Vitamin D, Are you getting enough?

I am so pleased that Vitamin D is getting a lot of attention these days.  Today I wanted to share with you why it is important, how to know if your are low, and how to bring your levels up.

Why Vitamin D is important

Low vitamin D levels are associated with many different health problems including; diabetes, back pain, depression, osteoporosis, cancer, colds, heart disease, fatigue, flu, hearing loss, muscle pain, autoimmune disease, and many more.

How to know if you are low- A few things about testing

There are several different tests available make sure you are being tested for 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, NOT for 1,25(OH)D.

When you get your test results, look at the actual number, not just whether the lab report says you are low.  You want to see at least 50 ng/ml, better yet 80 ng/ml, but not more than 100 ng/ml.  

How to bring your levels up- A few things to know about Vitamin D supplements and food sources.

The best food source of bioavailable Vitamin D is Cod Liver Oil, other oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines are also good sources.  Thats it.  Oily fish or sun exposure are you 2 best natural routes to getting enough vitamin D.  It is not a big surprise then why so any people are deficient.  We slather on sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, and many of us are not big fans of fish let alone cod liver oil.  By the way, depending on what kind of sunscreen you use, you may be increasing not decreasing your skin cancer risk by using sunscreen with cancer causing ingredients.

I recommend a fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil blend to all of my patients who are low in Vitamin D.  Not only does it provide a highly bioavailable form of Vitamin D, it also has Vitamins A and K, 2 other fat soluble vitamins I find many people to be low in when I test them.    If you choose a vitamin supplement for Vitamin D make sure to get D3, not D2.

We are still being told over and over that 15 minutes in the sun will give us all the vitamin D we need.  I wish that were true, but it simply isn't.  Sun exposure does help, and I do recommend some sun exposure without sunscreen for short periods of time- less time than it would take to get "pink" or show signs of sun exposure an hour afterwards.  But it is not likely to get your levels into the optimal range when you live in Colorado, of anyplace else so far from the equator.

Conclusion;  More people are taking it, and more doctors are testing for it.    We have the technology to test for this vitamin, lets do it rather than guessing.  A test once a year and a daily high quality vitamin D supplementation might cost you $200 per year.  That is a small price to pay for reducing your risks of cancer, osteoporosis, depression and all those other things I listed above.

 By the way my prediction for the next vitamin to get mass media attention- Vitamin K.