Vitamin D, Why Is It So Important? How Do I Know If It is Low? What Are My Risks If I Am Deficient In Vitamin D?

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photo by Nancy Mcclintock
photo by Nancy Mcclintock | Source
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Children benefit from Vitamin D also but use sunscreen
Children benefit from Vitamin D also but use sunscreen | Source

Vitamin D Deficiency

"Vitamin D3 has been shown to reduce the incidence of cancer, many auto-immune diseases, and, inflammatory and infectious processes. Vitamin D3 is also protective of bone and muscle." By Milton Hare Author "Sunlight-VitaminD"


Vitamin D deficiency has been quite the topic in the news lately. I never thought much about the vitamin which is actually a hormone until my rheumatologist told me she had tested me and I was too low in the hormone. I was immediately started on high dose supplements and close monitoring.

It has been speculated that lack of sufficient vitamin D may actually cause the beginning of MS, (Multiple Sclerosis). Studies are now being done. Women in particular have a high risk of hip fracture from too little of the hormone. So how does the sun make vitamin D in our bodies? We now know that UVA and UVB light converts 7-dehydrocholesterol to vitamin D.

One of the reasons we may be suffering from too little vitamin D is the change in our lifestyles. We have become a society of insiders using computers, working long hours, watching too much tv. Children play video games and participate in many indoor after school activities. Gone are the days of long afternoons riding bikes and skating on our driveways. We are not absorbing the sunshine vitamin we need. Also because of fear of the loss in the ozone layers we are wearing more sunscreen and rightfully so to prevent skin damage and even skin cancers which can also be deadly especially in the case of malignant melanoma. Somehow we need to get the right doses either through more early morning sun exposure or supplements. We have to be careful though because of the risk of toxicity. In my case my doctor is monitoring my dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for help on determining your correct dose.

The problem with taking too much vitamin D is the possibility of liver damage and kidney stones. Vitamin D is stored in your fat cells so it is not removed or flushed through your system as readily as non-fat soluble supplements like the B vitamins. The worst case scenario is taking too much at toxic levels and your blood levels become toxic at serum 25(OH)D

We can get most of our vitamin D needs through the sun but with the the excessive use of sunscreen and our busy lifestyles it is difficult to get out and get enough. The amount of D your body can produce depends on how far you live from the equator. It actually takes very little exposure to get enough . If a person lives at or below the level of Columbia SC and spends just 7 to 10 minutes outdoors twice a week they will produce enough to stay healthy.

Dark skinned individuals have a more difficult time storing the supplement.Some people have tried artificial UV rays and this can actually work but you must be cautious of skin cancer. When exposing yourself to the sun you don't need to burn to get the vitamin. Just a little pink hue is plenty.

Supplements are therefore the next best option. D3 is the supplement recommended by doctors. It is usually recommend in 400 IU dosages but we actually need 1000 IU a day to be healthy We absorb some D through our food especially milk and fish, meat and eggs and dried shiitake mushrooms but you you have to drink 30 glasses of milk to get the correct dosage.

Health Risks from Excessive Vitamin D

Vitamin D toxicity can cause symptoms such as weight loss,constipation, polyuria, and heart arrhythmia's. More seriously, it can also raise blood levels of calcium which leads to vascular and tissue calcification, with subsequent damage to the heart, blood vessels, and kidney failure.

Too much Vitamin D can raise calcium levels leading to kidney stones especially in those more susceptible . Taking the the vitamins together allows one to lead less of each.

  • Dermatologists are concerned people will take the D deficiency so seriously that they needlessly expose themselves to too much sun and then risk developing melanoma. one of the deadliest forms of cancer. After you have been outdoors for the allotted time you need to put on a sunscreen of at least 15 or more. An individual can make approximately 20,000 IU of D in 7 to 10 minutes depending on smog, cloud cover, time of day and year and latitude. Persons living at 37 degree latitude cannot produce enough D in the sun in the winter.Tanning beds are questionable because of the inability to control the amount of good UV rays.

    Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency♣

  • It is recommended that breastfed infants be supplemented with 400 IU a day until they are weaned.

Vitamin D toxicity is rare except in those on thiazide-like diuretics and people with liver and/or kidney disease. The main cause of toxicity is from the build up of too much calcium in the blood called hypercalcemia.

  • Some of the disease suspected of being caused by Vitamin D deficiency include♣


    It is important when taking supplements to speak with your doctor and pharmacist about potential drug interaction.

