Are You Vitamin D Deficient?
Before the year 2000, very few doctors ever considered the possibility that you might be vitamin D deficient. But as the technology to measure vitamin D became inexpensive and widely available, more and more studies were done, and it became increasingly clear that vitamin D deficiency was absolutely rampant. At present, based on the evaluation of healthy populations that get plenty of natural sun exposure, the optimal range for general health appears to be somewhere between 50 and 70 ng/ml. For treatment of chronic disease such as cancer, recommendations go even a bit higher than that.
Sunshine—The Best Way to Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
It is firmly believed that appropriate sun exposure is the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels.
If You Opt for Oral Vitamin D, Remember Vitamin K2
It's important to remember that if you're taking high dose vitamin D supplements, you also need to take vitamin K2. The biological role of vitamin K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth. It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn't be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues. Vitamin K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity, which includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries. The reason for this is because when you take vitamin D, your body creates more vitamin K2-dependent proteins that move calcium around in your body. Without vitamin K2, those proteins remain inactivated, so the benefits of those proteins remain unrealized. So remember, if you take supplemental vitamin D, you're creating an increased demand for K2. Together, these two nutrients help strengthen your bones and improve your heart health.
Tired and Achy? You May Simply Be Vitamin D Deficient...
Feeling tired and achy is a frequent wintertime complaint. According to Dr. Holick (one of the leading vitamin D researchers), many who see their doctor for such signs end up being misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. "Many of these symptoms are classic signs of vitamin D deficiency osteomalacia, which is different from the vitamin D deficiency that causes osteoporosis in adults," he says. "What's happening is that the vitamin D deficiency causes a defect in putting calcium into the collagen matrix into your skeleton. As a result, you have throbbing, aching bone pain." The remedy is a combination of vitamin D and calcium, which go hand in hand when it comes to bone health. Ideally, you'd want to get your calcium from your diet. If not, Dr. Holick recommends taking about 500 milligrams (mg) twice per day with your meals (for a total of 1,000 mg/day). Magnesium is another important element and should be taken in equal amounts. According to Dr. Holick, elderly muscle weakness is another classic symptom associated with vitamin D deficiency.