A phone call yesterday from my doctor informed me of my recent blood test results. She wants me to start taking 1000 mg vitamin D right away. This surprised me as, living in Arizona, I have a tan nine months of the year. Since I had no reason to suspect I was at risk for vitamin D deficiency, I asked her several questions and then started researching. I learned some startling information.
Who is at risk for vitamin D deficiency?
Everyone: According to Dr. Michael Holick, PhD, MD, everyone is at risk for vitamin D deficiency. As noted in the AC article “Vitamin D may Equal Longer Life”, Researchers at John Hopkins have found that over fifty percent of women and forty percent of men in the US are vitamin D deficient. Many more are at risk of developing the deficiency during the winter. More people in the northern states and Canada are deficient. Those in the southern states are slightly more likely to get enough vitamin D from the sun. Many children also show low levels of vitamin D, although not extreme enough to cause rickets. Most children get extra vitamin D in milk and dairy products. Their consumption tapers off as they get older, and the risk of deficiency increases. RDA of vitamin D in multivitamins is usually not enough for those already at risk for a deficiency. There are certain groups that are more at risk than others.
Senior Citizens: My doctor told me that vitamin D requirements increase with age. Our abilities to manufacture the vitamin from sun exposure or utilize vitamin D in our diets decrease with age. Many senior citizens are lactose intolerant and therefore do not get vitamin D fortified milk. Other foods high in vitamin D are oily fish and egg yolks. However, many older people stay away from eggs due to cholesterol problems, and some do not eat much fish.
Those Who Stay Indoors: Our lifestyle has steadily moved from outdoor activities to indoor activities. A century ago, farmers spent all day outdoors. Children played outside from morning until sundown. Now, all age groups, from small children to elderly, spend their time indoors in front of computers, video games and television. For those who do go outside, use of sunscreens have become widespread, and they substantially block your body’s ability to manufacture vitamin D. Fear of skin cancer has taught us to cover ourselves when outside.
Those with Dark Skin: I learned at Natural News.com that people with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 – 30 times as much exposure to the sun as fair-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D.
Although I always thought I was eating a healthy diet and have taken a Calcium Magnesium with Vitamin D capsule daily for years, apparently I have many risk factors working against me. I am a senior citizen. Last year I fractured two vertebrae and I have had several cracked ribs. I lived most of my life in upstate New York where the sun almost never shines. I am lactose intolerant and I hate fish. Although I like gardening and walking the dogs, most of my day is indoors even now in Arizona. The sun is too hot in the summer (120 degrees) to be out in the middle of the day.
This morning, I took my first vitamin D capsule.
http://www.fightingfatigue.org/?p=1612 video presentation by Dr. Michael Holick, PhD, MD – “The Vitamin D Pandemic and Its Health Consequences”