    When exposing yourself to the sun it is also a good idea to take antioxidants to prevent sun damage and never get a sunburn.

    People with the most susceptibility to deficiency are those with chronic conditions, obesity gastric bypass surgery, lactose intolerance, elderly and those living in the northern hemisphere.

  • Foods High in Vitamin D♥
  • Fatty fish such as salmon ,mackerel, sardines and tuna
  • egg yolks and cheese ( especially swiss cheese)
  • beef liver
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • fortified orange juice and breakfast cereal
  • yogurt
  • margarine
  • cod liver oil

What does vitamin D do? It makes enzymes and proteins important for health. It aids in production of strong immune function and builds strong bones and muscles. It also aides in production of insulin and has anti-cancer properties.

If you do find your levels are well below normal and have to take supplements be sure to follow your doctors instructions and have your blood levels tested. Remember more is not better .It can be fatal.

Correct Dosages of Vitamin D

The Institute of Medicine currently recommends that children and adults up to age 70 get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. The recommendation for adults over age 70 is 800 IU daily. ♦

Reference:

♣Dr Frank Lipman Huffington Post

♥National Institute of Health and USDA

♦The Mayo Clinic


How much Vitamin D to take Daily

Vitamin D aids in cell turnover

Studies have shown that women low in Vitamin D are more likely to have decreased cell turnover at at a younger age. Once you body slow cell turnover the aging process increases. This is just one more reason not to allow yourself to find yourself with low Vitamin D levels

Symptoms of Vitamin D Defieciency

Vitamin D and Natural Sun Protection A Must Have

What Vitamin D does for us and sources of it

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Comments 24 comments

nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 20 months ago from Southeast USA Author

Thanks for writing. I just linked this one to yours. I read last night that we could take 5000 to 10000mg and one doctor wrote at 5000 you won't catch colds etc and 10,000 keeps you free of cancer. I think I will do more research. Wondering what your take on this is. Thanks again


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

I will read this one. Thank you for reading and commenting.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

So glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for your comments


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

Thank you so much for reading and your great comments


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

Yes it is an important vitamin. After 2 years my levels are finally approaching normal. Thanks for reading.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

So glad you were able to benefit from it. Thank you so much for reading.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

Thank you so much.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

Thank you so much


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

you are so right. my doctors have me on 20,000 IU every other week. That is even after my levels have finally returned to normal after 2 years of weekly therapy. Thanks for your comments


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

Thanks so glad you liked it.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

I am finally up to normal levels but my doctors want me on prescription strength every other week. We need the world to learn about this new health problem .Thanks for commenting


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

So glad you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for your kind words.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

Thank you so much . I am so gland you enjoyed this hub.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

You are so right. I had been on prescription dosages for 3 years and now my levels are finally norma but my doctor still would like to maintain me at the higher level every other week. This is so important to our preventative health. Thank you so much for you helpful comments/


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

I am so glad you found some useful information. Thank you for reading and commenting.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA Author

I am going to read your hub next. My vitamin D levels are finally back to normal but my rheumatologist still wants me on prescription strength ever other week. Thanks for commenting.


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia

Thank you so much for sharing this information with us it was a fascinating read that i learnt a lot from

Voting up!!


NMLady profile image

NMLady 5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

This is a great hub. I learned a great deal. Voted up and I am going to share it on my FB for my fam and friends. Thanksnancynurse!


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 5 years ago from Southeast USA Author

Thank you for your comment. I am on 20,000iu for a defeciency. You are so right.


mbwalz profile image

mbwalz 5 years ago from Maine

This is a great topic - thank you so much for covering something so important.

Vitamin D deficiency is found in almost everyone tested these days.

Also, I believe the optimal dosage is based on your individual health. The doses you refer to are probably great for someone who is already at the higher end the healty spectrum. However, if you have health concerns, are deficient or only barely in the "normal" range, than more is really recommended.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 5 years ago from Southeast USA Author

Thanks so much for all your kind comments


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Chocked full of useful information on nutrients and vitamins. I found a lot of new things here. Thanks for this explanation.


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 5 years ago from Southeast USA Author

Thanks I have lupus and am deficient and have to take a prescription dose one a week


BlissfulWriter profile image

BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

I certainly agree.

I take vitamin D every day in my multi-vitamin. But if your multi-vitamin does not have enough D in it, you can supplement it with an extra D pill. With the combination being around 1000 IU to 2000 IU is still considered safe dosage. I wrote about the importance of vitamin D previously: http://hubpages.com/t/22237a

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