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5 Things You Should Know about Vitamin D

There is a great deal of discussion in the press about Vitamin D, and for good reason. An adequate supply of Vitamin D is critical to bone and muscle health, our ability to fight diseases, and prevention of heart problems. Here are five important facts you should know about this vital nutrient.

  1. What you’ve heard in the news is true: there is a pandemic of vitamin D deficiency in the U.S., due to decreased sun exposure, less dietary consumption of vitamin D, and increased rates of overweight and obesity. Excess weight contributes to Vitamin D deficiency because Vitamin D is stored in fat cells. The more that is stored, the less that is available for the body to use.

  2. Vitamin D is essential for bone health. The lower the Vitamin D level, the lower the bone mass and the higher the risk for osteoporosis and hip fracture. Vitamin D is also important for optimal muscle function.

  3. Vitamin D also plays a role in the immune system and the cardiovascular system. Low levels of vitamin D are correlated with high blood pressure and heart disease. The lower the blood-level of vitamin D, the higher the risk.

  4. The only way to know if your vitamin D level is low is through a blood test for 25(OH) vitamin D. Ask your doctor to check it.

  5. Low vitamin D is sometimes replaced first with prescription-strength vitamin D followed by an over–the–counter maintenance dose which is about 1200 IU daily. Most endocrinologists recommend using vitamin D3. Check with your doctor for the best dose for you.

For more information including sources of Vitamin D, visit http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp

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