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Vitamin D: Everything you wanted to know but never asked!!

Hope everyone is enjoying the Labor Day weekend. It's Monday and here is Friday's Blog entry!    (OK I took Friday off!)

Medical research now shows that about 85% of the population is now Vitamin D deficient!

Why you may ask.......well........

  • Decades ago most people worked outside and we absorbed 10,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D in about 15minutes. (Today the FDA only requires 200-400IU as a daily supplement requirement!)
  • The medical model has had us lather on sunscreens to prevent skin cancer, thus not allowing our body to absorb the sun's rays and make Vit. D. (I wonder what people did before the invention of modern estrogen laden sunscreens??--But that's another topic)
  • Today most of us work indoors and don't get out in the sun enough. Even children are inside most of the time at school and don't play outside, instead watching TV and playing video games!

Why Is Vitamin D So Important?

The major function of vitamin D in our body is to help your body use the right levels of calcium and phosphorus from our food. This helps to build and maintain strong bones, teeth and nails. Vitamin D controls the body's calcium levels and helps with bone mineralization thereby preventing osteoporosis and rickets. I think most people are aware of this, however, research over the last 10 years has shown vitamin D to be a key factor in preventing:

  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Heart disease
  • Cancers (breast cancer/bladder cancer/ovarian cancer/colon cancer etc.)
  • PMS mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases

The latest research in 2010 has shown that inadequate intake of vitamin D may accelerate cognitive decline. A 60% increase risk of cognitive decline was found in people with low vitamin D status!!

Vitamin D is of extreme importance for our immune system health in order to fight infections. Vitamin D also decreases inflammation in the body. Many people who eat inflammatory foods such as gluten have a hard time absorbing vitamin D supplementation. In fact there is a high correlation between vitamin D malabsorption and celiac disease. Vitamin D is now being shown to be necessary to prevent autoimmune disease via plugging up the "holes" and tightening the cell junctions in "Leaky Gut".(See last weeks blog entry on Leaky Gut)

Who Is At Risk For Viamin D Deficiency?

  • People who limit sun exposure
  • If you are overweight (Vit. D is absorbed by fat cells which can lead to low levels in the body)
  • If you have dark skin ( the more melanin in your skin, the more reduced your ability to produce vitamin D)
  • Vegetarians ( a vegetarian diet is low in vitamin D because it is found mostly in egg yolk, fish ,fish oil and beef liver)

So now that you've seen the benefits of vitamin D, don't just go out and take a handful of vitamin D supplements! You must be tested for vitamin D levels! With all that is known about vitamin D, most MD's do not include it when you have blood work done! (perhaps because there is no drug to prescribe to correct a deficiency!)

I had a patient who confronted her MD when she found that vitamin D was not done on her recent blood work even though she had osteoporosis. The conversation went like this:

Patient:  Doctor, why didn't you test my vitamin D levels when you did my bloodwork?

MD: Why do YOU need your vitamin D levels checked anyhow?

Patient: Well I AM osteoporotic and I do take a vitamin D supplement ----OH GEEZE, DON'T YOU EVER WATCH DR. OZ!!!!

Moral of the story: Make sure you have your vitamin D levels checked on your next blood work. Make sure your MD is aware on the latest vitamin D research and all the benefits of vitamin D!( Have him/her read our blog or watch Dr. Oz--they might learn something!)

 

 

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