As the Sun Sets…Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D Deficiency
I often joke with patients that we never checked Vitamin D levels until Dr. Oz brought it to the forefront. Thankfully he did and we are identifying more and more individuals with vitamin d deficiency and treating appropriately.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 32 percent of children and adults throughout the US are vitamin D deficient. Estimates of over 95 percent of elderly are deficient.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
- Bone pain
- Muscle pain
- Memory issues
- Cardiovascular Disease
Vitamin D AKA the Sunshine Vitamin
How much sun is enough? You need your skin exposed without sunscreen or protective clothing interfering to be able to convert/produce Vitamin D. There is an interesting calculator here to shed some “light” on it: Sun Exposure Calculator. Keep in mind there really are so many factors(skin color, time of year, cloud cover, time of day, etc.) and to depend on the sun for your vitamin D is not ideal.
Vitamin D in our Diets
- Egg yolks
- Fortified dairy
- Fortified grains
Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency
- Diets limited in the above food sources
- Limited sun exposure due to occupation, climate, or darker pigmented skin
- GI issues that impact absorption
Vitamin D Supplementation
First and foremost check your levels before supplementing above the daily recommended allowances. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and too much can lead to toxicity issues. Basic guideline for baseline supplementation is 800-1000 International Units daily. Multi-vitamins often fall short of the baseline supplementation. Verify how much you are truly getting. If you are found to be deficient supplementation would be much higher.
Ann Riggs, DO