I recently had bloodwork done and I was shocked to see that my Vitamin D levels were quite low. From September to June I take 2000IU of the sunshine vitamin a day. The recommended daily dose is 1000IU.
Your body makes Vitamin D. Sun exposure, supplementation and some of the foods we eat (eg milk fortified with D, salmon, egg yolk, cheese) are the sources that our bodies use. Using sunscreen, favouring the shade, and long Canadian winters deplete us of this critical vitamin, and studies have shown that as a population, Canadians are dangerously low in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is very important for strong bones. Calcium and phosphorus are essential for developing the structure and strength of your bones, and you need vitamin D to absorb these minerals. Even if you eat foods that contain a lot of calcium and phosphorus, without enough vitamin D, you can’t absorb them into your body. Vitamin D is important for general good health, and researchers now are discovering that vitamin D may be important for many other reasons outside of good bone health. Some of the functions of the body that vitamin D helps with include:
- Immune system, which helps you to fight infection
- Muscle function
- Cardiovascular function, for a healthy heart and circulation
- Respiratory system –for healthy lungs and airways
- Brain development
- Anti-cancer effects
- Cellular communication
When you get blood work done, 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D levels have a reference range (what is considered “normal”) of 75-25o nmol/L. My result was 84 nmol/L, which is “normal” but on the low end. The optimal range is between 125 and 160 nmol/L, some say even up to 180. Vitamin D is toxic at too high a level, and over 200 nmol/l is risky.
A 2009 study proposes that “raising the minimum year around serum 25 Hydroxy D level to 100-150 nmol/L would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, 3/4 of deaths from these diseases in the US and Canada”. There are many other studies that support the increase of Vitamin D intake as being cancer protective.
I have upped my daily dose from 2000IU to 4000IU and will return in three months to have my levels checked again.
Do yourself a favour and start supplementing your diet with the sunshine vitamin. Look for D3 on the bottle. Even better, go see your doctor and request a vitamin D blood test to find out exactly where you stand. The test is $35, and worth every penny. I had to fight with my doc to get the blood work requested – he actually said “vitamin D is just marketing”…(I have recently moved on from his practice because of this interaction). Your doctor may give you a hard time, or they may not. Regardless, this is a test you pay for and there is no reason that you should have to argue for it. Stand up for your health, take an active role, and get the test!
I hope I have convinced you that you need to be more conscious of the Vitamin D in your life! Wishing you good health and a happy day!