If you think you are getting enough vitamin D through your calcium pill, think again!
Adequate vitamin D is necessary for optimal health, but most Americans are lacking a sufficient level.
There are two main forms of vitamin D: Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), and Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D3 is formed in the skin after exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Vitamin D2 is obtained through irradiation of ergosterol in plants and enters our circulation through diet. Vitamin D3 is also available from: cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel and herring. In the United States, certain foods are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, yogurt, cheeses and some juices. Despite that, these foods are insufficient to fulfill the daily requirement. For example in 8 oz. of fortified milk, there is only 100 IU of Vitamin D.
Bones need calcium and phosphorous to stay healthy and strong. When the body does not have enough Vitamin D, calcium and phosphorous cannot be absorbed into the bones. Therefore, if you are taking loads of calcium thinking your bones are strong, you are just wasting money! In the United States osteoporosis affects 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 12 men (yes, men are not immune from bone thinning).
In the elderly low levels of this vitamin have been suggested to be the best predictor of fracture risks. There is also good evidence that it plays a major role in muscular health. In fact, it has been to be helpful for muscular pain. This vitamin is important for a good immune response to various conditions such as: multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematous, and type 1 diabetes.
Increasing evidence support a role of vitamin D in brain development and function. Actually patients with Alzheimer’s disease who have good levels of this vitamin, performed better in tests evaluating their mental functions. Patients suffering from cancer, who live in areas with more sun exposure, live longer than patients living in areas with less sun. Adequate levels of vitamin D are associated with less risk of colorectal cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer. This vitamin might also be associated with fewer incidences of heart attacks, and better controlled high blood pressure.
Studies suggest that one might be vitamin D deficient even with plenty of sunlight exposure. Vitamin D3 is two to three times better absorbed than vitamin D2. My suggestion for optimal health is: everyone should take 1000 IU of vitamin D3 twice a day.
Eat well, but take your supplements too.
Love your body.
Dr. Aurora DeJuliis MD