A reader requested information about vitamin D supplements and if they were necessary. My advice is based on a mis-step I took myself last year when my exercise trainer recommended I get B12 shots to boost my energy level. I didn’t ask enough questions or research the topic enough and went for 3 weekly sessions to receive the B12 shots at a center for weight loss that is monitored by a physician. When my energy level didn’t change for the positive, I went to my internist to have them run blood tests. The results were highly elevated levels of B12. My mistake. Thank goodness no damage was done, and I stopped the shots immediately.
Now, as to the question of vitamin D deficiency; if you have a concern, you should have the proper diagnostic tests done. Vitamin D is often championed as the panacea to a myriad of health problems. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) looked at over 1000 studies and stated that vitamin D is essential to bone health, but other benefits were inconclusive. What makes the media state that there is a nationwide deficiency? Consumer Reports states that without explanation, many testing laboratories raised their threshold for what’s considered ‘normal’.
Where can you get vitamin D from naturally or otherwise? Get 15 minutes of midday sun exposure, or regularly consumed vitamin D-rich foods such as fatty fish, eggs, fortified milk or soy products. Doctors will recommend supplements to those patients with osteoporosis (weak bones) or digestive issues such as celiac disease or Cohn’s disease because their medical issues impair their bodies in aborbing fat-soluble vitamins. Being older, dark-skinned or overweight may cause your physician to recommend supplements.
Do not exceed the recommended intake of 600 IU for adults up to 70 years old and 800 IU for adults over 70 (Clifford Rosen, MD- Main Cancer Research Institute). It is also recommended if you take a supplement to take calcium as well, unless you get enough through your diet.
Be thoughtful about your choices, and make sure YOU need what the media or friends say that you need.
More from health