D-Lightful Facts

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of today’s focus on the earth, I thought I’d provide some information on Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin” that I learned from today’s conference:

  • Vitamin D was traditionally just thought of for bone health and preventing osteoporosis.
    • New research shows it can help prevent much more than bone disease: diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer
  • Don’t count on getting enough vitamin D from your diet. Other than fortified milk/orange juice, your only real food options are wild salmon and mushrooms
    • Yay for mushrooms finally being recognized as a nutritional powerhouse!
    • Farmed salmon has practically no D, so choose wild (but know that you’d have to eat a serving everyday to get enough vitamin D)
  • Ask your doctor to check your level. And make sure they check 25(OH)D, not 1,25(OH)2D (- that’s the active form of D but won’t show whether you’re deficient). You’re aiming for a level greater than 30-50 ng/ml. (I just looked up in my records and saw that mine was 44 last winter, so that’s awesome news for such a sun-phobic person as myself)
  • Being a fat soluble vitamin, vitamin D often gets “stuck” in the excessive fat cells of obese people, meaning there’s less out there circulating in the blood. Therefore, obese people need 2-3 times as much vitamin D on a daily basis!
  • Do you live north of Atlanta? If so, you ain’t makin’ any Vitamin D during the winter months (November-February).
    • Oh, and during the spring/summer/fall months, when our skin is synthesizing D from the sun, it’s only during 10-3pm. So your morning/evening run isn’t helping you out (at least not related to vitamin D).
  • And yes, sunscreen is your enemy in the world of vitamin D. Even little old SPF 30 blocks 99% of vitamin D synthesis. Windows also block the synthesis (so you don’t make any D on those long road trips)
  • Pertinent to my mental health patients – vitamin D deficiency is also correlated with schizophrenia and depression. An interesting area I should look more into!

Happy Earth Day!


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