Vitamin D: What’s the Deal with D?

Like Rebecca Black, Vitamin D has definitely been on the scene lately! Maybe you’ve heard about it… -or maybe not. Commercials are talking about vitamin D and calcium, and magazines are stirring up chatter on the topic as well. But you’re probably wondering- whats my level? What if I don’t have enough? How much is enough? Why should I even care about Vitamin D? No need to freak out like your DVR stopped working ladies! We have everything you need to know right here.

Recent studies have shown the importance of vitamin D in bone strength and heart health, prompting more physicians to start checking values, especially in individuals at high risk.  Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that helps keep you strong and helps the body absorb calcium. Typically vitamin D is synthesized in the skin with help from sunlight and a few steps in the kidney. But even if you have been getting your tan on, many women still have very low levels.

Deficiency of D can cause fatigue, joint aches, bone pain and tiredness. If you constantly feel like you’re running on empty, your vitamin D tank could be dangerously low.

Amongst the latest studies, research shows that a level between 30 ng/mL and 50 ng/mL is considered a normal range. If you have values that fall below this, you may need daily or weekly supplementation depending on where you are.  If you are within normal range most women should be taking in between 600-800 IU daily. So after you stop at the ice cream aisle, and before you hit the wine racks at the market, make sure to pick up your daily supply of vitamin D. If you have a choice, pick Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol because this is thought to be absorbed better.  If you started out very depleted and your doctor wants to aggressively treat you with vitamin D, don’t be shocked by values of 1000-2000 IU daily or even 50,000 IU weekly.

Women also need adequate stores of vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium has long been prescribed and recommended for women of all ages, especially as they age. It turns out that most calcium requires vitamin D to be present in order to properly be absorbed. Many supplements are now being sold as a combination of vitamin D and calcium. If yours is not, make sure you are also getting enough calcium in your diet or through supplements.

If you aren’t on the Vitamin D train, you need to get on! Get your levels checked because you could be suffering from needless aches and pains that have a simple cure.