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Jeffrey B. Brown, MD
Could You Need Vitamin D?
Affinity Health Medical Weight Loss

Could You Need Vitamin D?

There is growing evidence of the importance of having adequate amounts of vitamin D in the body. It turns out that vitamin D interacts with more than 2,700 sites in the human genome; these sites are thought to be involved in virtually every known major disease of humans. Low levels of vitamin D in the body have been associated with many diseases such as

Heart disease



High blood pressure

Kidney disease

Certain types of cancers

Your body is designed to make all the vitamin D it needs simply by sunlight interacting with your skin cells. About 15-30 minutes a day of direct sunlight produces enough vitamin D for the body, but the sunlight must be the type of intense sunlight you get near the equator in tropical places.

Low vitamin D levels or vitamin D deficiency is essentially a product of our civilized indoor lifestyle. Since we typically wear lots of sun block and long-sleeved clothing, and mostly live in non-tropical locations, our bodies are not making enough vitamin D.

It can be almost assumed that if you live in North America above Florida, you are vitamin D deficient. Another important point is the darker your skin, the less sunlight can interact with your skin cells to make vitamin D.

The other source of vitamin D for the body is from the food we eat, but unfortunately it is rarely found in foods that have not been fortified food to which vitamin D has been added. The few natural food source of vitamin D are fatty fish, egg yolks and liver.

Chances are you're not going to get enough vitamin D from your diet and you're probably not going to get enough sunlight exposure; therefore, you must do something to avoid this potentially very serious health problem.

The simplest way to approach this potential health problem for all people, and particularly people of color is to have your blood vitamin D level checked by your health care provider. More and more doctors today are realizing the importance of checking for vitamin D deficiency by ordering the right blood test, 25 hydroxy-vitamin D or 25(OH) D.

If your blood level is too low, make the proper adjustments to your diet and your health care provider needs to recommend the right amount of vitamin D supplement to get your levels within a normal range. Current standard of normal range for vitamin D is 30-74 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), but 50 ng/mL would be ideal.

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