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Guest Report - It's Vital To Get Enough Vitamin D

Winter solstice is approaching quickly. The days are getting shorter, the nights are longer and people are spending less time outside. With fewer daylight hours and lack of exposure to sunlight, many Americans are suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency. Here in the Northwoods of Door and Kewaunee counties, our risk of deficiency is even higher. Our blood level of vitamin D drops every winter with about two thirds of Wisconsinites having below normal levels of 32ng/ml. (Binkley, Vitamin D Status:  Time to Recognize and Correct a Wisconsin Epidemic.  Wisconsin Medical Journal, 2007)

The importance of Vitamin D lies within its preventative benefits. At therapeutic levels, Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer as well as effecting diabetes and obesity. Low Vitamin D levels can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, cognitive impairment in older adults, and even asthma in children (Wallis, Circulation, 2008; Pilz, Low Vitamin D Levels Predict Stroke, Stroke, 2008).

Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to UV rays from natural sunlight. Getting adequate exposure this time of year can be tough, so a healthy diet and supplementation is often necessary. Foods rich in Vitamin D include Shittake and button mushrooms, mackerel, sockeye salmon, herring, sardines, catfish, tuna, eggs and something that a few of you may remember from childhood...Cod liver oil! Just one delicious teaspoon a day is all it takes!

If this all sounds a little fishy to you, you may want to consider Vitamin D3 supplementation. Dosing recommendations vary for adults, ranging from 600 IU/day as suggested by the Institute of Medicine, up to 5,000 IU/day recommended by the Vitamin D Council. A safe average is 1,000 to 2,000 IU/day of Vitamin D3 all year round, to obtain those preventative benefits. 

Don't discount the value of this underrated nutrient. Get some sun exposure when you can, but be sure not to burn! And, give yourself the health perks of Vitamin D by supplementing with Vitamin D3 all year round to help you “Feel Better and Live Longer!”

Jody Anderson, RN, CHC
Succeed Health, LLC- Algoma
Guest reporter for Door County Daily


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