It’s blistering hot in Melbourne tomorrow - and that reminds me to write about …
the vitamin that is not a vitamin - it’s actually a hormone and so massively important to balancing body processes
the vitamin that has virtually no food sources
the vitamin that if deficient, is linked to many cancers, high blood pressure, depression, low bone density (osteopenia, osteoporosis), multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia
the vitamin that is as least as important as calcium (and magnesium by the way - I’ll write about this another day…) for osteoporosis (can’t absorb calcium without it…)
the vitamin that I find deficient in more than 50% of my patients!!!
Have you guessed it? It’s vitamin D - and it’s so important to consider
As we all know, Melbourne is not super sunny - think 4 seasons in a day and endless jokes from Sydneysiders…. Furthermore, many of us work or study indoors anyway so we don’t get enough sun exposure to make sufficient vitamin D for us to be healthy. We also have an ozone hole that means that we may burn more quickly and so we need skin protection from clothing or sunscreen. This combination of factors can lead to vitamin D deficiency and therefore potential health concerns.
Vitamin D can be checked with a blood test, though this often needs to be paid for privately. If deficient, some ways that you can increase your levels by are:
increasing sun exposure, but never ever to a point where you burn (or even start to go pink…)
eating food sources like - cod liver oil - 1 Tbsp contains 1350 IU (international units) vitamin D
- 50gm sardines contains 250 IU
- 1 whole egg contains 20 IU
taking 2000-4000IU Vitamin D3 (the active form) as a supplement - the amount depending on your blood level and with monitoring to check that it is sufficient but not too much. I find that the standard 1000 IU dose does not increase blood levels in most people that I see
Another thing to consider is that some people don’t make enough vitamin D due to their genetics, even if they get sun exposure. There are multiple steps from sunlight to make vitamin D including enzymes in the skin, liver and kidney, all of which may possibly not function properly due to genetic variation. Also note that darker skin tones take a longer time to make vitamin D from the sun, due to the protective effect of melanin.
It seems at first that vitamin D is a simple topic, whereas it is actually complex and really important. I’ve seen many people that have osteoporosis, not know their vitamin D level (and so possibly not absorbing that extra calcium that they’re taking) and I’ve also seen a great reduction in fibromyalgia symptoms and also reversal of depression through treating vitamin D deficiency.
I hope that this post may improve knowledge about vitamin D. I’m also interested to know if you have had any symptoms improve through treating vitamin D deficiency. I certainly have - and that was when I was living in sunny Singapore!
Be well -
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