Spring is around the corner…..the sun is coming out in its full pride and I think this is the best time to share my experience and thoughts on vitamin D and its importance in disease prevention.
I went to my Ob/Gyn few months ago for my annuals. I gave my blood for my routine blood work. Few days later, I got a message on my phone, “Dr Dairo, can you please give us a call back? Your lab test result is back and we will like to discuss it with you”. I was like…OMG! What could be wrong? And you know doctors don’t call you back unless something is wrong with your test results.
So, I called back. Low and behold, I was told my blood Vitamin D level was very low and I was placed on Vitamin D 600IU/day for 3 months.
Vitamin D is very vital in the prevention of certain diseases in the body. In fact research shows that there are quite a number of health disorders that are linked with vitamin D deficiency. Disorders like Osteomalacia (bone softening in adults), psoriasis (disorder causing skin redness and irritation), rickets (bone weakening in children), dental cavities, vitamin D deficiency, thyroid conditions (due to low vitamin D levels), weight gain etc. Click here to see more health issues linked to vitamin D deficiency.
Certain class of people are prone to having vitamin D deficiency.
- People that live in the northern latitudes (people like me) because of insufficient time spent in the sun;
- People with dark skin (Afro-again people like me). Melanin is the pigment responsible for the dark skin color. Melanin blocks the action of the sun on vitamin D precursors making it difficult for vitamin D to be manufactured.
- People with chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism symptoms
- Overweight or obese people
- Chronic musculoskeletal pain.
- Breast-fed infants, children with limited exposure to sunlight
So how do we get this Vitamin D?
Food- Vitamin D from food is insufficient to meet up with our daily need.
Sun- Bathing in the sun every day for 15mins is a good means to get your daily dose of vitamin D. “An adequate blood level of vitamin D is 20 nanograms per milliliter, which can be achieved through daily skin exposure to sunlight”. But unfortunately and realistically, not many people have the luxury of time to bath in the sun before noon which is the best time to get vitamin D. Living in a temperate region further complicates issues because of winter and having to stay indoors about 5 months in year. Tropical region would have been better but unfortunately, they are also inhabited mostly by blacks meaning their ability to manufacture vitamin D is being hindered by melanin……so we are left to no other choice but to lean on supplements.
Vitamin Supplement: This is the best means to get your daily dose of vitamin D. There are various vitamin supplements over the counter. Be sure to look out for vitamin D3 (calcitriol).
Dose- For adults 18 years and older, the “recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 600 IU for those 1-70 years of age and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 800 IU for those over 71 years of age. “Levels over 50 nanograms per milliliter may cause side effects”. Get you vitamin D level checked today.
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