Are your "D" levels where they should be?


You don't hear a lot about vitamin D. In fact, a lot of us just assume we are okay in that department. You have very low D levels, hower, and not even show symptoms.

Vitamin D is produced in our skin, through sunlight absorption. Especially during the winter months, that can be quite a trick for us here in Michigan, says Covenant dietician Ann Hoffman, "It's estimated that most of us are vitamin D deficient, especially in this area, becasue we don't have a lot of sunny days. "

According to Ann, the worst case scenario if you are vitamin d deficient is, "Rickets, but that's pretty rare."

Vitamin D is critical to calcium absorption, which we need for healthy bones, among other things.

Some health practitioners say low vitamin D can lead to symptoms like bone pain, fatigue, excessive sweating, and low mood.

Ann says she has not seen anyone with actual symptoms, "Not any that are documented."

So, how do you know if your D is low?

"You should ask your doctor to test your vitamin D levels," Ann says.

A blood test will reveal your vitamin D levels, but it is not something that every doctor will order with your annual physical.

Ann says we need 2000 international units, or IU, of vitamin D daily.

There are plenty of supplements to choose from. If you are a little wary, becasue supplements aren't regulated, go for well-known brands.

You can get vitamin D from food. It's fat soluble, so you'll find it in fatty fish.

There are plenty of vitamin D fortified drink choices, including dairy.

"Other fortified calcium sources, such as soy milk and almond milk are options," Ann says, "And then, some orange juice is fortified with calcium and vitamin D as well."

You can also slap on some sunscreen, and head outdoors. About 30 minutes of daily sun exposure should do the trick. Of course, the real trick is finding sunlight in Michigan this time of year.

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