Skip to main content

Food Trends: The Dynamic Vitamin D

Some of you may have recently been told your Vitamin D is low or that you are deficient. You are not alone as in the past this was not a routine test checked by physicians. With the heightened awareness of “deficiencies” it is ordered on a more routine basis and approximately 40% of the United States has inadequate supplies of this very popular Vitamin.

It is important to note that the Vitamin D Council estimates that 20% of physicians in the United States order the wrong test to truly assess Vitamin D levels. 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D is the wrong test as it measures the hormone calcitrol and is manipulated by calcium intake so make sure when your doctor orders this test that the right test is ordered, 25(OH)D or 25- hydroxy vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that’s created in your body with sun exposure.  It is also found in egg yolk, salmon, mackerel, cod oil, fish oil, fortified cheese, fortified milk, beef liver and some fortified breads and cereals.  Lack of sunlight, decreased intake of Vitamin D foods in the diet, and those who have a BMI over 30 have low levels of vitamin D in the blood secondary to absorption and circulation complications.

Symptoms of a deficiency are muscle cramps, low calcium levels in the blood, fragile bones, mood swings, and depression to name a few and a deficiency can eventually lead to Rickets, a disease that leads to softening or weakening of the bones.  It is also thought that low Vitamin D attributes to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, Cancers, some autoimmune disorders, and increased asthma with children.

The reference range for Vitamin D is 30-74 ng/mL but the Vitamin D Council recommends that everyone aims to be above 50 ng/mL.  If your level is below 20 ng/mL your physician will most likely prescribe a high dose supplement to treat it.

There are different supplementation thoughts right now regarding Vitamin D.  What we do know is that it is important to take Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol. The Vitamin D council recommends anything from 1000 IU to 5000 IU a day where the Food and Nutrition Board’s Upper Limit recommendation is 2000 IU a day.  Some physicians prescribe up to 50000 IU supplementation over a 90 day period with a re-evaluation.

As a dietitian, I recommend attempting to receive at least 10 minutes of natural sunlight a day, 2000 IU/day for adults of Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol pills and at least two eight ounce glasses of fortified skim milk a day. Depending on Vitamin D results and review of diet,  I sometimes recommend a fish oil supplement as well.  If you are deficient talk to your doctor and ask for the research behind his/her supplementation thoughts or visit your dietitian.  Getting ahead of the game is key with Vitamin D. Good luck and be well.


lauren said…
Thanks Amy! Great article! It is amazing how little sunshine we get in the winter time. I no longer work at a desk 40 hours a week, but when I did, I would often go to work in the dark and come home in the dark! Zero sunlight!
Hi Lauren. It's depressing how little sunlight we receive in the winter. A lot of practitioners are recommending taking 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 every October through May to make sure optimal Vitamin D levels are maintained for that very reason. Of course when deficient the hard part is first playing catch up. Thanks for following the blog!
Jayme U. said…
Thanks!! I have been vitamin D deficient for about 2 years and am always looking for natural ways to boost my D in addition to supplements. This was helpful!

Popular posts from this blog

The Truth Behind Clean Eating

A quick trip to the grocery store or chain restaurant and you will likely be bombarded with the concept of “clean eating” foods that claim to be “organic”, “natural”, “non GMO”, and “gluten free”. There is also the laundry list of foods you should avoid such as high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and various toxins or chemicals. As a consumer it can be very overwhelming and intimidating to choose which foods are best for you.
While clean eating is not a new sensation, it has become increasingly popular in part due to misinformation on social media. Fear mongering is the latest marketing strategy in which companies are deliberately arousing fear in consumers to help sell their product. For example, products claim to be non-GMO when in fact it is not produced as a GMO food in the first place. There are only 8 genetically modified crops commercially prepared in the U.S. Products that have never contained gluten have a “Gluten free” label on them. Then there is the irrational conce…

You are what you eat BUT it takes longer than a day!

Recent research by Cornell University published a week ago in the New England Journal of Medicine proves that holiday weight gain does happen and most of it is from October to about ten days after Christmas.  The study analyzed 3,000 individuals over a years time focusing on daily weights that were collected and analyzed by a wireless Withings Scale.

Although the average weight gain from October to November was only 1.3 pounds this may prove that holiday weight gain is not a myth. Of interest, the study also showed that fifty percent lost the weight shortly after the holiday season while it took the other fifty percent about five months to lose the excess weight, shortly after Easter.
Author Dr. Wansink advises “Instead of a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, have an October resolution not to gain too much weight in the first place. Then you won’t have to worry about five months of struggling."
At Kindred Nutrition we tend to agree with Dr. Wansink's advice.  Our society is s…

Make it Happen

Parents, I see you. I see you putting everyone else's needs in front of yours. I see your dark circles under your eyes, your gray hair, that your wasting away, or that you've collectively gained weight over the years. It's time to put yourselves first because if you don't take care of yourself you won't be around to keep taking care of everyone else.

So often friends, acquaintances, or clients say to me, "I don't know how you find the time to exercise." "How can you take the time away from everything else and get away to exercise?" "I wish I could actually focus on myself and exercise."

Exercise to me is self care. It produces endorphins faster than any other activity I engage in. It  reduces my stress, keeps me healthy, increases flexibility, and gives me more energy to be on point with my busy kids and my demanding job.

My exercise isn't extravagant and it doesn't take too much time. Here's my secret. I always work e…