This true conversation with me and one of my former Doctors might shed some light on why I am so passionate about Vitamin D…….
Doug (me): "I would like a Vitamin D test as part of this physical"
Doctor: ""Blue Cross does not pay for Vitamin D tests, so it will cost you $254"
Doug: "That's fine, I'll pay"
Doctor: "Why would you want to pay that much money for one blood test when your co-pay for this entire physical is only $15"
Doug: "Because doctors and scientists now agree that vitamin D deficiency is one of the most, if not the most important issue pertaining to cancer, diabetes, an many other diseases and ailments in the United States. It is doubly critical for me, since African Americans cannot readily get Vitamin D from the sun due to our skin color and the Northerly climates that we often live in. I personally think this is one of the links to African American men and high rates of Prostate Cancer………..hey wait a minute, you're the doctor, shouldn't you be telling me all this?
That nauseating experience may have been perhaps over 7 years ago, and it seems the extremely important impact of Vitamin D levels in the bloodstream may be more mainstream knowledge than 7 years back, as my good friend Harry Bentley, who has written one or two articles for my blog, told me that his doctor was "on his back" in 2013 about getting his vitamin D numbers up.
Unlike many of the other health issues that cannot seem to break through to the masses, such as B17/nitrilosides and cancer prevention, Vitamin D seems to be reaching its "break of dawn" and even doctors are getting in on the new way of thinking, and finally passing the info on to their patients.
Here are some of the import ways in which increased vitamin D levels play an important role in our overall health
Increased vitamin D levels correlated to decreased cancer risk of various forms of cancer (I consider this "almost" mainstream knowledge now in the medical and scientific arenas)
Testosterone Production in men (I'm convinced this is one of the pieces to the issue of African American men and prostate cancer)
Extensive studies have shown that one [of perhaps many] of the common threads to breast cancer is low Vitamin D levels
Issues with the health of infants have been [loosely] linked to low vitamin D levels in pregnant mothers
A host of issues health issues pertaining to Senior Citizens is linked to Vitamin D deficiency (I suppose that's why old people move to Florida, to get into the sun!!)
Increased Vitamin D decreases risk of diabetes
Vitamin D provides calcium balance in the body that prevents osteoporosis or arthritis as we get older.
Increases in vitamin D help in weight loss, especially as we get older
Vitamin D, decrease risks of Alzheimers
Increased Vitamin D levels helps prevents cavities
…..I could keep going on and on this is an "endless list", you're on the web, it's worth 5 minutes of your life to look them up
Lighter skinned people can get vitamin D from 30 minutes of sunlight exposure every day, but even with lighter skin, that is not very realistic in northern climates in the USA where the sun rarely comes out in winter. So in general most Americans, dark or light skinned probably need some form of vitamin D supplementation or via food.
Therein lies another problem. Many vegans and vegetarians will find it harder so supplement, since most sources of Vitamin D that can raise levels in the body are from animal protein based sources, namely Salmon, Salmon Oil Pills, Cod Liver Oil, Eggs, and others to lesser degree. I'll link to a good plant based Vitamin D3 supplement I use in one second.
Taking Vitamin D supplements even exacerbates the issue be cause most supplements on the market are either synthetic and thus not natural, and others are of the Vitamin D2 variety which is probably not the best choice
In a nutshell, vitamin D is found in either the D2 (ergocalciferol) form or D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 is made from yeast or other plants. Vitamin D2 is generally used to fortify milk and other food products, but Vitamin D2 may not be the ideal form of vitamin D for humans. Many experts believe that D2 is not well absorbed or utilized because it is from plants and not the type of vitamin D our bodies are used to dealing with.
Vitamin D3 is the exact form of vitamin D found in the body, and it is the type the sun induces our bodies to make. D3 is therefore better absorbed and is the preferred form for supplementation. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you should know that D3 is often [but not necessarily] derived from animals.
What are optimum Vitamin D levels? When you take a Vitamin D test, the result is a simple number, in general the way it works is below 20 (danger zone, with low teens and single digits VERY dangerously low), 21-30 (decent, but would hurt to be a little higher), 31-45 (good), 45-50 (optimum), above 50 doing very good (although it seems some sources say optimum is much higher, as in the 60's).
My score was 45.6 which was considered optimum by some standards, but exceptional for an African American in a northern climate who works indoors all day, when we are vulnerable to often scoring in the teens. I'll tell how I think I got that score in one second.
