By: Pamela Egan, FNP-C CDE
Are you deficient in Vitamin D3?
With all the medical advances in the 20 th century, Vitamin D3 deficiency is still an epidemic. Fifteen to twenty minutes of sunshine each day, in the nude, helps your body manufacture about 10,000 to 15,000 iu’s of vitamin D3 per day. The problem is that most people avoid the sun these days due to fears of skin cancer. Just think about plants and what happens to them when they avoid the sun. They wither & die.
Did you know that vitamin D3 deficiency can result in Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Psoriasis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Kidney Stones, Osteoporosis, & Neuro-degenerative disease including Alzheimer’s Disease. Eventually, Vitamin D deficiency may even lead to Cancer (especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers). Vitamin D3 is believed to play a role in controlling the immune system (possibly reducing one’s risk of cancer and autoimmune diseases), increasing neuro-muscular function and decreasing falls, improving mood, protecting the brain against toxic chemicals, and potentially reducing pain.
Vitamin D3 is both a vitamin and a hormone. It acts as a vitamin when it binds with calcium for proper absorption. Humans cannot digest calcium without adequate amounts of Vitamin D3.
The most common reasons for Vitamin D3 deficiency in the United States relates to lack of exposure to sunlight and infrequent consumption of cold water fish such as wild salmon, mackerel & sardines.
A standard blood chemistry panel will provide your doctor with your levels of vitamin D3. The test is called 25(OH)D. The existing guidelines state that a deficiency is anything below 50nmol/l, but recent studies show that 80 nmol/l is needed to keep healthy bones and enable vitamin D to perform its other roles in the body.
Foods have been supplemented with Vitamin D, but this has not resulted in an overall
increase in Vitamin D levels. This is likely because food and supplement manufacturers rely on an inexpensive form of synthetic Vitamin D called “ergocalciferol”- a form of Vitamin D2.
If you have bone loss or osteoporosis, spend 20 minutes daily in the sunshine with 40% of your skin surface exposed. Morning sun is best; Don’t allow your skin to burn. Tanning Beds do not provide Vitamin D3.
Eat foods high in Vitamin D3 including Cod liver oil, fortified milk, salmon, mackerel, & sardines, egg yolks, beef liver. If you take Vitamin D supplements make sure it is Vitamin D3 and not D2. Take Vitamin D3 supplements with food. I usually recommend Vitamin D3 2000iu-5000iu/ day depending on lab levels.
Pamela Egan, MN, FNP-C, CDE is a board certified Adult & Family Nurse Practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator, & Clinical Specialist in Mental Health. She can be reached at 845-4111 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Symptoms of Vitamin D3 Deficiency