Monday, April 4, 2011

When is a D a good thing...when we're talking Vitamin D

I got a call from my doctor's office, after having a ton of bloodwork done.  Of all the things I never thought to worry about, vitamin deficiency was way up on the list.  But he wants to prescribe me Vitamin D.  It seems that Vitamin D deficiency is a growing concern in our country and most people don't even know they have it.  The effects come on so gradually you simply accept the aches, pains and fatigue (just a few things it can cause).  Even more frightening is the fact that Vitamin D is essential to over 36 vital organ functions.

Don't believe me?  How about WebMD: "
The side effects from low vitamin D in the body are far-reaching. Vitamin D is needed for absorbing calcium, which is essential for strong and healthy bones and teeth and certain functions of the body. People who have a vitamin D deficiency lack enough calcium, so their bodies start to extract calcium from their bones.

  1. Features

    • Vitamin D deficiency has been connected to many side effects. Conditions associated with the deficiency include rickets, diabetes, high blood pressure and lung cancer. The deficiency is associated with heart disease and different forms of cancer. Increasing the intake of vitamin D and calcium would annually prevent 58,000 cases of breast cancer and 49,000 cases of colorectal cancer in the United States and Canada, according to a study reported in Annals of Epidemiology in July 2009.

    Expert Insight

    • Thirty-six percent of "otherwise healthy young people" have low Vitamin D levels, reported Michael F. Holick, director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center School of Medicine, in an article published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. He said that up to 57 percent of inpatient clients were found to have vitamin D deficiency.


    • The best treatment for the side effects of low vitamin D is natural sunlight. You should try to get 15 to 20 minutes of exposure to the sun daily. People with darker complexions, and those who do not get outdoors much, should focus on diets high in vitamin D. Some excellent sources are eggs, fortified milk and cod liver oil. Supplements are a practical way of ensuring the amount needed.


    • People with low levels of vitamin D suffer from numerous symptoms. They might experience muscle weakness, aches and pains. Constant fatigue, even with sufficient sleep, is common. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to moodiness, depression and anxiety. Some people experience vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.


    • If people become more aware of the risks of low vitamin D, they can take steps to reverse their deficiency. People living at high or low latitudes have a higher chance of deficiency. Others particularly susceptible to vitamin D shortage include infants and elderly people and those who consume few fortified dairy products or vitamin D supplements."
Read more: What Side Effects Do You Get From Low Vitamin D? |
Need more research?  MayoClinic is also emphasizing the issue:
This doesn't mean everyone needs to rush to the doctor for a prescription of Vitamin D.  Besides getting out in the sun at least 10-15 minutes a day, you can get Vitamin D from fish, eggs, fortified milk, and cod liver oil, to name a few.

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