Do I Need Vitamin D?
I mean, yeah, it’s a vitamin. Things only get classified as vitamins if they’re essential to human nutrition. Fun etymology fact, “vitamin” comes from “vita” which is Latin for life, and “amine,” which is English, and stems from thinking that vitamins contained amino acids.
Where would we be without Vitamin D? Well, for starters, it’s a vitamin, so without it, probably dead. Or pretty close to it. At the very least you’d have Rickets.
But if you’re one of our customers then you probably live in Michigan, and chances are, even if you’re not aware of it, you know all too well what life is like without enough Vitamin D. Maybe not to the point of Rickets, but your bones don’t have to get all soft for you to miss vitamin D. Low blood levels of Vitamin D can also result in an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, asthma in children, cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Getting enough Vitamin D can also help combat the effects of Seasonal Effective Disorder, (Seasonal Depression).
I sure would like to prevent all of that horrible stuff from happening.
One of the primary ways our bodies get vitamin D is actually by having our skin produce in reaction to sunlight, and then storing it in fat cells for later use. Which can be a problem for those of us that live in the Northern Latitudes.
You can also find vitamin D in some foods, but unfortunately for our vegan friends, most of the foods that it can be found in are animal products. Fatty Fish, Beef Liver, Cheese, and Eggs are some of the most commonly given examples of sources of Vitamin D.
So, uh. Not a lot of good news for Vegan Michiganders so far.
Fortunately though, lots of food is fortified with extra Vitamin D to prevent deficiencies!
Unfortunately, most of those foods are fortified with Vitamin D2, which is the less effective form of of Vitamin D. D2 is good at raising blood levels of Vitamin D, (but still not as potent as D3, which is the form our bodies produce in sunlight, as well as the form commonly found in Vitamin D supplements) however, D2 is not as good at maintaining blood levels of Vitamin D. After an equally large dose of either form, blood levels start to decline much sooner and much more quickly with D2 when compared to D3.
So how much should I take? How much is too much?
So if you suspect that you’re not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun, and your diet’s not providing enough, you may want to consider supplementing Vitamin D. The daily recommended dose of Vitamin D is 400-800iu per day, (international units) however research suggests that 1,000 – 4,000iu per day is needed to maintain optimal blood levels. Vitamin D is fat soluble, which means it is broken down and stored in fat cells, so it is most effective when taken with fat. (About 11 grams of fat if you want to get technical.)
Most of our customers take around 1,000 – 2,000iu per day, but bump it up to around 4,000 – 5,000 for the winter.
Now, it is absolutely possible to take too much Vitamin D, so be wary of that. The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. Symptoms might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones. Usually Vitamin D toxicity is the result of overdoing it with supplements, as our bodies are pretty good at regulating production of Vitamin D from sunlight, and it would be really challenging to actually eat enough Vitamin D in your diet to make you sick.
The No Observed Adverse Effects Level (NOAEL) of Vitamin D is 10,000 IU/day, as set by the Food and Nutrition Board. The NOAEL is the dose at which there are no published studies showing any adverse effects of that dosage. And that’s still considerably more than most people need, or would think to take. So that should be a pretty easy upper limit to stay under, unless your doctor recommends otherwise, or you like having kidney stones for some reason.
So yeah, if you’re not getting enough love from this guy;
Then stop in and see us! Ask us questions, and we’ll do what we can to steer you in the right direction and keep your bones from getting all soft.