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I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Follow me on twitter @juliannejtaylor

Have you had your vitamin D levels checked? Most people are deficient.

You could be seriously deficient in this very important pro-hormone and not realise how it is impacting your health.

Recently I have been asking clients to get a vitamin D3 blood test, as research shows that most people may be either deficient or have less than ideal levels. I have yet to see a client with vitamin D levels in the ideal range to give maximum protection from a host of serious diseases including cancer and insulin resistance.

Ask yourself the following:

-Do you get sun on at least your arms and legs for 10 minutes per day (no block)?

-If not, do you take a Vitamin D supplement of at least 2000iu per day?

-Have you had a vitamin D3 blood test?

-Did it come back at over 80 nmol/L, or even better at 120 – 150nmol/L? (If your vitamin D test fell in the ideal range – please let me know!)

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is technically not a vitamin at all but a pro-hormone. It is made in the skin in response to UVB light. It takes part in the process of new cells being made in the body, and absorption and use of calcium.

Here are just a few of the important roles that vitamin D play in the body:

– You need vitamin D to absorb calcium from the gut, and to get it into cells, without adequate vitamin D you cannot maintain healthy strong bones, increasing your risk of osteoporosis.

– It protects against 17 types of cancer, including breast, prostate and colorectal cancer

– It protects against developing auto-immune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Type 1 Diabetes, Crohn’s disease and Rheumatoid arthritis

Here is an excellent graph mapping vitamin D levels and its ability to protect against a number of diseases.

Note that these units are the American measurements of ng/ml. 50ng/ ml = 125nmol/L, 80ng/ml = 200nmol/L

http://www.grassrootshealth.net/media/download/disease_incidence_prev_chart_032310.pdf

– It increases your immunity – it helps you fight viral (colds and flu), bacterial and fungal infections.

– Levels under 50nmol/L give an increased risk insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is the cause of the “deadly quartet”: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high insulin levels. If you have these you are at much greater risk of developing heart disease. In this New Zealand Study insulin resistance decreased when Vitamin D levels reached 80 – 119nmol/L

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19781131

– Low vitamin D levels impair muscle power, and can cause muscle pain similar to fibromyalgia. It has been suggested that the Russians used sunlamps decades ago to improve their performances. Read this fascinating article:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/phys-ed-can-vitamin-d-improve-your-athletic-performance/

– A recent study by the University of Minnesota, US, linked increased intakes of vitamin D to improved weight loss in overweight men and women following a kilojoule-restricted diet.

In fact the number of issues related to vitamin D deficiency is astounding:

A lack contributes to depression, decreased brain function, heart disease, high blood pressure, autism, asthma, pregnancy problems, muscle weakness, birth defects, skin and other cancers, and auto-immune diseases.

Dr Holick a scientist specialising in Vitamin D research states that even if you don’t suffer from the above-mentioned conditions, getting more D may still be what the doctor ordered. “Many of my patients report a dramatic improvement in their feeling of overall wellbeing after they increase their vitamin D levels,”. http://www.vitamindhealth.org/ http://www.uvadvantage.org/

How much vitamin D do you need to take?

That depends! You do need to get your vitamin D levels checked and then supplement to keep them in the 125 – 150 nmol/L range. This might mean supplementing anything from 1000iu per day up to 10,000iu per day. Typically 2000 – 5000iu per day will work for most people. (The least expensive Vitamin D supplement I’ve found is Source Naturals Vitamin D 200 tabs, $22.50 http://www.zonediet.co.nz/shop/viewproduct.aspx?ID=117 )

If you find your levels are very low – your Doctor will prescribe cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) 1.25mg (50,000iu per tab) to rapidly increase your vitamin D levels.

What about cod liver oil?

Although cod liver oil has high levels of vitamin D it has even higher levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A blocks vitamin D, so cod liver oil is not a good way to get your vitamin D. By the time you get the amount of vitamin D and Omega 3 you need, you might be overdosing on Vitamin A. Pregnant women should not take cod liver oil as excess vitamin A can damage the foetus.

Can you get vitamin D from the sun alone?

Possibly – age, skin colour and time spent in the sun will determine how much vitamin D you make. If you are light skinned 6 – 9 minutes per day of sun on arms and legs (or on face, hands & arms) at 10am or 2pm in the summer is all you need (Don’t go out between 10am and 2pm). In winter you need 24 minutes in Auckland and 40 minutes in Christchurch at 12.00 midday. If your skin is darker you will need more – from 5 times more sun for the darkest skin, to make enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is stored in fat tissue and used later, so if you can’t get out in the sun at work, make sure you get exposure during days off.

Vitamin D has co-factors that the body needs in order to utilize vitamin D properly. They are:

* magnesium

* zinc

* vitamin K2

* boron

* genestein

* a tiny amount of vitamin A

Of these magnesium is the most important and can be found in nuts and seeds. Deficiency symptoms include muscle cramps and twitches, and poor sleep and headaches.

Zone Bone Support contains highly bio-available magnesium citrate and aspartate, calcium, boron, vitamin K and a little Vitamin D

http://www.zonediet.co.nz/shop/viewproduct.aspx?ID=82

More reading on vitamin D

http://www.grassrootshealth.net/

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

http://www.uvadvantage.org/

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2 Responses to “Have you had your vitamin D levels checked? Most people are deficient.”

  1. Shashin Patel #

    Interesting blog contains most of the information about Vitamin D. I got to know some useful information about Vitamin D and think that it is advisable to get your Vitamin D levels checked.
    I came across one interesting article about Vitamin D and would suggest you to take a look at it. Click on :
    Boca Wellness and Nutrition

    June 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm Reply
  2. Shashin Patel #

    Also to know some interesting facts about Vitamin D click on this video 🙂
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDOXrkkuI7g

    June 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm Reply

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