I met last week with the osteoporosis specialist to go over my results from my recent bloodwork and bone density scan (DXA scan). It was very interesting.
The good news is my bones look fine. No deterioration or weakening of the bones at all.
On the other hand, my vitamin D levels were deemed "insufficient." Basically, when your blood levels of vitamin D are checked, a normal range is 30-40 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Mine came in at 22!! Yeah, I know. I'm now playing catch up with a mega-dose of vitamin D once a week for the next three months in addition to the daily recommended amount.
So, let's talk about this a bit. I found a great little article about vitamin D if you would like to read it. The FDA recommendation for daily intake of vitamin D is 200 IU for people under 50, but most doctors think this is way too low, especially if you live in the northern part of the US. Doctors say that 800 - 1000 IU daily is a better goal, especially during fall and winter. Our skin manufactures vitamin D just by being exposed to the sun. And herein lies my problem. Because I have a history of skin cancer, I am a vigilant protector of my skin, and use high SPF sunscreen every time I am outside (as should all of you, but that is another post), so I am missing out on the vitamin D that my skin would normally produce.
Vitamin D is very hard to get through your diet. Milk is supplemented with vitamin D and has about 100 IU per cup. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are also rich in vitamin D, but let's face it, when was the last time you ate some sardines?
So the lesson today, class, is that you need to make sure you are getting around 800-1000 IU of vitamin D daily in supplements and your diet. Vitamin D helps us to absorb calcium which keeps our bones strong. (The FDA recommends 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day through diet and supplements for men and women 50 and below.) It is also thought to be important for our immune systems as well as maintaining a healthy weight...awesome!
For me, it means in addition to a daily supplement and a weekly supplement, I will be watching my calcium and vitamin D intake closely, and if that means I need to have a few more skim lattes every week, I guess that is the painful price I will have to pay!!