Vitamin D Supplementation VS Catching Some Rays

At first blush, it may seem like those Vitamin D peddlers out there are trying to get your money by selling you stuff that you don’t really need and can get for free. Just ask a question of a multibillion dollar multinational company like NESTLE “excuse me, but who the hell buys stuff that they can get for free, like water?” and see what Powerpoint projects and quantity of statistics the management suits come back with!

Taking a little closer look at the wealth of credible information (published by WHO, etc.) concerning Vitamin D deficiency, however and you will come away with a more informed outlook. What you find are some astounding statistics staring aggressively back at you. Estimates indicate that upwards of 50% of the world’s population suffers from VitD deficiency to some extent or other.

Although a few hours out in the noonday sun can supply a whopping 10,000–25,000 IU of VitD (and this form is likely to be more easily processed by and remain in your body for a longer period of time than any oral version currently available), there exists all manner of confounding factors that have the potential to hinder or otherwise interfere with the physiological and biochemical processes leading to the manufacture of your own private supply of this very important vitamin.

Here’s a shortlist of some of these confounding factors: age, kidney or liver conditions, genetics (possessing the right VDR alleles will be helpful), race and skin type (darker skinned people need more sunlight to manufacture the same amount of vitamin D3 than lighter skinned individuals), sunscreens (oh yes, they do keep you from getting sun damage and skin cancer, but at a price) and certain medical conditions, including AIDs. Seems a lot of things out there in the real world can create processing headaches for you and get in the way of all those freebies.

Here’s another shortlist, this time of what comes with not getting the required dose of VitD:

  • Fatigue
  • General muscle pain and weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Restless sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Headaches
  • Bladder problems
  • muscle wastage
  • Lack of growth

Hmm you say to yourself, kind of scary.

Surprisingly, Mama Nature herself provides few good food sources of VitD. Mushrooms are pretty decent sources of VitD2 (there are 5 versions of VitD) and, of course there are the unnaturally fortified dairy products, if you happen to be a milk drinker and don’t mind the lactose.

Unless you are often found out in the backyard happily gathering tasty but awfully hard-to-find truffles, surfing a few sets of bodacious shapes out at Pt. Magu and/or swigging down litres of fortified milk products throughout the year, you might consider supplementation to be advantageous.

Think of it as a cheap form of insurance.

Footnote: An extensive review of the state of world vitamin D deficiency can be found here: Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin

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