Recommendation – Vitamin D Supplements

Posted by on Mar 24, 2011 in Nutrition | 0 comments

“In Canada, everyone should be on vitamin D,” says McMaster’s Dr. Jonathan Adachi, who conducted the study of 16 specialists and 36 primary care practitioners in Ontario and Quebec. “Osteoporosis Canada says we should be taking between 800 (international units) and 2000 IU daily. It’s pennies a day, and it’s a therapy with known benefit. It can reduce hip fractures. There are studies to suggest it can protect against breast and prostate cancer. It may prevent falls, infection and osteoarthritis.”

“Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha have reported that markedly higher intake of vitamin D is needed to reach blood levels that can prevent or markedly cut the incidence of breast cancer and several other major diseases than had been originally thought. The findings are published February 21 in the journal Anticancer Research.”

“Patients with a recent onset of Parkinson disease have a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency, but vitamin D concentrations do not appear to decline during the progression of the disease, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.”

“Vitamin D practically deserves super-nutrient status:

  • Vitamin D helps bones absorb calcium, keeping them strong and preventing osteoporosis.
  • It may offer protection against cancer—lowering the risk of some types like breast, prostate and colorectal.
  • Studies suggest it can help with depression and in preventing seasonal mood swings.
  • Adequate D may help lower heart disease risk. Research has linked low levels of vitamin D with both cardiovascular disease and conditions that increase risk of cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Vitamin D could help with weight control. In some studies, people with higher body mass indexes (BMIs) tend to have lower D levels. Also, upping vitamin D (and calcium) intake may have helped boost weight loss in one recent study of dieters.”

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If you’ve been following the news the past few years, you’ve probably noticed a lot of articles about studies that show that a) most people in the western world are Vitamin D deficient, and b) Vitamin D deficiency is linked to all sorts of diseases.

In addition, it’s generally accepted that taking Vitamin D supplements has very little down-side : they’re extremely inexpensive, they improve health, and they’re non-toxic in much higher-than-recommended amounts.

In general, I’m not a big fan of supplements – I’d rather get my vitamins and minerals by eating well.  Vitamin D, unfortunately, isn’t readily available from food sources – our bodies make it in response to exposure to the sun.  When I was growing up, and spent every waking minute outside (during the summer, at least), my body probably produced enough of it.  Now, on the other hand, I spend my days indoors, and only get any amount of exposure to the sun on summer weekends.

And so, I supplement.

If you don’t like the idea of taking supplements when you might not even need them, consider asking your doctor to arrange a (Vitamin D) blood test the next time you go in for your annual physical.

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