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Octber 2016

Vitamin D and the Link to Bone Health

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which are vital to bone health.  Vitamin D is proven to be important in keeping bones strong and preventing osteoporosis. 

Know Your D Status
It is important to ensure your vitamin D is adequate to maintain strong bones and overall health.  Have your physician check your level. 

The best indicator of vitamin D status is the blood test 25(OH) D.  When tested the level should be a minimum of 30 nmol/L.  For bone and overall health it should be higher, at 30-50 nmol/L.

Vitamin D Recommendations
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 600 IU of vitamin D daily if under age 70, and 800 IU for those 70+.  Some leading experts believe it should be higher. 

If your vitamin D levels in your blood are low, requirements will be more. Your physician may prescribe a high dose of D for a short period if your D is extremely low.

Additional vitamin D may not benefit your bones if you are not D-deficient.  However, there may be other health benefits. Studies are underway to determine if vitamin D may help reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

If you choose to take more than 800 IU/day you should check with your health care provider, especially if you have a history of kidney stones.

Get Your Vitamin D
There are three ways to get vitamin D:

FOOD: There are only a few D-rich foods which include fatty fish (salmon, sardines and mackerel), egg yolks and D-fortified products (mainly dairy). Some mushrooms have been identified as a source of vitamin D; the label on the product should state “Vitamin D - Rich”.

SUN: We rely on sunlight for most of our vitamin D.  Sun on the skin enables the body to make vitamin D.  Try “safe” sun exposure (15 minutes before 10AM or after 2PM) each day.

SUPPLEMENTS: Getting adequate vitamin D from food and sun exposure may be difficult.  If your D levels in your blood are low or you are at risk, you may need to supplement.

Are You At Risk for D - Deficiency
Factors that may contribute to vitamin D deficiency: 

excess body fat very dark skin liver disease gastrointestinal disorders gastric bypass surgery little effective sun exposure medications taken on a regular basis such as: antacids, mineral oil, calcium channel blockers, cholestyramine and some anticonvulsant meds (verapamil).  Check with your pharmacist.


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