D is for Dense

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, because it’s created in our skin in response to sunshine. What an amazing system – our bodies know how to make what they need with just one necessary addition! In my part of the world, though, I spend at least two thirds of the year with everything except my face and hands covered up, so that vital ingredient is missing. While we can store Vitamin D for periods of time, eight months is way over the limit. Essentially everyone in my latitude is deficient in this vitamin by the time we can peel off our parkas.

What difference does it make? Well, we need this vitamin to prevent practically any disease we don’t want, starting with cancers and cardiovascular disease. The Vitamin D Council site contains a wealth of well-documented information about Vitamin D.

And wouldn’t you know: Vitamin D deficiency is a factor in osteoporosis, because D is needed in order for calcium from the diet to be absorbed in the intestines. Without enough absorbed calcium, the body robs calcium from its best storage supply – the bones. Not enough calcium in the bones? Low density.

In recent years there’s been a lot of controversy over how much Vitamin D is enough. It seems the pharmaceutical companies recommend the lowest amount, and natural practitioners the highest. (Regular medical doctors rely on the drug companies for recommendations.) Everyone agrees, though, that most of us need way more than we’re getting.

So what’s a northerner to do through the long winter? Ideally, the ultimate approach would be to spend every second week at a tropical resort lapping up the rays, but my lifestyle can’t accommodate that. It’s not possible to get all the Vitamin D we need through diet, either; we’re left with supplements. The most absorbable form is D3, or cholecalciferol. We’re each biochemically unique, but through regular testing of my levels I’ve found that I need about 6000 IU per day of this through the winter, and about 3000 IU per day through the summer, just to keep me from deficiency. (That’s just me, so do your own research and don’t copy!) Be sure to always take Vitamin D with a bit of fat to help its absorption, as D is fat soluble.

Trying to build bone density? Keep on top of your Vitamin D.

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7 thoughts on “D is for Dense

  1. Good to know about vitamin D; I didn’t realize that it also helps fight other diseases (such as cancer). Keep on posting! 🙂

    • Mark, if your doctor will order a blood test for Vitamin D, that will confirm your level. However, he or she won’t likely agree to this very often. A simple but reliable at-home test is to sniff the contents of a bottle of unflavoured Vitamin D tablets. If the contents smell pleasant, you need a lot of the vitamin. If the contents smell stinky, your body doesn’t need any more. If it smells like there’s nothing in the bottle, you need some. Although it sounds unscientific, this method correlates very well with results from blood tests. Based on the research of Dr. Lendon Smith, more information on this method is found here: http://www.healthpursuitsgroup.com/nutrition.html#lendon

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