Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Vitamin-D Delinquent!

Some of my cycling teammates were recently diagnosed with low vitamin-D levels, even though they take supplements. That made me wonder if I too am vitamin-D deficient. I added the D test to my 2010 annual physical, and today my doctor called to tell me I need to take 1,000 I.U.s of vitamin D every day... "But I already do that," I replied. I do, in fact, take a fish oil that has 1,000 I.U.s (250% of daily requirements of cholecalciferol, which is the best form of vitamin D; D3) already. Now they have me doubling the dose to 2,000 I.U.s per day.

And it turns out that cyclists and other endurance athletes are at risk of vitamin D deficiency and should check their blood's D levels regularly. Low D levels can lead to many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, weak bones and possibly cancer. Yes, even cancer. Ironic because we use sunscreen to avoid skin cancer, but in so doing we also deprive ourselves of the natural source of vitamin D we get from sunlight interacting with our skin. (BTW, I also sunbathe a little when I can for that reason.)

Here are a few things you can do to improve your vitamin D levels:
  • Sunbathe, sparingly. Per Stanford Wellsphere: "Experts say 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight exposure (i.e. not through a window) a day is enough for most people to prevent a deficiency."
  • Make sure to eat some fat with your vitamin D for best absorption. Fish oil, as I use, is great for that.
  • Eat nutritious foods. The best natural foods for vitamin D include cod liver oil, fatty fish (e.g. salmon or mackerel), whole eggs.

Best of health,

No comments: