Thursday, July 1, 2010

Vitamin D and Me!


Today's lesson is Vitamin D - Vitamin D and Me

So take notes in your trapper keeper. This is serious business.

Ok, so the word on the street is that all or most sclero's have a Vitamin D deficiency. Actually it is quite common in many autoimmune diseases although they are not sure why. But it seems that Vitamin D is becoming pretty popular in the news today for everyone. Vitamin D is said to actually be more important that was originally thought AND it is thought most people are probably low in Vitamin D.

What does that all mean....Well, it means get yours checked. I did... Well, lets say my doc did and I was found to be really LOW.... as in I was playing the Limbo with my Vitamin D stick. My level was at 12. Normal is 32 - 100.

What the heck does Vitamin D do? Vitamin D is essential to our bodies. We can't make it, so we have to get it in our diet, or get outside and have the sun make it for us (yep, sun light on our skin causes our skin to make Vitamin D). Wahoo..... Only with some autoimmune disease you are unable to tolerate sunlight?

Vitamin D does ONE THING in our bodies.. it helps our intestine to absorb calcium from the foods we eat. Thus, Vitamin D increases the amount of calcium in our bodies. If our Vitamin D levels are low, then our intestines have a hard time absorbing calcium. Our intestines MUST have at least a little Vitamin D to absorb calcium.

For you older people out there (not me of course) did you notice that most of the calcium supplements (Citracal, Oscal, Caltrate, etc, etc) will have Vitamin D added to the calcium pills? This is because our intestines need the Vitamin D molecule to absorb the calcium molecule through the intestinal wall and transport it into our blood. It regulates the calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood and helps to absorp these minerals from food in the intestines.

Vitamin D also manages the re-absorption of calcium in the kidneys. Vitamin D is also thought to regulate normal cell differentiation and proliferation (e.g., prevention of cancer), promote insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation (insulin secretion) and regulates over 200 genes through binding to vitamin D receptors throughout the body. Who Knew!!

Being Vitamin D deficient can cause a lot of symptoms that you may not even realize. One of them is muscle and joint aches. Other concerns are; osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, parathyroid problems, immune function — even weight loss.

Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are: muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities. People with renal problems or intestinal concerns (such as IBS or Crohn’s disease) may be vitamin D deficient because they can neither absorb nor adequately convert the nutrient.

Come on people, we have ALL complained of one or a few of those things.... so the lesson for the day is GET YOUR VIT D checked.

I have a malabsorption issue, probably related to the big S, so I have struggled with vitamin D supplementation for over a year now. I have finally gotten my level up to 51 and I am hoping it stays there. Come on D!!

The irony here is that my levels got better after I started to go to tanning salon. Now who says Tanning Salons weren't therapeutic??? Maybe I will start becoming an anti-tan salon tax activist? Me and the Jersey Shore girls. Good Times.

Anyway - It took me forever, and that was taking 50,000 units of vitamin D a week, plus the normal recommended 5,000 IU a day. That didn't work, so I was put on 50,000 units a day and my numbers started to rise and hit the normal range with some sun exposure.

Now for you folks out there, you probably won't need 50,000 IU a week. The recommended daily dosage is 5,000 IU a day... But make sure you are taking it. And if you have the opportunity to do so, please get your Vit D checked. There is no need to suffer with vague aches, pains, fatigue and mood swings when the problem may just be a low vitamin.

Okay... Well I am done with my preaching and will take off my Sally Field costume and step off my soap box.

Get your number two pencils sharpened and your scantrons ready... pop quiz tomorrow!!

Enjoy your sunshine!!

Stacie

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