UPDATE 8/20/2014 — As I learn more about Vitamin D, I learning that optimum level are being disputed and may vary from person to person. My latest Vitamin D test was 36, with no supplements, just salmon and sunlight, and I am very comfortable with that from wht I now understand. One researcher put a very good paper which says the lowest risk of disease is from Vitamin D levels of 20-35, read more here.
The other part to Vitamin D levels is the daily intake. The "old school" Food Pyramid style recommendations are now considered grossly inadequate, since in past decades, the presumed amount of Vitamin D needed per day was less than 1,000 IU per day. Recent trends suggest that 10,000 IU and up is the amount of Vitamin D we should be bringing in per day.
As mentioned before, these suggestions will vary wildly as the medical and science industries are basically "fighting"over what the optimum daily intake should be, considering some people can get a few thousand IU from the sun, some can't, and so on.
My score of 46.5 on my, money well spent, $254 Vitamin D test, was from eating a serving of Alaskan Wild Caught Salmon every day, which I still do, although I miss a few days a month. A serving of Wild Caught Salmon, along with eggs, and a few other Vitamin D sources that I consume, calculate to about 1000 IU of Vitamin D a day.
However, I have recently, thanks to my friend Harry's recent extensive research on the subject, decided to bump my supplementation to get in 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day, and I might bump it up to 15,000 or more in a year or so. I anticipate it will be on of the top two or three health decisions I will ever make.
Like I said before you have to do your homework with vitamin D3 supplements, but I think a Great Vitamin D3 supplement that I am now using to get my 10,000 IQ per day is Garden of Life Vitamin Code Vitamin D3, and all vegetarian, plant based source of Vitamin D3. I trust Garden of Life in that I have used their produce before, a really good company.
….as a quick note, I am in the minority it seems that Vitamin D supplements and pills can cause me some sleep issues at night. However, this is not necessarily not a Vitamin D issue, at it happens with other herbs I take like Tongkat, and also with Magnesiom Supplemtnts. My good friend says he loves Garden of Life Vitamin D, so it must be a "body type" issue.
It seems like Wild Caught Salmon is a better choice for me, in that when I was eating Salmon every day, my score was 46.5. However with Vitamin D supplements, my score was 41 (up from 31 when I got on the supplements). I'm back on salmon, will get my Vitamin D tested again soon. But those supplemts aren't my thing, they left me "out of sorts". I still recommend them if they work with your body type.
A non-vegan alternative is a company that makes a Salmon Oil based vitamin D supplement. The company, Vital Choice Seafoods, is an EXTREMELY high quality and socially consciousness company (to the point where they don't even line their canned fish with BPA), their salmon is very low in mercury, and that Vitamin D link is here.
….as a quick note, it is IMPERATIVE that you consume sufficient amounts of magnesium. Vitamin D will deplete the body if magngnesion along with Vitamin D. It gets more detailed, but do a little homework. These vitamins are not isolated, they work in conjunction with each other, we just need go stay balanced with them. Read more on Magnesium and Vitamin D at this link.
A good magnesium supplemt I have used Jigsaw Magnesium w/SRT. It's alleviates the problems of magnesium supplements causing loose stools. But as I mention above some of those supplements don't "feel right" for my body.
For me, I shifted to magnesuim rich foods and after my recent Vitamin D and Magnesium blood test, my magnesium levels were the same as before vitamin D supplementation (at a magnesium level of 2.2), all while supplementing with 10,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Magnesium rich foods I consumed everyday include dates, basil, figs, pumpkin seeds, coconut water, and several others. So, I think I won't need magnesium supplements in the future.
My boy Harry was bugging me so passionately about Vitamin D, and although I have known for several years now, my recent research has got me spewing the same passion, as those of us who want to spread the word on health and wellness really try to connect with people in every way possible, so we can to get the word out on these critically important nutrients.
So, although I can't scream at the top of my lungs or whatever in this blogpost, but I can say that if there is one wellness issue that you might want to take as seriously as anything in your life, it is without a doubt increasing your Vitamin D3 intake.
…..I hope I been able to "shed some light" on this VERY important subject.
You guys who follow my blog know how I "sling it" by now. I'm always adding music to my post, for now reason except these songs are part of the "Soundtrack of My Life", and they may loosely fit the theme of the article.
This track, "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" by "old school" Jazzy-Soul artist Roy Aires sets a good vibe for these photos of people loving that sunshine. Take a listen if you want, if not thanks for stopping by 🙂