Vitamin D- Why the Hype?
Ahhhh….the feeling you get while spending a few days on the beach. Is it the sand in your toes…the warm water and salty breeze…or is it the chemical reaction that takes place under your skin when your Vitamin D is activated into a powerhouse biologically influential hormone called D3? It is the production of Vitamin D made in your skin with direct sun exposure. Here is a list of signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency to reveal why it is so vital to your health and optimal body function.
Signs of low Vitamin D levels Symptoms of low Vitamin D levels
Joint and Bone pain
Uncontrolled weight gain
High blood pressure
Poor concentration and Memory
Bowel problem(diarrhea, constipation or both)
Bladder problems(urgency, frequency or both
|Depression and S.A.D.
Tendonitis and Bursitis
Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis
Gum Disease and tooth loss
Autoimmune Disease(MS, SLE)
Cancer (Breast, Prostate, Colon, Skin)
So, why all the recent hype with this Vitamin? First of all, it is actually not a Vitamin, it is really a hormone. This means it has a direct influence on the function of almost every cell in our bodies. Its chemical structure is very similar to other hormones like testosterone or estrogen as they are produced from the same starting molecule. The scary thing is that most of us living above the 30th parallel have levels that are actually not optimized to prevent and treat disease states. You’d have to spend most of your day in a speedo laying in direct sunlight in your front yard and unfortunately your levels would still not be optimized.
Studies show that the optimal level in your blood to prevent chronic disease and optimize function is around 60-70. Many of my patients see me with pain, fatigue and arthritis problems and their levels have never been checked, or they say they were told by their doctor that their results are within the “normal” range. The problem with this is that a blood level is normal if between 30 and 100. Normal is NOT OPTIMAL! If your level is 35 then you may be told you don’t need any Vitamin D. By the way, my level mid-summer level was 38 last year and I spent a lot of time in a swim suite (not a speedo) at the lake. That level may be in the “normal” range, but according to the latest research it is a long way from being OPTIMAL. Keep in mind that too much of a good thing is not always better. It is very important to keep your levels in an OPTMAL range. Not too low and not too high. Once you are started on Vitamin D it is important recheck your blood levels over a few months to target the range needed for top performance. If you knew that you could do something that would decrease your weight, blood pressure and diabetes risk, decrease your risk of cancer (prostate, breast and colon), decrease pain, arthritis and risk of osteoporosis, increase your energy and mood and increase your quality of sleep, it would be silly not to take advantage of that fountain of youth. Yet only a small fraction of us take full advantage of the powers of Vitamin D.
Mary, a patient of ours at RAPS, came to see me for treatment of her arthritic and painful knees. Over the years of dealing with pain and orthopedic concerns we have discovered that we do our patients a disservice if we don’t address the other important issues that contribute to the pain and arthritis we are only treating a fraction of what is ailing us. We checked a Vitamin D level on her and it was 32. It was in the “normal” range, but not optimized to deal with her decreasing bone density, arthritis and overall lack of energy and fatigue. We treated her knee arthritis with Prolotherapy and started her on the appropriate dose of Vitamin D based on her lab value. Two months later, her levels where 56 and she had a returned energy and zeal and was enjoying life again without pain or fatigue.
It is important that we treat our bodies as well or better than we would our car. If your tank is running low or your joints and body don’t seem to be performing optimally, get your “fluid” levels checked and optimized to restore your vitality and prolong your engines life. You can always exchange your car for a younger model, but you only have one body. Obtain an ideal body weight, eat well and be informed on the latest discoveries in the current medical literature.
*written by Joel Baumgartner, MD