Vitamin D Does What?

gotmilk2

When I was little my Mom told us we needed to drink our milk to grow big and strong.  And, over the years there have been catchy advertising campaigns asking if we, “Got Milk?” and reminding us that, “Milk, it does a body good.

But besides building strong teeth and bones with all of the calcium that I knew milk had, I never had a clue what other benefits came from getting the Vitamin D that dairy is a primary provider of.

  • Without adequate Vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium for building teeth and bones and keeping them strong
  • Scientists have linked low Vitamin D levels to certain cancers, heart disease and other chronic diseases
  • Obese men, women and children are 35% more likely to be lacking Vitamin D than normal weight people
  • A 2000 study in the American Journal of Obesity found that obesity makes Vitamin D deficiency worse because being obese limits the body’s ability to properly convert sunlight and dietary food sources into a useable resource
  • A 2015 Spanish study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism linked lower Vitamin D levels in those with Diabetes or considered pre-Diabetic, especially if they were obese
  • Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease where the body’s immune system attacks  itself, is closely tied to a deficiency of Vitamin D that comes from the patient’s inability to absorb it naturally from the sun combined with the used of corticosteroids which further deplete the body of Vitamin D
  • Expectant mothers who maintain high Vitamin D levels are less likely to deliver pre-term babies
  • Patients stricken with Multiple Sclerosis who maintained higher Vitamin D levels at 6, 12 and 24 months saw a slower progression of the disease
  • Women between the ages of 27 and 44 with the highest intake of Vitamin D (in addition to higher calcium) see the lowest incidence of debilitating PMS symptoms
  • Some scientists believe that there is a link between low levels of Vitamin D and the occurrence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Women who experience excessive hair loss often have an accompanying Vitamin D deficiency
  • Eczema symptoms worsen in the drier months of winter when there is less sun to get Vitamin D absorption and can be easier to live with if an oral supplement is taken
  • 80% of hip fracture patients are Vitamin D deficient
  • Children who took 1200 IU of Vitamin D each day for 4 months during the winter were 40% less likely to contract Influenza Type A
  • Nearly 1/3 of Americans are Vitamin D deficient

It is estimated that nearly 50% of adults worldwide suffer needlessly from Vitamin D deficiency.  The body can produce sufficient Vitamin D3 with sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per week.  Those with darker skin tones and those who wear a SPV of 30 or more get 95% less Vitamin D from the sun.  In order for the body to make the maximum use of the UVB rays necessary to produce Vitamin D in the body, there needs to be direct skin exposure.  Another way to increase the body’s Vitamin D stores is to consume a daily Vitamin D3 supplement or any of the foods high in Vitamin D like:

  • Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon: 1,360 IU
  • Herring, fresh, raw, 4 ounces: 1,056 IU
  • Swordfish, cooked, 4 ounces: 941 IU
  • Raw maitake mushrooms, 1 cup: 786 IU
  • Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 4 ounces: 596 IU
  • Sardines, canned, 4 ounces: 336 IU
  • Fortified skim milk, 1 cup: 120 IU
  • Tuna, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces: 68 IU
  • Egg, chicken, whole large: 44 IU
  • Vitamin D and Calcium Fortified Orange Juice

The ideal daily levels of Vitamin D are currently set at:

  • Infants 0-12 months – 400 IU (10 mcg)
  • Children 1-18 years – 600 IU (15 mcg)
  • Adults to age 70 – 600 IU (15 mcg)
  • Adults over 70 – 800 IU (20 mcg)
  • Pregnant or lactating women – 600 IU (15 mcg).

d3My doctor has me take 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily and also has me take 250 mg of Magnesium to help my body absorb the Vitamin D.  The limit recommended for vitamin D is 4000 IU per day. National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that vitamin D toxicity is unlikely at daily intakes below 10,000 IU/day.

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