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Vitamin D for Height, Heart and Happiness!

Does winter get you down? sun through autumn trees

This will perk you up-Vitamin D may be more  effective at staving off the winter blues than fancy light therapy. With the days getting shorter and the onset of daylight savings time this past weekend, time to inventory your vitamin D.

D Deficiency Widespread

Did you know nearly half of us are deficient in Vitamin D? And research done in the past two years has revealed vitamin D affects many more body systems than your bones. There are receptors for vitamin D on nearly all tissues including:

  • Brain–D reduces depression and helps your nerves "talk" to one another; Adequate D reduces our risk of multiple sclerosis by 50%
  • Heart–D reduces blood pressure and reduces risk of heart failure
  • Muscles–D minimizes muscle atrophy and weakness, reducing your risk of falls by 22%
  • Intestines–D reduces risks of colon cancer by 50%; and helps you absorb dietary calcium
  • Pancreas–D prevents diabetes; Adequate D as a child reduces your risk of Type I Diabetes by 80%; and as an adult adequate D reduces your risk of Type II Diabetes by 33%.
  • Bone–D with calcium is much more effective than calcium alone in preventing bone fractures, reducing hip and vertebral fractures by an additional 25%; and possibly loss of height as we age
  • Breast–D reduces risk for breast cancer by 50%

Where do I get some D?

If we get adequate sunlight (at least ten minutes three times/week) our skin makes plenty of D. However, as we age, we lose our capacity to make D. We may also spend less time outdoors, increasing our risk of D deficiency. Here are three ways to get your D:

  • Vitamin D3 (over-the-counter) 800 to 2000 I.U./day or
  • Vitamin D2 (by prescription) 50,000 I.U./week or
  • Sunlight (arms and feet, ten minutes three times/week)

Do you get the "winter blues"? What "tricks" have worked for you?


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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Janet January 11, 2009, 9:14 pm

    I realize that I need Vitamin D for bone health and am to take 800 iu daily. I take vitamin supplements of Viactiv and and a multivitamin to do so. Is the over-the-counter Vitamin D supplements usually sufficient? I’m sure they are more cost effective for my insurance company and they would say to do so to keep medical expenses down. What indicator or test is used to determine if a person has Vitamin D deficiency? Can a person get too much Vitamin D?

    • Shelley Binkley January 14, 2009, 1:54 pm

      Over-the-counter vit D is sufficient, it usually comes in 2000 IU tabs; this is fine. You can’t overdose on D because your skin breaks down any extra vitamin D you may have in your system. If you think you have a vit. D deficiency you can get a blood test to check your level. Thank you for reading the blog and commenting!

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