We all need Vitamin D. Our bodies do not manufacture it. This vitamin must be obtained through sunlight, diet, and/or supplementation. Many of us in Aroostook County, Maine are low in Vitamin D, especially in the colder months. The healthy goal standard is to be at a minimum of 35 ng/ml. In my experience of biometric screenings throughout 15 years, I would estimate the average result to be around 15 to 20 ng/ml!!! That is not good. Here's why...
The Importance of Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is vital for the absorption calcium in our body. In addition D helps:
-Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
-Regulate and support the immune system
-Maintain healthy body weight
-Reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis and muscle pain
-Maintain brain function as you age
-Reduce severity and frequency of asthma & allergy symptoms
-Reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and bone pain
-Reduce risk of diabetes (Vitamin D is necessary in the production of Insulin)
-Reduce the risk of heart disease Prevent various cancers
3 Reasons You May be Deficient in Vitamin D:
You do not get enough sunlight. If your body has regular exposure to the sun, it’s typically able to get the vitamin D it needs. However, many people don’t get enough sunlight simply due to the amount of time they spend indoors (i.e job is indoors, cold weather).
Your Diet is lacking in Vitamin D sources. These foods are tough to get on a daily basis. See food sources listed below.
You do not take supplements. Again, it very difficult to get enough vitamin D from the foods you eat alone. You may need to find a quality Vitamin D supplement. Tip: Look for one that is D3 form. It is the best form of Vitamin D for the human body.
*Note: The body needs more vitamin D if you are obese or pregnant.
Common Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms (mild to chronic/severe):
-Tiredness, chronic lethargy
-Pain in your bones and overall weakness
-Muscle pain and muscle cramping
-Moodiness, depression, cognitive issues
-Frequent infections or sickness i.e Colds (getting sick more than 3x per year)
Chronic Diseases Fueled by Vitamin D Deficiency (not all inclusive list):
Alzheimer’s & Dementia
Asthma & allergies
Cold & Flu
Diabetes 1 and 2
Eczema & Psoriasis
Multiple Sclerosis & muscle pain
Osteoporosis & bone pain
SHOCKING FACT! D. Alexander Parker, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Urology at Mayo Clinic in Florida, suggests that, “one-quarter of Americans suffer from low levels of Vitamin D.” (Deficient defined as less than 20ng/ml)
FUN FACT! Lifeguard's average is 60+ ng/mL
Vitamin D range guidelines from various organizations:
It’s suggested that 50-80 ng/ml is the ideal level to aim for. This is why the Vitamin D Council recommends adults take 4,000 to 5,000 IU/day.
How Do You Get Vitamin D?
The best source of vitamin D is from Sunshine!
It is recommended that you should get 10-15 minutes of sun 3-5x per week.
*Note: Always be careful not to sun burn. Burns can manipulate our skin cells. Any cell that becomes mutated is at risk for Cancer. Having sunscreen on hand, is important. Use an SPF that is suitable for your skin type/pigment. However, SPF 15 or higher reduces the absorption of vitamin D from sunlight significantly. Try SPF 8. For fair skinned people, unable to obtain adequate sunlight without sun screen application, I recommend supplementing with a high quality Vitamin D3 supplement.
* Darker skin color (pigment) acts as a natural sunscreen.
Why does Alaska’s population (who spend significant amounts of time in darkness) get more Vitamin D than Maine’s population? SALMON consumption.
Best Sources of Vitamin D3:
-Wild Caught Salmon (also tuna, mackerel, sardines).
-Organic Dairy, like cheese and yogurt. Try Goat Cheese!
-Eggs, look for free range (and organic if possible)
-Fortified Whole Grains, such as cereals, granola, grain rice
-Oranges and/or pure orange juice
How Can I Test My Vitamin D levels?
The blood test you need is called a 25(OH)D Blood Test.
Order an in-home test. These tests are simple to use. Order online and a test is sent to your home. You prick your finger and put a drop of blood on the paper, then you send the paper to a lab to be tested. You can order an in-home test at www.GrassRootsHealth/ OR www.zrtlab.com OR, you can...
Order the Vitamin D test through your Doctor. It's simple.
* Medicare Note: As of 2016, Medicare covered Vitamin D testing!
NOTE ON VITAMIN K:
Vitamin K2 is a pairing nutrient important to D3. As Dr. Mercola states, “Taking vitamin K2 along with vitamin D slowed the progression of arterial calcification, whereas vitamin D alone did not. Vitamin K2 engages in a delicate dance with vitamin D, and you need both in adequate amounts for optimal health.”
* Important: K is a natural platelet enhancer. It assists in thickening the blood. If you are experiencing ‘thick blood’, and/or your Dr. has placed you on a blood thinner medication, DO NOT TAKE VITAMIN K.
Q & A
Q: Do Sun Lamps yield vitamin D? A: Some: Full spectrum + UVB ray lamps.
Q: Can we get enough sunlight through a window: A: Yes. Exceptions are tinted windows tinted, and the UV window protective layering.
VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENT RESOURCES
- Vitamin Code Raw D3 https://bit.ly/2VNMLVK
- Dr. Mercola Vitamin D3 + K2 https://bit.ly/33CyNZq
- Garden of Life D3 Spray https://bit.ly/33BRFb5
Be sure to check your other supplements, such as a multivitamin to see if you already may be taking Vitamin D units. Also, if you are on various medications, to be extra safe, ask your Pharmacist and/or Physician about your supplements and medication combinations.