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Are You Really Getting Enough Vitamin D?

March 14, 20242 min read

Did you know that Vitamin D deficiency is very common (like almost half of Americans)? Most people simply don’t spend enough time outdoors anymore, and it’s also not superabundant in many foods either, although many are fortified. A recent study in Spain found that out of 200 Covid-19 patients, 80% of them were deficient in Vitamin D. Yikes.

What exactly is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for bone health and calcium absorption. There are two important forms: D2 (mainly found in plant sources and fortified foods) and D3 (only found in animal food sources).

What does Vitamin D do for me?

  • Enables our bodies to absorb and regulate calcium

  • Builds and maintains healthy bones and adequate bone density

  • Reduces risk of rickets in children and osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults

  • Helps reduce inflammation

  • Influences cell growth, neuromuscular function, and glucose metabolism

  • Promotes immune health

  • Improves cardiovascular health and lessens the risk of cardiovascular disease

What are some symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?

  • Bone pain

  • Pain and weakness in joints/muscles/connective tissue

  • Fatigue/weakness

  • Depression

  • Poor immunity/frequent colds

  • Chronic illnesses/cancer

 

Who is at greatest risk of Vitamin D deficiency?

  • Breastfed infants (sorry anti-formula moms, at least take your supplements)

  • The elderly

  • Those with very limited sun exposure

  • Those with dark complexions (more melanin actually limits the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D from sun exposure!)

  • The obese (greater amounts of subcutaneous fat tend to sequester or “hide away” Vitamin D that could otherwise be used from sunlight exposure)

  • Those who have issues absorbing and digesting fats, or limit dairy

 

How can I get more Vitamin D?

  • Get some sun.

  • Eat adequate Vitamin D in the diet.

  • Consider a supplement (general RDA for infants is 400 IU, children and adults ages 1-70 is 600 IU, and older adults 71+ is 800 IU) .

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

 

What are some food sources rich in Vitamin D?

  • Cod liver oil

  • Fatty fish (i.e. trout, salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring)

  • Mushrooms exposed to UV sunlight

  • Vitamin D fortified foods and milks

One should note that Vitamin D supplements can interact with certain drugs, such as:

  • Orlistat (Xenical® and alli®)

  • Statins (Lipitor®), Altoprev®, Mevacor®, FloLipid™, and Zocor®)

  • Steroids (Deltasone®, Rayos®, and Sterapred®)

  • Thiazide Diuretics (Hygroton®, Lozol®, and Microzide®)

Always talk to your doctor before taking supplements if you are on medication.

So, take some dietary inventory, check your vitamin bottle label, and get regular lab work done. If it looks like you may need more vitamin D and are experiencing some signs of a deficiency, it’s time to make some changes. This is not one to take lightly!

Keep shining!

Your trainer and coach,

Kandis

 

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Kandis Joubert

Kandis Joubert is a NASM-certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, specializing in corrective exercise and fitness nutrition.

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