Carol (Missy) Cohen MPH, CHHC

Are You Deficient in this Important Vitamin?

I just found out that my husband has low vitamin D. He is an Aquatics Director at a private health club in New England and spends the greater part of his summer being outside maintaining a pool and running camps.

How did this happen?

Despite what the food industry would have you believe, vitamin D is produced in our bodies when we are exposed to sunlight. In New England, we can only make vitamin D from this exposure from May until October because the sun has to be strong enough to allow us to absorb it’s rays.

Many people dowse themselves with gallons of sunblock, including my husband,  in an effort to avoid the sun’s “harmful” rays. In the process they are covering themselves with toxic chemicals (more on that in another blog) that are entering their body through their skin, directly into their bloodstream and not having the advantage of being filtered out through the liver before hitting our cells.

In blocking those rays, they are also setting themselves up to not create vitamin D in their body because they are not absorbing the rays that allow us to do so.

Absorb those rays!

To get enough sun to create about 10,000 IU, New Englanders need to sit in the sun for 15-30 minutes a day or until their skin has just “pinked” up. They need to do so without sunblock on so that they can absorb those beneficial rays from the sun. And they need to avoid running inside and rinsing off because then the body does not have time to work on the chemical processes that are involved in creating vitamin D.

Why is vitamin D important?

D is important for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few:

  • Building a strong immune system
  • Tightening the junctions in our gut lining to help prevent or health intestinal permeability which is also known as “Leaky Gut Syndrome”
  • It’s one of the key hormones in balancing the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in creating healthy bones.
  • Helps regulate blood pressure
  • Regulates insulin levels and helps balance blood sugar
  • And more….!

How to Supplement…

It is possible to supplement with vitamin D. What you need to know is that supplementation should take place with the D3 form of vitamin D. (NOT the D2 form that the food industry uses to try to get you to drink more milk, although many milk manufacturers are starting to use D3.) D3 converts to the active form of vitamin D more readily than does D2.

If you start getting headaches, achy muscles, constipation and other symptoms that you were not experiencing prior to supplementing with vitamin D, don’t worry. The biochemical process that activates D uses magnesium which is another nutrient that is sadly insufficient in the typical American diet. Those symptoms are signs of magnesium deficiency.

Supplementing with magnesium for 2 to 3 weeks prior to starting D supplementation is key to a smooth transition toward optimal health!

Are you deficient?

Measuring vitamin D is very easy and common test that your physician can run for you from a blood sample. Ideally, your vitamin D should be 50 ng/ml or higher. Don’t let your physician tell you you are “fine.” Get your numbers and keep track of them.  You may be in a normal range yet still suffer from insufficient D which could explain why you are frequently ill or suffering from osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Be your best health advocate!


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