As the Summer Sun fades into Fall and the not so distant Winter, I generally see a change in the level of my optimal Wellness. My scientist daughter is quick to explain that six hundred generations of my DNA lived in a very hot location with endless sun light. I am but only the second generation that does not live in such an arid/hot environment so the transition is a challenge that we need to supplement through other factors.
The most contributing factor is my Vitamin D level which during the Summer in my daily routine of swimming and sunning for at least 1-2 hours is at an all-time high level. Yet the seasons change and we are back swimming in doors.
Research has associated low blood levels of the vitamin with higher risks of everything from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer to mood disorders and dementia.
Like everything in our culture many people are overdoing it with Vitamin D supplements. Researchers looking at national survey data gathered between 1999 and 2014 found a 2.8% uptick in the number of people taking potentially unsafe amounts of vitamin D — that is, more than 4,000 international units (IU) per day. And during the same time period there was nearly an 18% increase in the number of people taking 1,000 IU or more of vitamin D daily, which is also beyond the dose of 600 to 800 IU recommended for most people.
Vitamin D, nicknamed the sunshine vitamin because your body produces it after sun exposure, has long been known to help build strong bones by increasing the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorous. But beginning in 2000, research into vitamin D’s role in other health conditions began to expand rapidly.
Yet that are many factors to consider when taking a Vitamin D Supplement
1, If you live in the northern regions of the United States you are at higher risk for a vitamin D deficiency because your skin may not be able to produce any vitamin D from sun exposure during the winter months. Yet surprisingly even fifteen minutes of sunlight provides a nice boost but in the Winter months the amount of exposed skin is minimal at best.
2, Your skin’s ability to produce vitamin D drops with age. If you’re over age 65, you generate only one-fourth as much vitamin D as you did in your 20s.
3, My research’s most startling discovery was that my daughter was correct that people like me with darker skin typically have lower levels of vitamin D than lighter-skinned individuals. African Americans have, on average, about half as much vitamin D in their blood compared with white Americans. So there is a strong genetic factor here that cannot be ignored
4, If you have a body mass index above 30, you may have low blood levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is stored in fat, so in people with obesity, less of the vitamin circulates in the blood, where it’s available for use by the body.
5, Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. The U.S. government started a vitamin D milk fortification program in the 1930s to combat rickets, a bone-weakening disease caused by vitamin D deficiency, which was a major public health problem at the time. Breakfast cereals and some types of orange juice may also be fortified, but this varies by brand. So, the amount of vitamin D you get from food depends on the food you eat and how much milk you drink.
6, People with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, or cystic fibrosis, among others, may have trouble absorbing vitamin D, which can lead to deficiencies.
So if you’re taking a vitamin D supplement, you probably do not need more than 600 to 800 IU per day, which is adequate for most people. Some people may need a higher dose, however, including those with a bone health disorder and those with a condition that interferes with the absorption of vitamin D. Unless your doctor recommends it, avoid taking more than 4,000 IU per day, which is considered the safe upper limit.
The next question is which form of the supplement is better. While the liquid form which is far more expensive and is more rapidly absorbed. The pill form holds its own at half the expense of the other and is what I use all the time.
If possible, it’s better to get your vitamin D from food sources rather than supplements. Choose fortified dairy products, fatty fish, and sun-dried mushrooms, which are all high in vitamin D. A three once portion of Salmon contains 450 IU, Tuna Fish 230 IU, Sardines 175 IU and one egg is 50 IU. The FDA is making it easier for you to see how much you are getting, thanks to new nutrition labels that will list the Vitamin D content of foods.
What I find most interesting is how my body craves these foods constantly. If I could eat salmon, tuna fish ana sardines each day I would but you must also weight the concerns of mercury and other toxic metals. I also eat eggs every other day which always give me a strong surge of energy. Our bodies are a biochemical brew that require certain fuels to bring them to optimal Wellness.
So like everything moderation and vigilance are the watchful advice I can give on the use of Vitamin D supplements. I have been most pleased with the results that using them over the past several years.
As the Summer Sun fades ….time to adjust your Wellness Routine to give you the Glow which comes from deep inside.