The general population is finally understanding the connection between vitamin D and the flu season, but it’s more than just the flu we need to think about. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many diseases, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Recently there has been much talk in the research world about this crucial vitamin. The IOM [Institute of Medicine’s] recommended raising the recommended dietary allowance from 400 to 600 IU of vitamin D for people aged 1 to 70. Recent studies show a vast majority of us are deficient in Vitamin D. This is especially disheartening, because it’s the cheapest vitamin you can get. It’s free. While supplements are available, it’s most direct and natural source is from the sun!
What’s even more interesting though, is to hear the scientific community mirror the “common sense” thoughts of my mother all these years. See, they now have evidence that since areas like Chicago get only 50% sunlight and other areas like Arizona get 90% sunlight. Also interesting, but completely unshocking is that the more melanin in a person’s skin, the less easily they take in the Vitamin D. This makes sense of course because darker skin is nature’s “sunscreen” and while the US is a wonderful blend of many type of people, at one point in human history, people adapted over the generations to suit their environment, including sun exposure. My ancestors come primarily from a northern, rainy area of the world, hence my very fair skin.
But I’m not in the clear just because I’m fair skinned. After all, I am outside much less than my ancestors were. Dr. Kittles, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, suggests that even accounting for skin color and the ideal physical location and body weight, the suggested intake of 600 IU is still too low. Recent evidence suggests that doses up to 10,000 IU a day do not cause toxicity. Even still, on a daily basis, people should not start taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D every day. You certainly can get too much of a good thing. Published cases of toxicity, for which serum levels and dose are known, all involve intake of more 40000 IU per day. 1 In fact, two different cases involved intake of over 2,000,000 IU per day, but both of these men survived
He believes a more adequate supply of Vitamin D would be an intake between 1000 and 3000 IU a day for the general population saying that when you see that 80% of African Americans and around 60% of Caucasian Americans are vitamin D-deficient, and take into account that we know that vitamin D is playing a significant role in many different diseases, we need to do even better than 600IU.
Check you vitamins and get outside without sunscreen. Just be careful not to let yourself burn. Our relationship with the sun these days has just been a little too… unhealthy.
Where do YOUR vitamins rank? How much time do YOU spend outside? I’d love your feedback.
“Vitamin D .” Alliance for Natural Health. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://www.anh-usa.org/about-vitamin-d/>.
“Vitamin D and Chronic Disease – Your Nutrition Questions Answered – The Nutrition Source – Harvard School of Public Health.” Harvard School of Public Health – HSPH. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/questions/vitamin-d-and-chronic-disease/index.html>.
“Vitamin D intoxication associated with an over- [N Engl J Med. 2001] – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11439958>.
“Vitamin D supplementation, 25-hydroxyvitamin [Am J Clin Nutr. 1999] – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10232622>.
Yin, Sondra. “Medscape.” Vitamin D. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/750013>.