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Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

November 27th, 2012

The importance of getting enough Vitamin D during the dark winter months

Living in Buffalo, we are used to cold and dark winters.  But if you’re feeling sluggish and a little depressed it might be a good time to check your Vitamin D levels.  Hive Lifespan member and Physician of The Buffalo Bandits, Dr. Michael Jordan suggests checking your Vitamin D level especially during the winter months when sunlight is limited.  Here’s a quick Q&A with the Doc…

There has been a lot of news lately about Vitamin D’s role in one’s health.
Why is Vitamin D important?

Vitamin D is known to help maintain calcium levels in an individual, which supports healthy bones.  Low levels are known to cause Rickets in children and osteomalacia  in adults, which essentially means weakened bones.  In the elderly, low levels also increase the risk of muscle weakness and falls, which along with osteoporosis, increase the risk of fractures.  More recent research is looking into the role of Vitamin D deficiency in other disease processes, including weakened immune systems (which can lead to diabetes and multiple sclerosis), increased risk of colon and other cancers, and increased risk of heart disease.  (Although the role of Vitamin D hasn’t been proven to be linked through randomized trials yet.)

How can you find out if you are Vitamin D deficient?

Some people are at a higher risk than others.  Examples include people with darker skin, the elderly, obese people, those in Northern latitudes (i.e. Buffalo), and those that do not have sun exposure.  Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can include fatigue, muscle weakness or low level depression, among others.  A blood test is necessary to determine if your Vitamin D level is normal or deficient.

How much Vitamin D do you need each day?

The National Institute of Health’s Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%–98%) healthy people.

Can I take too much Vitamin D as a supplement?

The current maximum intake levels per the NIH are listed below, though many feel these levels are conservative and further investigation is ongoing.

Dr. Michael Jordan is a member at Hive and is the Chief of Medicine at Lifetime Health.  He is the team doctor for the Buffalo Bandits and Niagara University club Hockey.

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health.

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