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Are you at risk because of low levels of Vitamin D?

By Donna Westfall – November 29, 2018 – At this morning’s Daily Town Hall Meeting (meets from 6 – 7 am at Fisherman’s Restaurant, facilitated by Sup. 5th District, Bob Berkowitz who is in San Diego with all the other supervisors this week), someone brought up the necessity of taking Vitamin D3 supplements especially at older ages since, he said, after 70 years old, the body doesn’t absorb sunlight and convert it into Vitamin D per a study conducted in the Netherlands.

Interesting, and if true, should we be concerned in Crescent City about the lack of Vit D? What’s the downside of not enough Vit D in the body?

The main problem with not having enough Vit D in your system is osteoporosis – this is thinning of the bones. But there are further advantages to having adequate amounts of Vit D because it:

  • Carries messages through the nervous system
  • Fights infection
  • Helps our muscles move
  • Regulates cell growth

Don’t we get enough sunlight in our area? Not necessarily.  With winter comes rain and fog and cloudy weather. Sunlight has to penetrate the skin. That will hardly happen nowadays when wearing two or three or four layers of clothing.

How about getting enough Vit D from our diet?   Foods such as the following list help, but then how much do you need to consume? Children need around 400 International Units  per day (IU). IU is the standard for measuring fat-soluble vitamins, which include vitamins A, D, E and K. Adults need two to three times as much as children and it’s not uncommon to have adults consume tablets getting 1,000 – 2,000 IU of D 3 per day. Caution though.  Do not take more than 4,000 IU’s per day.

  • Fatty fish, like tuna or sardines, (2 1/2 ounces for 400 IU), mackerel, and salmon.
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juicesoy milk, and cereals – milk (2 cups of milk to get 400 IU)
  • Beef liver – 6 ounces of cooked beef liver provides only 82 IU of Vit D
  • Cheese – American Cheese, which isn’t even a real cheese, has amongst the highest Vit D at 259 IU for 3.5 ounces.
  • Egg yolks (one egg yolk has 50 IU of Vit D)

It’s no wonder then that our diets can’t put a dent in getting adequate amounts of Vit D.

According to Mercy Medical Center’s article from July, 2018, over 42% of the American population are Vit D deficient.

Another interesting fact:  Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin. Vitamins are essential nutrients that the human body is incapable of producing. So, they have to be provided through the diet.  Vit D is produced when our skin absorbs ultraviolet rays from the sun. Then it’s converted to a prehormone, then an active hormone via the kidney.

If you’re wondering whether or not you have enough Vit D, you can get a blood test to get your answers.

 

 

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