Until recently I didn’t know much about vitamin D other than we can get it by spending time in the sun and that some foods are fortified with it. There was no reason to give it a second thought. After all I live in the city with the most perfect weather and although I don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, I am outside on average 20-30 minutes a day.
Plus I take Calcium supplements that include Vitamin D3.
What motivated me to learn more was a call from my doctor about recent lab tests. It turns out I am vitamin D-deficient and she advised me to take an additional 2,000 units daily. The first thing I did was research the whats and whys of this nutrient.
Vitamin D isn’t technically a dietary vitamin because all mammals can make it themselves via sun exposure to our skin. Fortunately, it is also available in foods and supplements since modern day life means most of us don’t want to spend much time outdoors without hats and sunscreen.
Common Reasons for Deficiency
There are several reasons a large number of Americans are turning up deficient in this important vitamin.
1. Lack of exposure to sunlight. Not only is this a problem for people who are rarely outside or protect their skin but also naturally dark-skinned people.
2. Lack of Dietary Vitamin D. It would be just about impossible to eat enough food with Vitamin D to meet the recommended daily allowance. Primary food sources of the vitamin are wild-caught oily fish (salmon, mackerel, bluefish, and canned tuna) and fortified foods such as milk, baby formula, cereal and orange juice.
3.Obesity. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. If you have more fat than is healthy the overall level will be lower.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential to good bone health. That’s why most calcium supplements include D3. But it apparently also protects us against many other diseases. Recent studies have led to the conclusion that sufficient levels of Vitamin D protect us from heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, certain cancers (colon and breast).
There are also links to thyroid disorders for people with low vitamin D levels. I have Hashimoto’s and wonder if my Vitamin D deficiency actually started years ago.
A Plan for Health
My daily routine has now expanded to include one additional supplement. I’m taking the 2,000 unit Vitamin D pill every night. This is in addition to the amount in my two calcium tablets and the multivitamin I also take daily. In three months it’ll be time for a follow-up blood test and we’ll see how I’m doing. I’m also hoping for some improvements in my fasting blood sugar and overall feeling of health.
Have you ever battled a vitamin deficiency?