10 Real Good Reasons To Check Your Vitamin D Levels
I have recently signed up to participate in a international research study into vitamin D by scientists, institutions and individuals who are committed to solving the worldwide vitamin D deficiency epidemic. You can find out more from www.grassrootshealth.net.
After filling in the various details in the initial registration form, I have now been sent a complete vitamin D testing kit where I collect a sample of my own blood using the lancet enclosed and squeeze a big drop of blood onto the filter paper. After filling in the details, I then post the sample off to them in the addressed envelope and within 7-10 days will receive my results online. This is repeated every 6 months for 5 years (the length of the study).
I am interest to see these because as far as I know I have never been tested for vitamin D levels but have always spent a lot of time in the sun. I have always avoided sun blocks in spite of all the advertising hype so I am hoping that I am not deficient.
Grassroots Health point out several interesting facts about vitamin D(I have added in my own observations as well) 1. Every tissue in our body needs vitamin D and will not work properly if it does not get enough.
2. Vitamin D deficiency (in its extreme forms) leads to rickets in children and bone softening in adults.
3. Milder degrees of deficiency are now understood to be one of the causes of a whole list of chronic diseases: osteoporosis, impaired immune competence, autoimune diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, several cancers, high blood pressure, pregnancy complications and cardiovascular disease. They point out that asking the body to deal with such diseases (without adequate vitamin D) is like asking a fighter to enter battle with one hand tied behind the back.
4. The principal source of vitamin D is our skin as a chemical compound (which is naturally present in the superficial layers of skin from where it is converted to vitamin D3). This only happens on exposure to UVB radiation which is present during those two hours either side of midday (yes 10 am to 2 pm).
5. If we spend most of the day indoors or we lather on sun block every time we do go out in the sunlight, we do not produce any vitamin D.
6. Vitamin D can also be obtained from supplements and to a much lesser degree from some food.
7. To benefit from sun exposure, a light skinned person wearing a swim suit or less should spend 15 to 20 minutes in the sun at around midday several times a week. If you are light skinned and your skin starts to turn pink, then you have had enough for that day and should move out of the sun. The darker your skin, the longer you need. I have a Mediterranean tone skin so I spend about 30 minutes just about every day that the sun is shining. As I live in the southern hemisphere, this can be most of the year round.
8. Once you have had your time in the sun, don't be tempted to shower off using soap for a couple of hours or more because this can undo all the good.
9. Most people only get half of the absolute minimum amount of vitamin D that their bodies need.
10. Most reputable and reliable authorities have found that 60 - 100 mg/mL is an ideal range for vitamin D levels and that the upper end of this range is optimum. Therefore to boost their levels, and if not getting enough sun exposure, adults should take approximately 5 000 IU daily.
Of course, children also need to be tested for any vitamin D deficiency and supplemented if necessary. Children and vitamin D warrants a post all of its own so that will follow shortly when I have done some more research.In the meantime, now is the time for everyone to get tested for vitamin D levels as it could make all the difference to your health. With winter already very much in evidence in the northern hemisphere, it becomes more urgent than ever.