Thursday, June 9, 2011

*Are You Getting Your D's?

Vitamin D that is.

For those of us living far from the equator (ahem, that's you Ohio folks), you are most likely are Vitamin D deficient.  Don't panic, this can be easily corrected.

There are two ways go about this: the ideal way and the second best way.

Ideal Way
During Spring and Summer you want to get 10-15 minutes of unfiltered sun exposure 3 - 4 times per week.  That means no sunscreen and you want as much as your skin exposed as possible (keep it clean, you have neighbors).

There are a lot of variables of course: skin color, time of day, time of year, clouds, pollution...but the bottom line is this amount of time should provide you roughly 10,000 IU of Vitamin D, which is just right.

The sun is your friend despite what has been drilled into our heads since birth about cancer, wrinkles and age spots.  That being said, once you get your 15 minutes, lather up with sunscreen (too much of a good thing, can turn bad)!

Second Best
When the sun disappears, deficiency can occur.  Switch to a vegan sourced, Vitamin D3 supplement in the Fall and Winter months and opt for 4,000 - 10,000 IU per day depending on your personal needs.

I know this is much higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 600 IU per day, which was recently increased from 400 IU that was established in the 1920's, but this amount is still inadequate.

Why am I harping about Vitamin D?  Because it's very, very important!

The Benefits
  • Regulates insulin activity and balances blood sugar levels
  • Regulates the immune system
  • Strong bones & muscle
  • Decreased depression
  • Powerful anti-inflammatory agent
  • Aids in absorption of calcium and phosphorus
  • Reduces frequency and severity of asthma
  • May protects body from low level radiation
  • May aid in healthy weight maintenance

Disease Prevention
Getting adequate doses of Vitamin D can help prevent the following:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cancer (bladder, breast, prostate, colon, rectal, and ovarian cancer)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Lupus
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Rickets (the 400 IU RDA was based on this disease back in the 1920's!)

If you already suffer from one or more of these, ask your doctor to help you restore your vitamin D to an optimum level, you should see an improvement in symptoms.

Photo Courtesy:
It's wouldn't be a bad idea to get your Vitamin D level checked once a year to make sure you are on track.  This requires a blood test (sorry).  Ask for the 25(OH)D blood test, you don't want the 1,25(OH)2D test, so be specific and insistent (some doctors don't know the difference).

Medical News Today
The Savvy Vegetarian
Vitamin D3 - Cholecalciferol

Catch those rays!
The Hoff

*Keep in mind that I am not a doctor, scientist or professional researcher (I do have amateur status) and by no means should you take what I say as gospel, let alone as medical advice.


  1. Didn't know a person had to wait on the sunblock; I thought "D" would get through it. :O "D" is also essential for fertility; one of the primary reasons we evolved to have lighter skin the further away from the equator we migrated.

    What is the difference between the two tests you mention above?

  2. Beebee, this site:

    can explain the two tests better than I ever could.