a simple blood test is all you need. This is a great time of year to check as we move into the winter months, and you may want to recheck your levels in a few months to make sure you’re indeed getting enough.

Thirty minutes in the sun every day is a great way to get Vitamin D but unfortunately many of us can’t get that for several reasons, especially if you live where I live in the Pacific Northwest.

I often try to get my nutrients including Vitamin D from my daily meals, such as Sockeye Salmon with a cayenne, cumin & brown sugar glaze, (one of my daughter’s favorites) or for breakfast a poached egg. Both are great sources of Vitamin D. as well as cod. Other good sources would include halibut, herring, steelhead trout (a fish my boyfriend will often catch), catfish, sardines and tuna. Unfortunately, most foods fortified with Vitamin D are not well absorbed into our body.

I also think is very important to include a Vitamin D3 supplement. It has been recommended that a dose between 3 – 5,000 I.U.’s per day is a good maintenance, especially in the winter months. My friend, colleague and local nutritionist here in Portland, OR Diane Reich has seen really good results with the higher dosage with many of her clients.

Please go get your Vitamin D levels checked as soon as you can so that you can start improving your health today.

Sources:

Dr. Mercola.com

Nutrition Data.com

Web MD

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