The Vitamin D Deficiency Pandemic – Not so Fast!

Some researchers have warned that vitamin D deficiency is akin to a silent epidemic. However, recent data from the Institute of Medicine reveals that the majority of people are getting enough vitamin D and calcium. Although quite plausible, there is not enough data to support claims that vitamin D can help
protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, MS or pre-eclampsia of pregnancy to name a few.

What are the recommendations for vitamin D and calcium intake?

It is recommended that young women ages 9-18 consume 1300 mg/day of calcium and 600 IU/day of vitamin D. Healthy women ages 19-51 including those who are pregnant or lactating should consume 1000 mg/day of calcium and 600 IU/day of vitamin D. Women ages 51-70 should consume 1200 mg/
day of calcium and 600 IU/day of vitamin D. Women older than 70 years should increase their vitamin D consumption to 800 IU/day in addition to 1200 mg/day of calcium.

Should I take a calcium and/or vitamin D supplement?

Most individuals can achieve the recommended amounts through proper diet and nutrition, and it only takes 10-15 minutes of sun exposure to generate your daily vitamin D requirements. Research shows that most people get 600-900 mg of calcium daily from diet alone. There is also a recommended upper safe limit of 2000 mg/day of calcium and 4000 IU/day of vitamin D. Excess calcium and vitamin D has been associated with calcifications in blood vessels, kidney stones, cardiovascular risk and surprisingly falls and fractures. Some natural food sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, and fortified milk. If you are going to supplement your diet, check for USP verification on the label.

Should I have my vitamin D level checked?

Only those persons at risk for vitamin D deficiency need to have their levels screened. At risk persons include pregnant and nursing women, obese individuals, darker skinned individuals, persons who have undergone prior bariatric surgery, persons with Crohn’s disease, and persons with osteoporosis.
There are several other serious medical conditions in which vitamin D testing is also recommended so speak with your doctor first.

Don’t have one? Come see OB JEN at Capital Ob/Gyn Associates of Texas.
www.capobgyn.com