It is very likely that you are not getting enough vitamin D. New research indicates that vitamin D has been grossly underestimated by the medical community. Calculations by researchers at UC San Diego and Creighton University have challenged the intake of vitamin D recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Institute of Medicine (IOM), stating that the doses specified by the IOM are only about one-tenth those needed to cut incidence of diseases related to vitamin D deficiency. Most American’s are not getting enough vitamin D.
In a letter published last week in the journal Nutrients, the scientists confirmed a calculation error noted by other investigators. Dr. Cedric F. Garland, adjunct professor at UC San Diego’s Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, said his group was able to confirm findings published by Dr. Paul Veugelers from the University of Alberta School of Public Health that were reported last October in the same journal. “Both these studies suggest that the IOM underestimated the requirement substantially,” said Garland. “The error has broad implications for public health regarding disease prevention and achieving the stated goal of ensuring that the whole population has enough vitamin D to maintain bone health.”
The recommended intake of vitamin D specified by the IOM is 600 IU/day for individuals under the age of 70. “This intake is well below the upper level intake specified by IOM as safe for teens and adults, 10,000 IU/day,” Garland said.
Robert Heaney, M.D., of Creighton University wrote: “We call for the NAS-IOM and all public health authorities concerned with transmitting accurate nutritional information to the public to designate, as the RDA, a value of approximately 7,000 IU/day from all sources.”
Why You Need Vitamin D
You know vitamin D is essential for bone health. But it has many other benefits, such as preventing colds and fighting depression. New research also indicates that vitamin D has been shown to improve cognitive function and behavior in certain brain disorders. In fact, research shows that vitamin D regulates the conversion of the essential amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, therefore this gross miscalculation of vitamin D puts the public’s mental and physical health at risk.
Research has repeatedly shown that Vitamin D acts to help with basic brain functions, and can even help the brain stay sharp as we age. Vitamin d is an antioxidant, and like other vitamins that are also antioxidants it helps the body fight free radical damage, which is why it’s linked to the prevention and treatment of many different diseases and conditions. It also helps the body to absorb calcium to help your bones stay strong, grow, and prevents tooth decay.
Are You Vitamin D Deficient?
You may not be aware that you or a loved one has a vitamin D deficiency. The symptoms are sometimes vague and can include fatigue and general aches and pains. Some people may not have any symptoms at all. If you are running low on Vitamin D you might not even know it until it’s too late, especially if you’re been for several years. You might view it as feeling “tired” or “lazy” or just your normal state. Vitamin D deficiency can be reversed, in fact very easily for some, with just a few simple changes.
Signs that may present themselves before conditions become drastic are a feeling of fatigue in your muscles or your brain, psoriasis, or diabetes. If you notice that you get sad or depressed easily, or that you’re just not feeling as energetic as you could be, you might be low on your Vitamin D. Likewise, you can assume that if you don’t get much sun on a day to day basis, and have been avoiding it for years, you are likely low, since it is not necessarily easy to make up the loss by eating food.
The most common consequences of vitamin D deficiency are: rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Autoimmune disorders, skeletal diseases, metabolic disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, infections, and cognitive disorders, including depression are also prevalent.
How to Get More Vitamin D
- You can test your vitamin D levels by contacting your practitioner or doctor. This will help to identify if you are deficient or not.
- Supplementation is effective, the most effective for many is liposomal vitamin D.
- Foods rich in vitamin D can help your body absorb it efficiently. The more you are getting through foods and sunlight the better.
- Get enough sunlight. Get out of your house for 20 minutes a day minimum.
Five Foods Rich in Vitamin D
- Cod Liver Oil. Cod liver oil comes from the liver of the cod fish. You can find it in oil form or in capsule form. Taking this supplement it is one of the easiest ways to get more vitamin D. Serving Size (1 tsp), 450 IU of Vitamin D (75% DV), 41 calories
- Portobello Mushrooms. If you’re looking for a more vegetarian-friendly option, Portobello mushrooms are high in several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D. Serving Size (1 cup diced), 384 IU of Vitamin D (64% DV), 22 calories.
- Yogurt. Many yogurts are filled with healthy vitamin D levels. Read the nutrition labels on your favorite brands to see whether or not you’re getting enough vitamin D in your yogurt (the less sugar the better too). Serving Size (1 cup), 115 IU of Vitamin D (19% DV), 208 calories.
- Canned Salmon. Canned or fresh salmon is one of the most vitamin D rich foods. A 100-gram serving of canned salmon equates to 91% of the recommended amount of Vitamin D the average person needs each day, along with several other nutrients that contribute to your health in a variety of ways. Serving Size (100 grams), 547 IU of Vitamin D (91% DV), 136 calories.
- Whole Milk. Not only is milk calcium rich, many brands have been fortified with vitamin D. Serving Size (1 cup), 124 IU of Vitamin D (21% DV), 160 calories.
By Emily Roberts MA, LPC, Staff Therapist
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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