February 7th, 2013
Hello and welcome to the next installment of our Health Corner.
Today I’m talking about Vitamin D.
Now we’ve all heard about the ol D and that we get a smidge of sunshine and we’re set. Right?
Every.Single.Patient I have ever ever ever seen has low Vitamin D. Every single one, even me. So chances are, you probably have low Vit D too.
It is surprising, especially for those of us living in the Sunshine State. But I have seen surfers and life guards with low Vitamin D. Also of note, very few foods contain vitamin D, so neither our diets nor our sunshine exposure seems to be enough.
So what’s the big deal about D anyway? Historically low Vit D was associated with Rickets in children.
Now for us adult women, low vitamin D is associated with an increase in osteoporosis. Vitamin D stores decline with age, especially in the winter. Studies have shown that vitamin D and calcium supplementation can reduce the risk of falls and fractures, especially in women and the elderly.
Vitamin D is also important for breastfeeding infants because the vitamin D content of human milk is low. Even formula fed infants still need to be supplemented because although formula is supplemented with vitamin D, it is usually still too low.
And we all know the risk of osteoporosis and fracture risk after menopause? Basically, after menopause the risk of decreased bone density and fractures increases SIGNIFICANTLY. However, preventative measures for osteoporosis are best laid long before menopause. Vitamin D helps combat osteoporosis and promote bone health.
Which is where our dear D comes in. There is a blood test to check the levels (ask your health care provider to include it on your next lab slip) and the levels need to be between 30-100. The lowest I’ve ever seen was 4! Mine is 20… so clearly I’ve got some work to do.
The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is 800-4000IU/day. Most multivitamins have vitamin D in them (usually 1000IU) so if you’re still taking your multivitamin, then you should be set!
So go get D-ing! And BONUS points if you combine it with calcium (1500mg/day)!