Do You Need 50,000 IU of Vitamin D?

I had a chat with my dermatologist the other day, and she told me that Vitamin D deficiency is the biggest, and hottest buzz, word in medical science today.  Some signs of being deficient in Vitamin D are:  Aches and pains, depression, chronic fatigue, weight loss, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.  Is Fibromyalgia really just an indicator of a Vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency is on the rise, my doctor said, because people are eating more processed fast food, concentrating on lower fat diets, and they are staying out of the sun and using UVB protection.  She told me she recently had her blood tested and her doctor put her on a weekly regimen of 50,000 IU a week!

Now, that’s a lot of Vitamin D!

Healthy adults need only 200-400 IU a day, so being bumped up to over 7,000 IU a day is a bit of a mind bend.  Don’t undertake your own Vitamin D therapy without the direct intervention of your doctor.  Get tested.  Beware of Vitamin D toxicity.

Most daily vitamins will give you at least 600 IU, so if you’re Vitamin D deficient, you need to look at your diet as well as your sun exposure and find ways to appropriately supplement what lack.

We were raised to believe that 15 minutes of sun exposure a day on the back of your hands would give our bodies enough oomph to convert sunlight into our daily need for Vitamin D — but that is only barely true:

The current suggested exposure of hands, face and arms for 10-20 minutes, three times a week, provides only 200-400 IU of vitamin D each time or about 100-200 IU per day during the summer months.

In order to achieve optimal levels of vitamin D, 85 percent of body surface needs exposure to prime midday sun. (About 100-200 IU of vitamin D is produced for each 5 percent of body surface exposed.) Light skinned people need 10-20 minutes of exposure while dark skinned people need 90-120 minutes.

Vegans and Vegetarians can have a hard time getting enough Vitamin D because that vitamin is most naturally found, and delivered, through the ingestion of rich animal fat:

So-called primitive peoples instinctively chose vitamin -D-rich foods including the intestines, organ meats, skin and fat from certain land animals, as well as shellfish, oily fish and insects. Many of these foods are unacceptable to the modern palate.

Fish make vitamin D from the precursor of vitamin D found in algae. In the higher mammals, vitamin D is made from precursors in lichen and green grass. Reindeer fat, for example, is a good source of vitamin D because reindeer feed on lichen.16 Vitamin D will be found in the butterfat of ruminant animals that feed on green grass, and in pigs that spend time in the sunlight. (Pigs resemble humans in that they convert sunlight to vitamin D.) Eggs will contain vitamin D if the chickens have obtained it from insects or fishmeal. Salmon must feed on algae in order to store vitamin D in their fat. Thus, modern farm-raised salmon are poor sources of this essential nutrient.

“Non-civilized” cultures — where hunting and fishing and gathering your own food on a daily basis — routinely take in 3,000 IU of Vitamin D a day.

Our modern lives, and high cholesterol concerns and cancer-causing sun exposure worries, have given us control and pleasure and comfort — while also removing our access to a convenient, natural, daily dosage of Vitamin D.

My doctor told me she tells everyone she knows to get a Vitamin D deficiency blood test — and every single person she’s told to get the test — done has come back with a major deficiency, even though they looked and felt great.

She also told me the next time I see my primary care physician I need to demand a blood test for Vitamin D.  I’ll do it, and I’ll prepare myself right now to get ready for an all-new Vitamin D therapy plan.

It just so curious that if you stay out of the sun and eat a low-fat diet — you might be placing yourself at a higher risk for autoimmune diseases caused by a lack of Vitamin D — and that fact immediately resonates as one wonders if living a clean and healthy lifestyle is just that, or if you’re just fooling yourself when it comes to a prescribed plan for preventative medicine.