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Oct 09

Vitamin D – And I Thought I Knew It All

Upon my return to the USA, I was flabbergasted (in a good way) by something called “Meet-ups.” Two years go by and a whole new social community has developed with these interest group gatherings. Happily I am in numerous Meet-up groups catered to Entrepreneurs, to a Walking group (yes!!!), Paleo’ers and more. So as you can tell, I jumped on Meetup.com joined some Meet-ups that suit my interest and bang, I started attending some meetings.

Today’s post addresses a Paleo Meet-up held in Columbus, Ohio, where Dr Oliver hosted a lecture on vitamin D. After working as a dietitian on the Got Milk campaign, a few years back, I thought I was well-versed in vitamin D research. However, Dr Oliver showed me otherwise. Some information I noted includes the following:

  • It is estimate that up to 90% of people in the Midwest could have insufficient levels vitamin D
  • Everyone should consider testing to see where their levels are – you can go to your GP or order one online at http://www.grassrootshealth.net and http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/.
  • The amount of Vitamin D to supplement is unique to each person and the amount of vitamin D needed to increase one’s level varies. Personally, I take about 3,000-5,000IU of D3 (AnabolicLabs) a day. My last lab showed my levels at  54 nmol/L.
  • The best source of vitamin D is the sun. Besides fatty fish, free range eggs, cod liver oil there are few foods to offer substantial levels.  Ideally spending 15 minutes in the sun at peak times can offer 50,000 IU of vitamin D, according to Dr Oliver. So the question begs to ask, “What are you doing on your lunch break?”
  • When supplementing you want to consider D3 (as well as K2). Indeed a lot of pharmaceutical companies sell D2, yet, D3 is relatively cheap and a lot of the research on vitamin D supplementation has been done on D3.
  • If a woman is breastfeeding or lactating her vitamin D needs will increase to 7,000 IU a day. This is above the RDA, yet, in my opinion as a RD and Dr Oliver agreeing, this 7,000 IU is optimal and perhaps not enough.
  • The RDA for children increased a few years ago and it is now 400 IU, however, there are studies suggesting the needs are much higher. For toddlers the RDA is 600 IU, however, a suggested amount from this meeting would be 1,000-2,000 IU.
  • Overall vitamin D absorption varies – regardless if it is from the sun or a supplement. People with darker skin need to spend more time in the sun to get equal amounts of vitamin D as someone with fairer skin.
  • If capable get your vitamin D levels checked during the winter months. If your levels are low, check again in 3 months to see if you are supplementing enough.
  • Vitamin D supplementing is a very easy thing to do – and people will reap the health benefits even without diet change. However, absorption is better when individuals remove grains from their diet, as seen in Dr Oliver’s patient population.
  • Vitamin D is crucial for bone health – calcium supplementing is not necessary and can even be harmful. The USA is the country with the highest osteoporosis and the highest to supplement with calcium. Please discard calcium chews and the likes if you have them in your cabinet.
  • There are populations who are contraindicated to supplement with vitamin D and this includes individuals who have hyperparathyroidism, hypercalcaemia, granular disease in the lungs, fungal infections in the lungs, cancer/lymphoma and people who have a feeling of being unwell when they are in the sun.
  • Adequate amounts of vitamin D can help those who are experiencing joint pain. Often patients will see a doctor for back pain, etc, and vitamin D may be the solution, not steroids.

As a dietitian, I surely always recommend food first for health, however, there are some key supplements I advise most people to consider taking. Vitamin D is one of them, as is magnesium, a concentrated fish oil, and probiotics, as long as they are no medical or pharmaceutical contraindications to taking these. These recommended supplements help reduce chronic inflammation.

If you want more advice or information on finding high quality supplements as well as dietary advice, please feel free to contact me at Kelly@PaleoInfused.com.

Also, come November 20th (Tuesday) I will be hosting the Paleo Living Columbus gathering. Hopefully you can make it if you are in the area. More information here.

Additional Supporting Vitamin D Research:

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