A vitamin D deficiency

Happy Monday everyone!

I am temporarily blogging here on my old domain (with the .wordpress.com), because I’m working on moving over to self-hosted. I am hoping to be done in the next couple of days, but we will see. To sum up my emotions regarding this transition, I go from frustrated to excited very quickly. I am trusting it will all be worth it! 

Today I thought I’d share a little bit about vitamin D, the micronutrient often called the “sunshine vitamin”.

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After hearing one of my professors go on for four semester about how everyone should have their vitamin D levels checked, I finally went to the student health center to have the test done, which was a blood draw that measured my 1,25(OH)₂D levels.

Well, what do you know? Along with 40% of the world’s population, I am deficient. As a healthy eater, I thought maybe my chances would be better, but it turns out I’m doing any better. For reference, sufficient levels are considered 40-80 ng/mL and mine was 19 ng/mL. My practitioner put me on a supplementation regimen to hopefully correct the deficiency (50,000 IUs once weekly for 12 weeks following 2,000 IUs daily).

So what’s the deal with vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is taken in through sun exposure, a few foods, and dietary supplements. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D is difficult to get through the diet.

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For adults ages 19-70, 600 IUs (or 15 micrograms) are recommended daily, though some researchers believe that number is a lot higher. One cup of fortified milk provides 2.5 micrograms and an egg yolk provides 0.9 micrograms. You may be able to reach the goal if you are a fish lover- 3 ounces of canned pink salmon has about 11 micrograms and 3 ounces of canned sardines have about 4 micrograms. Nonetheless, chances are you will have difficulty eating enough of these items throughout the week to reach your goal. If you are vegan, it’s basically impossible to get enough through foods.

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But what about the sun? The sun has the potential to provide all your vitamin D requirements, as it has for the history of mankind. “It has been estimated that up to 15 minutes of daily sun exposure on the hands, arms, and face around 12 pm throughout the year at 25 degrees latitude (Miami, FL) and during the spring, summer, and fall at 42 degrees (Boston, MA) latitude may provide a light-skinned individual with 1,000 IU of vitamin D” (source).

The problem is that most of us don’t get enough sun. I know I don’t. I’m usually inside at work or in class when the sun is out, especially during the winter months. Additionally, for older adults and individuals with darker skin, it is more difficult to synthesize enough vitamin D through the sunlight. Application of sunscreen markedly reduces the amount of vitamin D synthesized as well. The further north you are the less likely the UVB light will be strong enough to provide the needed amount of vitamin D. For many people going outside for 15 minutes and then going back and applying sunscreen may seem too much like a hassle. Do you think you get enough sun?

What is vitamin D’s role in the body anyways?

-vitamin D plays a role bone mineralization through the regulation of calcium and phosphorus. Long-term vitamin D deficiency could lead to brittle or soft bones. The condition of soft bones in children is known as “rickets” and in adults “osteomalacia.”

-vitamin D regulates cell differentiation and growth. There have been some studies that have linked low vitamin D status/intake and/or low sun exposure to breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

-emerging research shows a link between vitamin D status and risk for autoimmune diseases.

(Vitamin D is currently a huge area of research. It’s been linked to more things than I’ve mentioned here.)

Deficiency is most usually asymptomatic. Some people experience muscle soreness or fatigue. (Here’s hoping I experience less aches and pains during running once I’m sufficient!) The effects of deficiency will likely not show up until later when symptoms of osteoporosis or osteomalacia begin to manifest.

With all that said, I am really glad I made the investment to have my levels checked, so I can hopefully prevent any serious bone damage from occurring. Even though I don’t take any nutritional supplements, it’s clear now that vitamin D should be the exception. The vitamin D deficiency epidemic isn’t well known, even though it effects over 40% of the population.

If you are able, I suggest getting your levels tested. It may not be an issue now, but long-term deficiency has great consequences.

Top 3 Friday #9

Happy Friday! Woop woop!

Here I am, still not self-hosted. I was naive to think it would only take a week, huh?  I’m basically waiting on one thing to go through before I can move on. However, I am really pumped for the future Top 3 Friday link-up! I have my fingers crossed for next week, but I am treading in unfamiliar waters, so I can’t say for sure. Though you should know, I love reading the top 3 posts some of you are already doing.

Also, thank you guys so much for completing my reader survey. If you haven’t yet, there is still time! Click Here! I’m really excited for the Q&A post.

Without further chit chat, here is this past week’s top 3:

Top 3 Eats

  1. Garlic knots– When I went home to visit for the day, we went to dinner at an old favorite Greek/Italian restaurant. I worked there in high school as a hostess and would often eat the knots fresh out of the oven without bothering to butter them because the dough was so good!
  2. Turkey burger quesadilla– Since I work some nights I’ve been trying to prepare a yummy dinner for Terry and I, but one that is portable for me. I used a whole wheat tortilla and stuffed it with an onion-y turkey burger, mayo/mustard mix, tomato slices, spinach, and pickles. It was so dang satisfying!
  3. Grilled chicken Greek salad-  After work one day Terry and I wanted to go on a date. My body was screaming “veggies please!” and this was exactly what I needed. PS I didn’t eat the olives because I hate them. They may be my least favorite food ever. I wish I liked them.

Top 3 Lows 

  1. Well, my first “low” is really the only one that matters. My Grandma’s love of 27 years passed away this week. I’m so sad for her and can’t imagine how much she misses him. If you think about it, please say a prayer for her and his family.
  2. On more trivial things, I’m really behind in my blog reading & commenting & comment replying!! I hate getting behind on these things, especially since I’m so grateful for this community! I’ll either catch up or do better. One of the two for sure,
  3. More GI issues without much explanation. I’ll be having two more doctor’s appointments before the end of this month, so I’m praying I’ll have a clearer idea of what steps I need to take to get better!

Top 3 Highs 

  1. Picnic-ing with girlfriends. We had a graduation photo shoot followed by a delicious picnic. I love this freedom of being able to picnic together on a weekday for lunch. Everyone brought such delicious food and we had a blast.
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  2. Getting to see my family! We took the trip down to watch my nephew play baseball, but we got to see others too. I am hoping to make plenty more trips down there this summer since I have real days off and not just study days.
  3. Having a job I enjoy- this is big. I wanted to have a relaxing summer and having a job that I don’t leave feeling stressed is so nice. It’s really a great environment!

Top 3 Instagrams 

Top 3 Articles/Posts

John Oliver explains why so much ‘science’ you read about is bogus via The Washington Post -> so important!!

Restrictive diets may cause thyroid troubles in young kids via Medline Plus

Why the Low Fat and Cholesterol Diet Craze Was a Huge Fail via Fannetastic Food

So you tell me-

What are your top 3 highs/lows?

Are you a fan of olives?