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יום שני, 22 ביולי 2013

Why do you need to care about Vitamin D?

What is Vitamin D, what is it good for and how can you make sure you have enough?

In one sentence

It's that vitamin that keeps your bones healthy and you can get it from the sun.

What's so good about vitamin D?

There's one consensus - it promotes the absorption of calcium which help you grow your bones. If you don't have it then you have soft bones (kids) 

or osteoporosis  (when you are old).

There are studies that link vitamin D deficiency to hypertension, diabetes and obesity - it is yet to be proven though, but meanwhile we can enjoy a picture of... me.

other studies are connecting vitamin D deficiency to chronic fatigue and muscles aches 

Others are linking it to depression - 

But again the IOM are saying that nothing is proven except for calcium/bones problem.

Do we get enough vitamin D?

Perhaps not. This research for example shows that In the sunny Israel 1/3 of the people are suffering from vitamin D deficiency.

Testing for vitamin D

We are talking here about a blood test called 25-OHD.  Below 15 ng/mL is very low, below 30 ng/mL is 'at risk of deficiency'. 

The Vitamin D council considers the ideal 25-OHD to be between 40 to 70 ng/mL.

The Institute of medicine (IOM) recommends 25-OHD 20 ng/mL saying that going beyond 50 ng/mL could have potential adverse effect.

How much vitamin D should we get per day?

The IOM updated the recommended daily allowance (RDA) as follows:
  • Age 1-70: 600 IU daily.
  • Age 71 and beyond: 800 IU daily (cause absorption is low)

The upper limit is around 10,000 IU - too much vitamin D causes to much calcium in the blood which lead to constipation, stones in the kidneys and such. 

how much can we get from the sun?

Vitamin D is meant to be absorbed by being exposed to the sun and this is my preferred way of absorbing it. I mean - I can really feel it in my bones, I am sitting in this cool air conditioned and dark room for at least 10 hours a day. I arrive early morning and leave in the afternoon/evening. I don't get sun exposure. And I am ROTTING!! So I decided to spend 10-15 minutes daily in the sun. Yes, I leave the office at 10:00 a.m. no matter what and just spend some time outside with my sleeves folded. I enjoy it so much, it's a REAL NEEEEED.

Now if you live in a northern country then you can't get that exposure and if you live in Africa you do get more than enough however since you are probably black then your skin is 'immuned' to sun radiation and so your vitamin D absorption is lousy too.

So I happen to enjoy both worlds cause I am a coacian and I live in Israel which has plenty of sunny days.

But for those of you who live in the north or south or are black or old - here's a nice calculator that you can use in order to know how many minutes you should spend outside when your face and arms are exposed in order to get 1000 IU (25 mcg) of vitamin D.

You will be asked to provide your latitude and longitude. So just google it. For example in my case I googled "what is the latitude in Tel-Aviv".

If you live in the southern side of the world then your latitude is negative.

Here's what I got:

Recommended UV exposure of face, hands and arms at least every other day to obtain sufficient vitamin D, equivalent of 25 micrograms vitamin D, if no dietary vitamin D is available:
Processing ... (this may take a minute)Done
minimum recommended exposure time (hours:minutes)
0: 6

It means I should stay outside 6 minutes a day. I stay a bit more - cause I have this feeling that I am deficient. I shall update this blog entry once I test for vitamin D.

Can I get it also from food?

You can but I think God didn't mean that this is how you shall get it. There are so few foods that can add to your vitamin D and since I am vegetarian - I don't touch most of them.

Here's the table

So without doubt 1 table spoon of cod liver oil gets you your daily intake. In order to get such magic oil you have to go north to the scandinavian sea and murder a cod.

Or you can pay someone to murder the fish for you - like the mutta faka in this picture right here - 

or you can just buy it from those that buy it from that guy in a form of pills. This way you don't have to deal with the smell.

You can eat 300 grams of Salmon - very healthy but I can't eat this stuff cause I keep thinking about that poor Salmon.

you can also also drink 2.5 Kg or orange juice daily.... and best of all you can eat 50 eggs daily.

Are there good supplements for this?

Yes. For example this one - each drop contains 200 IU.

In summary

So I think you get my point - go out to the sun and enjoy it, it's warm, it caressing you, it's good for you :)


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