Friday, July 24, 2009

Vitamin Roll Call: Meet Vitamin D

Sources Used:
Vitamin D Wiki -
Version from July 24, 2009

Office of Dietary Supplements -
Posted Date: 4/18/2008
Updated: 12/11/2008

Article Title: Harmful Vitamin D Deficiency Common Around World
Author: Meredith Hegg
20 July 2009

Mayo -
Entry from March 1, 2008

The New York -
Vitamin D in Milk, By C. CLAIBORNE RAY
Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2003


Vitamin Roll Call: Meet Vitamin D

This vitamin is pretty impressive. Aside from the fact that it “does a body good” by strengthening bones, it’s either the only or one of the only vitamins you get from the sun. Dude, the freakin’ sun. Don’t over do it and end up with skin cancer. 10 minutes of running around on a bright sunny day is enough to get things going. I digress and on with the show.

What It Does:

This fat-soluble vitamin has a range of benefits:
• Helps bones absorb calcium
• Prevents osteoporosis – makes your bones harder to break
• Prevents tumors – so no, it’s really not a tumor
• Reduces the risk of some cancers, i.e. colon, prostate & breast
• Prevents rickets (commonly found in children, it is softening of bones that can lead to fractures and deformity) – not an English game

Where to Get It:

Let’s get down to it. You guys probably thought milk was the best place to get vitamin D. Sorry, but no. If you’re a fan of skim or fat free milk, you also fail. I mentioned before that vitamin D was a fat-soluble vitamin. This means you need consume fat while you are consuming vitamin D, unless you get it from the sun. The fat you eat is what helps your body absorb the vitamin. Yeah I know the whole scare routine for fat. Look I’m not telling you to eat a bacon cheeseburger with fries and a shake when you want to absorb some Vit-D. Only and idiot would think that. A glass of whole or 2% will suffice, as will a slice of avocado.

Back to milk. Most milk is fortified with vitamin D because the natural amount found in it comes from the cow. How much is originally in said milk depends on how much sun the cow gets, which may not be a lot if you get milk from a factory farm. Your best bet is oily fish or 2% milk with vitamin D fortification.

When a label says a food product is fortified with something, that means the vitamin was added to it. Cereals commonly have labels that say “fortified with x, y, or z vitamin.” They can fortify fat free and skim milk all they want. If you’re not ingesting some fat with it, you won’t absorb it.

Foods naturally high in vitamin D:
• Fish liver oils
• Oily/fatty fish - such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, tuna*, cooked eel
• Eggs – but you have to eat the whole thing, not just the whites
• Cooked beef liver

*A word about tuna: Tuna is kind of a bottom feeder fish, which means it can be high in mercury. Women who are pregnant or nursing should check with their doctor, not just about tuna and other fish, but about general nutrition and what they need to have a healthy baby and keep themselves healthy as well. We all know, no healthy moms = no healthy babies. Take care of yourselves ladies; you make the world go round.

Foods commonly fortified with vitamin D:
• Milk
• Cereal
• Orange juice
• Yogurt
• Cheese
• Infant formulas

So when mom says, “Breakfast is the most important part of the day,” she’s not blowing smoke.

What Happens When You Don’t:

This is the more sinister part of the tour. A vitamin D deficiency is nothing to sneeze at. It can cause major havoc with your major organs, as in your kidneys and liver.

You can run the risk of:
• Kidney disorders
• Liver damage
• Various cancers
• Rickets in children – which is why eating right during pregnancy is so important
• Osteoporosis
• And something called Osteomalacia which is SO messed up; you should go to the Wiki to read more about it.

The controversies:

It wouldn’t be planet Earth without people sharing ideas that piss somebody off. One of the articles listed in the sources at the top of the entry mentions skin coloration having an effect on how much vitamin D is absorbed in x amount of time. Whether or not that's true, it does make you wonder if pigmentation plays a roll in vitamin D absorption. Instead of getting all huffy, take the kids out to the park and catch some rays. Honestly the best way to get the vitamin is to eat a variety of foods that include fortified breakfast items, fish and yes, fats.

Another prickly point is women, osteoporosis and eating. Notice I didn't add “disorders” to the word eating. It’s not up to me to tell you if you’re a head case or not and even though you eat food, are you eating “real” food.

Sub Category – Eating Junk:
You know who you are. These ladies would rather raid the vending machine at work then –gasp- grab a yogurt in the morning or have someone deliver a salad to their desk at work. I realize food is expensive but so are hospital bills for broken bones and, did I mention CANCER. Seriously, grab a friggen yogurt at least twice a week. Don’t like yogurt? Fine. Take a multi vitamin and slug some milk with FAT IN IT.

Sub Category – Not eating at all or eating to little
Does fitting into skinny jeans really matter more than living a full healthy life? If it does, then I need someone to explain it to me. If you don’t eat or you eat to little YOU DIE. Know who people say if you get fat you die, well you die quicker if you don’t eat. Also, there have been studies posted in the New York Times that say the chubby girls are smarter than the skinny girls. We also live longer. That means when you’re dead but looking fabulous in that envelope you call a coffin, we’ll be doin' the nasty with your boyfriend, in your Park Ave apartment, with your dog watching. When you don’t eat, your body is not nourished which makes your bones break and your HEART STOP. Get me? A bowl of cereal will not kill you, I swear. Not eating, you might as well get your house in order….

Parting notes:

There’s a reason I listed the sources I used all the way at the top. Reason being, I hope you read what they have to say if you have questions or you don’t believe me. I’m not a certified dietician and I don’t claim to be, but as a person who eats on planet Earth, I thought it might be a good idea to find out WHY I'm eating certain things, WHAT they do to my body and IF I should keep on stuffing my face.

Google, read, ask questions, learn something. If nothing else, you’ll do really well on Jeopardy. ☺

1 comment:

wes said...

Quick clarification, Ultraviolet exposure triggers vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Which is to say that our bodies usually contain the elements needed for such synthesis and exposure to UV radiation acts like a catalyst to set off this process.