Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vitamin D

Recently, I touted the wonders of real salad dressing (no additives, no low-fat crap, just the real deal). Probably a number of you were wondering how I could dare suggest you consciously eat something that contained olive oil AND full-fat mayonnaise. The nerve!

Well, today I'm going to talk about something that won't up your calorie intake but that's really important to your health: vitamin D. (Did I just hear a sigh of relief from the weight-loss blogosphere?)

While surfing some of my favourite sites, I came across a New York Times article that's a must-read. The title, "Phys Ed: Can Vitamin D Improve Your Athletic Performance?", unfortunately does not convey the importance of this vitamin for everyone, not just athletes.

First of all, it's important to realize that many of us suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. It's the sunshine vitamin, so those of us living in temperate climates that have four real seasons, are more likely to suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, especially in the winter. But even if you live in Florida, southern California or Australia, you too may be at risk since we tend to stay inside when the sun is blazing down, either due to discomfort or fear of skin cancer (climate change, anyone?).

Vitamin D is essential for bone health. We always think of upping our calcium intake if we've been diagnosed with osteopenia or worse yet, osteoporosis, but Vitamin D is equally important. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get a sufficient amount out of food alone.

I was diagnosed with osteopenia a few years ago and started taking calcium supplements, but only found out a few months ago that I was lacking in Vitamin D. My doctor prescribed 1,000 IU per day but my acupuncturist suggested considerably more. After doing a bit of research on the safety of large doses of Vitamin D, I decided that I could go for 4,000 IU. My most recent blood test indicates that I now am at a normal level. I'm really looking forward to my next bone scan in January. I'm hoping for good news.

Update: Please read this article, that gives much more valuable information on vitamin D. Thank you, Jacqueline!


  1. I'm not a big fan of supplements, but I think Vitamin D is vital, especially if you live far north or far south. I get plenty of sun, but was feeling a bit low recently and vitamin D has definitely helped me.

  2. My endocrinologist doesn't recommend taking supplemental vitamins but he makes an exception for Vitamin D and has me taking 2000 IU daily.

  3. We even give our kids vitamin D and I swear they get sick less often.

  4. Re: getting sick less often. This spring, my husband--who never gets sick--got so sick he had to take a day off work. He never takes a day off work. The two boys caught the same bug. I was fine. Vitamin D daily?? Who knows.

  5. Supposedly taffy is just full of Vitamin D (actually, I might have made that up).

  6. Glad to have your blog! I am trying to be proactive with vitamin D this year after having a horrible bout of (undiagnosed) vitamin D deficiency last winter. I'm in New England and I'm still getting sun when I can now and taking Cod Liver Oil. I feel better now, but hopefully this will carry over. Here's a good article I found about vitamin D and women's health (though most would apply to men too): Is vitamin D deficiency casting a cloud over your health? I look forward to reading your other posts!

  7. Aside from Vitamin C, other vitamins that can help clear and smooth the skin are vitamin A, B complex, E and zinc. It will not only promote healthy skin but as well as boosting the immune system.

  8. I am a Family Physician and I'll have to admit that supplementing all of my 50-plus year-old has cut into my skin-cancer treatment income...

    Ken D Berry MD