by Dr. Eduardo Aguirre
Winter is soon upon us and the days are getting shorter and colder. It’s a wonderful time of the year when many enjoy spending time indoors with family and friends by a cozy fire. Now, whether you’re headed outside to enjoy a fun winters day throwing snowballs or just going for a walk, you will undoubtedly bundle up to protect yourself from the cold weather. While all this activity is perfectly reasonable (and fun!), it does bring to mind concerns with regards to maintaining adequate and healthy levels of Vitamin D in your blood.
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiency in children and adults worldwide (1). Vitamin D exists in two bioequivalent forms. Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, is found in dietary vegetable sources and oral dietary supplements. As a dietary supplement, it can only be acquired with a prescription from a healthcare provider. Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is produced by the body in response to skin exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet B radiation, or UVB). In this process, the skin, liver, and kidneys play vital roles in ensuring adequate serum Vitamin D levels. The amount of Vitamin D produced by the body in response to sunlight exposure can vary depending on variables such as,
So why is Vitamin D so important? What exactly does it do? Vitamin D has very important roles in the body, including the absorption of calcium, which aids in the development and maintenance of healthy bones. It also helps regulates cells of the gastrointestinal tract and blood system (3). Low levels of Vitamin D have also been associated with higher risk of heart attack (3).
A person’s blood levels of Vitamin D can also be affected by certain disease states. These can include, but are not limited to,
Vitamin D can also be obtained through the consumption of Vitamin D rich foods, such as,
Note that the above non-fortified foods are from animal sources. Unless directed otherwise by your healthcare provider, the consumption in moderation of fresh, high quality, unprocessed animal protein and fat is an excellent way to obtain Vitamin D3 in your diet. For people who desire or are recommended to avoid such sources, fortified foods and supplementation offer good alternatives. Vitamin D3 supplementation can be obtained at your pharmacy or health food store without a prescription from your healthcare provider. Since Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin (along with vitamins A, E, and K), it is best absorbed when taken with food containing some amount of fat. Since it is fat soluble, it can accumulate in body fat stores. Because of this, laboratory testing is recommended whenever Vitamin D supplementation is undergone. This will help ensure that excess or potentially toxic levels do not occur.
If you would like more information regarding measuring your Vitamin D levels, please contact our office at <b>214-430-5204 </b>and schedule an appointment to learn more. Our goal is to do our best to keep you as healthy as possible, so that you can enjoy and make the most of whatever season it is.
Yours in Health!
Dr. Eduardo Aguirre
Disclaimer: The information in the articles are based upon the opinions of Dr. Eduardo Aguirre, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information in these articles is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose or treat. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Eduardo Aguirre. Dr. Aguirre encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.