Vitamin D: Are You Deficient?

Vitamin D: Are You Deficient?


Vitamin D is necessary for normal bodily functions but studies have shown that many of us are deficient in this vitamin. The more we learn about this vitamin the more evidence is mounting for its importance in the human body. It has long been known that Vitamin D is necessary for normal bone development. It is also important for our immune system and prevention of certain diseases. A deficiency in children can lead to rickets and deficiency in adults can lead to osteomalacia or osteoporosis.

At one time rickets was quite common which lead to the development of bowed legs in children. My grandmother grew up in poverty in Italy and developed rickets. As a child, I remember her bowed legs which, unfortunately for me, never seemed to slow her down. Nana had super powers of speed, reach and 360-degree vision. She wasn’t even 5 feet tall but I often envisioned her being able to fly effortlessly in the air and slam dunk with the best NBA athletes. My mother loved to tell a childhood story of witnessing my grandmother kicking my then 10-year-old uncle UP the stairs while Nana was wearing 6-inch stilettos. A difficult task which she handled with ease. In case you are wondering about child abuse in my family, this episode was more symbolic of my grandmother’s omnipotent parental power as her shoe did not touch him and he was laughing the entire way up the stairs.

Back to Vitamin D., there are only a few sources that humans can get vitamin D. Milk is fortified with it but if you are like me you would rather drink warm sewer water. My husband loves the stuff -good for him. He also golfs and gets plenty of Vitamin D from the sunshine as he never uses sunscreen and never burns. Sunshine promotes synthesis of Vitamin D from cholesterol in our skin. We should be able to get most of what we need from the sun but human lifestyles have changed dramatically in the last century. We no longer live outside for most of the day but are mainly inside dwellers. People who live in northern regions or have darker skin are also more prone to this deficiency.

Fatty fish, like tuna, sardines, mackerel, and salmon all have vitamin D but mercury in some of these fish can lead to concern particularly if you are pregnant. A teaspoon of cod liver oil can provide 440 IU. Which is particularly useful if you are trying to punish someone. An ounce of Caviar can provide 33 IU of Vitamin D particularly useful if you are trying to reward someone- like yourself. Egg yolks have about 40 IU and of course, the dreaded beef liver and some mushrooms can provide some Vitamin D.

Try to get some sunshine without burning during the day. Eat or drink what you can of vitamin rich foods and get your Vitamin D levels checked at your health care provider. If your levels are low you can easily add vitamin D3 supplements to your diet.