Baby Boomers: Be Sure You Are Getting Enough Vitamin D

Prior to the last year or two, I had no knowledge of the health benefits of vitamin D or the negative consequences of not getting enough of it. More important, I never paid attention to my own vitamin D levels. That all changed yesterday when my new primary care physician emailed me about my lab results.

Overall, my doc was happy about my lab work. My total cholesterol was slightly above the preferred range but my ratio of total cholesterol to HDL was under 3:1, so he was not particularly concerned. I’m not either. Indeed, I am skeptical about a lot of the conventional wisdom about correlations between cholesterol numbers and health outcomes. Nevertheless, I am going to increase the intensity of my exercise to see how that affects my cholesterol levels. We will re-check it in a few months. If that doesn’t move the needle, he suggested I try a non-prescription supplement which has been shown to help.

What my doctor was concerned about was my apparent vitamin D deficiency. The optimal level is 30-100 ng/mL. Mine was 19 ng/mL. Ouch.

He wants me on a supplement. Based on what I have been reading recently about the critical importance of vitamin D to our overall health, I’m definitely taking this advice.

If you were like me and generally ignorant about the significance of vitamin D to a healthy body, let me give you some quick hitters with links:

First, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression and to chronic pain.

Vitamin D has been shown to be beneficial in lowering incidence of certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer and perhaps breast cancer.

A major study is now underway to confirm the belief that vitamin D plays a role in the prevention of diabetes.

Even more concerning for me and perhaps other baby boomers is that vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be a risk factor for heart attack and other cardiovascular disease.  Older adults with low levels of vitamin D (and there are lots of them) die from cardiovascular disease at greater rates than those with healthy vitamin D levels.

Finally, aren’t we all worried about dementia as we age? Well, low levels of vitamin D may damage the brain and lead to impaired cognitive functioning. That is scary stuff.

Dr. Mercola writes a lot about vitamin D on his site. This article may get your attention.

It’s hard to ignore all of this science.

Keep in mind that I am talking about vitamin D deficiency here. Other studies indicate that adults with healthy levels of vitamin D probably do not benefit from taking a supplement.

I’m not sure why my vitamin D level is low. I suspect that its because I’m not out in the sun enough during the winter. I walk outside almost everyday but that is very limited exposure. I eat a lot of vitamin D healthy food but apparently that is not enough. If my level is low, I suspect that many of you may be at risk.

So I have ordered some vitamin D3 capsules. I’ve also ordered vitamin K2 capsules because some studies show that they work together to promote cardiac health. My doc wants to re-test me in the spring.

Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, go find out and stay healthy.


Comments

  1. Jerlocarb says

    I’m not. My doc just ordered me to take 50k IU of vit D once a week to bring my level up. I don’t know how it got so low. I go out for walks and bike rides whenever the weather is decent. I go for a follow up in 3 months. I’ll be 66 pretty soon. I need to convince my DW we need to go someplace sunny for winter when she retires in a year or two. I have my heart set on the San Diego area, maybe even Rosarito, Mexico.

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