Aloha! My family and I take a vacation to Hawaii once per year and being in this sunny place got me thinking about all the grey skies and the vitamin D deficiency that goes along with living in Seattle, Wa.
There are few “vitamins” that are more important to your health than vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic in the US but most people have no idea that they are deficient or why it matters. The National Health and Nutrition Examination survey found that 50 percent of children aged one to five years, and 70 percent of children between the ages of six and eleven are deficient or insufficient in vitamin D. It is also estimated that 95% of those over the age of 70 are deficient and deficiency is prevalent in all those that wear sunscreen.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone. It is involved in over 2000 reactions in your body and studies have linked a deficiency to cancer, MS, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and more!
The only way to know if you are deficient in vitamin D is with a blood test. However, there are some signs and symptoms that indicate you might have a vitamin D deficiency and should get tested sooner rather than later.
- You have Darker Skin
If you have darker skin you need as much as 10 times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as a person with pale skin.
- You feel “Down”
Serotonin is the hormones associated with feeling happy and rises with exposure to bright light and falls with reduced exposure to sun.
- You are 50 or older
As we age our skin does not make as much vitamin D in response to the sun. Additionally, our kidneys, which convert our vitamin D into an active form our bodies can use, also become less efficient.
- You wear sunscreen
Don’t get me wrong, I want you to wear sunscreen. My second board certification is in cosmetic medicine and the research is clear that sunscreen prevents skin cancer and aging of the skin. We have a thinning and absent ozone so we need to protect our skin. I also know the importance of vitamin D so you need to get your vitamin D from supplementation, not by increasing your risk of skin cancer in the sun.
- Your bones ache
Many studies indicate that many people go to their doctor for aches and pains and end up with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. These are very real illnesses but many of these diagnoses are mis-diagnoses and are actually a vitamin D deficiency. Also, vitamin D will improve the symptoms of those that do have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. When you have a vitamin D deficiency it can causes a defect in your body’s ability to put calcium into the collagen matrix of your bone. This results in throbbing, aching bone pain.
- Head Sweating
Babies who have head sweating has long been an early sign of vitamin D deficiency. This is not uncommon as vitamin D is not in breast milk.
- Digestion issues
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and if you have gut or digestion issues it is likely that you are not absorbing fat soluble vitamins efficiently.
Here is what to do
Vitamin D optimal range is 50-100 ng/ml. You definitely don’t want to be “normal” when it comes to vitamin D levels. Be sure to ask for vitamin D 25-OH test. I had a patient that was told by her primary care physician to stop taking her vitamin D after seeing her blood test results. The problem was that he tested for Vitamin D2, which has been shown in studies to be a much weaker form of vitamin D and is not recommended as a test or a supplement form. Her real vitamin D level was 29, showing she definitely needed to take vitamin D supplements to prevent diseases and to treat her osteoporosis.
Most of my patients take 5000-10,000 IU of vitamin D but this is when they are being monitored by blood testing. I strongly recommend you get your vitamin D tested. Ask your primary care physician to test this or call us at my clinic (877-8-VITALITY)and we can set up this test for you anywhere in the US.
Vitamin D is our happy and healthy vitamin and can be taken with or without food and never upsets your stomach.
Committed to your Vitality!
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