Taking Supplements Is Not the Solution to Vitamin D Deficiency
Research continues to extol the many and varied virtues of vitamin D. This vital nutrient helps the body absorb calcium more efficiently, plays a key role in preventing diseases and medical conditions, including not only bone-thinning osteoporosis but also high blood pressure and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis… and helps control skin problems, including psoriasis. Studies suggest that vitamin D can also help prevent cancer, specifically prostate, ovarian, breast and colon cancer.
Unfortunately far too many people are vitamin D deficient primarily because they don’t spend enough time outside. Other factors that may lead to vitamin D deficiency include living in the northern latitudes, digestive difficulties and diseases, including IBS, and having stomach or intestine surgery. How do you know if you’re vitamin D deficient? According to Daily Health News contributing medical editor Andrew L. Rubman, ND, symptoms can include muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, depression and mood swings and sleep irregularities.
D IS FOR “DAILY SUNSHINE”
One of the best ways to get your daily dose of vitamin D is simply to spend time outdoors every day. Just about everyone gets what they need from being outside in the sun as little as 10 to 15 minutes twice a week, notes Dr. Rubman. This is why it is important, even in winter, not to hibernate indoors 24/7. Build regular sun exposure into your days by making a point to take a brisk walk around the block, or walk instead of driving for short errands. For short-term sun exposures, he advises skipping sunscreen to make sure you are effectively getting your daily dose. Also, be aware that on cloudy days you get less vitamin D from the sun.
DANGERS OF VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS
Given how common vitamin D deficiency has become and the fact that the list of its virtues proven by research grows longer and longer, it’s understandable that many people wonder if they ought to take supplements. Dr. Rubman generally recommends against doing so, warning that high doses are associated with serious side effects. These can include excessive thirst, unsteadiness and ringing in your ears (tinnitus). Vitamin D supplements are available over-the-counter… 2,000 IU is considered the upper intake allowed for adults, however, 200 IU to 400 IU is considered adequate for most adults, depending on age. He suggests being tested for vitamin D levels once every year and advises those who need more to get it from a daily multivitamin that contains vitamin D, as most do, or better yet, dietary sources. Foods high in vitamin D include oily fish such as salmon and fresh tuna, or cod liver oil, and egg yolks. Also, milk is enriched with vitamin D. But the best way is also the most enjoyable one — take your daily dose of vitamin D by getting outside and grabbing some rays.