Vitamin D-Take More!

February 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm Leave a comment

On the Huffington Post website, Dr. Andrew Weil writes an article suggesting that we need to up our intake of vitamin D…majorly.

The recommendation that the government has set for adults is around 400 Iu for men and women up to age 50, and increasing to 400 Iu after 50. However, many experts, like Dr. Weil,  have been vocal in their disagreement of these low numbers, suggesting (and even imploring us!) that we take more.

You may know that vitamin D has been our “darling” for the past year or so. Google vitamin D and you’ll find a plethora (God, I love that word) of information on this vitamin. The basics: It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, and should be taken with foods containing fat to be best absorbed. Besides taking in D through foods such as fish, eggs, and fortified milk (which isn’t enough), we have the amazing ability to produce D via sunlight. Pretty cool, eh? Yes, only 10-15 minutes per day will do, but that only does the trick if you’re outside around noon, naked, with no sunscreen. AND if you live in warm climates. I live in NYC, stuck inside behind a desk, and as much as I’d love to prance around nekkid (and hey, this IS New York after all) I just don’t see that happening.

So, I take vitamin D supplements, just like Dr. Weil suggests. And yes, I do take 2000 Iu. Especially since it’s winter, and because women tend to be more deficient in vitamin D than men. Actually, I take more than that, since I take a 2000 Iu vitamin D3 supplement AND a multivitamin, which has some D in it.

And why do our bodies need vitamin D? Why all the hype?  The major function of D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.  It aids in the absorption of calcium, helping us to build strong bones. More recent research suggests that D does SO much more by providing protection against hypertension (high blood pressure), osteoperosis, cancer, and several autoimmune diseases.

According to Dr. Weil:

We have known for many years that we need vitamin D to facilitate calcium absorption and promote bone mineralization. But newer research has shown that we also need it for protection against a number of serious diseases. In recent years, scientists have discovered that it may help to prevent several cancers, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, psoriasis, diabetes, psychosis, and respiratory infections including colds and flu.

So, there you have it folks. The lowdown on Sweet D (anyone catch the reference?). Make sure when you are at the Dr you check your D levels…my physician does this automatically now. But please make sure you’re supplementing yourself with vitamin D!

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Entry filed under: nutrition. Tags: , , .

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