What's going on with Vitamin D?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I mentioned before that Mr. Jelly Belly nearly busted a gut laughing when I came home two years ago and told him I had just been diagnosed as being Vitamin D deficient. Because Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” it was not surprising that I, a hater of the sun from way back, would be found lacking in this area. My days of baking in baby oil are long gone – these days I avoid the sun at all cost. Always. If I am forced to be outside, I coat myself in sunscreen and pride myself on my “bar room pallor”. Morticia Addams has got nothing on me.

Then there’s Mr. Jelly Belly – a lover of all things outdoors. On the weekends, if he’s not outside working in the yard from sunup to sundown, he’s on the golf course for hours, sans sunscreen, baking in the mid-day sun, desperately trying to break 100. During the week I have to hold dinner for him so he can work in the yard from the time he gets home from work until it gets dark. (What the heck does he DO out there??) He rarely sweats, he tans easily and he doesn’t have even one single wrinkle. Sometimes I hate that man.

So we were both quite surprised when his recent blood work came back indicating a Vitamin D deficiency. What the heck? Experts advise anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes of sun daily, with 40% of your body exposed (no sunscreen) in order to get adequate Vitamin D from the sun. Obviously, Mr. Jelly Belly gets WAY more than that. So if someone like him can’t maintain an adequate Vitamin D level, what hope is there for the rest of us mere mortals?

Because so many people either purposely avoid the sun due to the fear of skin cancer or, for the more shallow among us, premature aging, or because we spend most of our daylight hours at work, Vitamin D deficiency is reportedly reaching epidemic levels. Supplementation is almost becoming mandatory.

It used to be recommended that you supplement NO MORE than 1000 IU per day. It is now being reported that one can supplement up to 10,000 IU per day with no ill effects. But that’s the extreme. Most experts are recommending anywhere between 1000 and 5000 IU per day. BUT, your Vitamin D supplement should contain D3. Because it is really the D3 that’s important.

A D3 deficiency can lead to high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis (because we need D3 in order to absorb calcium) and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies are currently being done that link D3 deficiencies to increased risk of breast cancer.

When you eat a food that is “Vitamin D fortified” what you are probably getting is Vitamin D2, a synthetic form of Vitamin D that is less well utilized by the body than D3. Good food sources of D3 include salmon, mackerel, sardines, egg yolks and beef liver. (I’ll stick with the salmon, thanks.)

Seriously, don’t screw around…get your Vitamin D levels tested and (oh, how it pains me to say this) discuss your supplementation needs with your doctor. You just might discover the source of some of your aches and pains.

Okay, enjoy the sun this weekend, if you’re That Type of person…I’m off to slather on some sunscreen, pop some D3, and find out where I can buy that Casper t-shirt. Have a great weekend!


Tammy Howard said...

I am 'that type' of person. And I shall be soaking up a dose of vitamins as soon as the dew is off the grass. :-)

Housewife Savant said...

If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing then I'm a lethal weapon.
Every time I read your posts I'm loaded for bear and ready to grab Good Health by the short hairs and make it my...

Well, I'm ready to be healthier.

Anonymous said...

I read something about getting some sun being healthy for you once so I started making myself sit outside in the sun for about 20minutes a day now...I'm not a sun worshipper at all. I'm pale, I don't want skin cancer and I don't want to look like a walking leather purse! :-) I still won't do it on a hot/humid day though.

Camevil said...

Isn't this weird? It seems everyone is Vitamin D deficient, even the outdoorsy ones. Makes me wonder if we've always been Vitamin D deficient or if our modern eating habits suck worse than we thought.

I just upped my daily dose of D to 2,000 units. *crosses fingers*

Laura said...

I caught enough salmon to satisfy my need vitamin d but I'll be outside too. Summer is too short her to dilly dally inside.

Patty said...

I am starting to wonder if you are me becasue that man you are married to sounds more and more like my husband. I was secretly happy when he started get a few gray hairs--still no wrinkles.

I spend a fair amount of time in the sun, usually early in the day, no sunscreen, I eat whole eggs often, and salmon and sardines. If they told me I was low on vitamin D, I would not believe them! :-)