Vitamin D Summary   Leave a comment

I think I remember reading in the newspaper a while ago that vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common because we’re spending more time indoors and less time outdoors in the sun. Plus (or minus), whenever we are in the sun we have on sunscreen. I remember thinking to myself, maybe a little bit smugly, that I didn’t have that problem. I don’t put on any sunscreen on routine days, and I figured that the sun exposure from a 20-30 minute commute and daytime/evening running would be good. By the way, I mention sunscreen because sunscreen prevents the skin from generating vitamin D. I think that applies to all types of sunscreen, since physical sunscreens block the UV radiation from the skin and chemical sunscreens cause a chemical reaction that temporarily changes the skin somehow.

Well, I now have proof that smugness is never a good idea. My blood level of vitamin D was 23 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml), which means that I have either an “insufficiency” or a “deficiency”, depending on who you talk to. Apparently there is some debate as to the ideal blood levels of vitamin D. Below 10, 15, or 20 ng/ml is considered deficient by most people; but some people consider anything above 15 or 20 ng/ml to be fine. Other people think that concentrations above 30 ng/ml are optimal, and that anything between 15 or 20 ng/ml and 30 ng/ml is suboptimal. In any case; my blood level would be considered “low”, “insufficient”, or “deficient” depending on what reference range is being used.

Vitamin D does play an important role in maintaining bone strength, but I think the reason that my doctor is concerned about vitamin D is because it also may be linked to immune system function. Especially since I am extremely wary of the flu vaccine, I fully support anything that will boost my immune system before/during pregnancy. So in addition to milk and a supplement, I think I may try to add a short mid-day walk to my routine a couple times a week. That’s a form of nutritional supplement that I can live with!

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Posted August 30, 2010 by mayakey in health, pre-pregnancy

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