The Alphabet of Vitamins: Vitamin D
Vitamin D: The truth behind the mustache
“Got milk?” This advertisement has become a part of commercial Americana, constantly urging you to drink more milk because supposedly this is a good source of vitamin D and calcium. We see countless celebrities, models, and athletes wearing the famous milk mustache to support this claim. Since they look healthy on the outside we automatically assume they know what they are talking about. However, is there really any truth behind the mustache?—Caroline Charlton
Vitamin D Deficiency and the Consequences
In my practice, I have my clients get blood work done and I discover so many of them are deficient in vitamin D. Initially, I was surprised because we live in sunny San Diego! Nevertheless, there is a lot of confusion out there about how to obtain adequate levels of vitamin D.
Although having a blood test done is the most accurate way to test for vitamin D deficiency, here are a few signs that may indicate you are deficient:
- Being over weight or obese
- Suffering from gut issues including gas, bloating, IBS, and difficulty digesting foods
- Chronic fatigue or low energy
- Aches in your bones
- Frequent head sweats
- Consistently working out and still not seeing any muscle development
Debunking Myths and Outlining Benefits
Now lets debunk a few myths that are out there. First and foremost, vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, shocker I know! It is a steroid hormone that is absorbed from UVB rays, food, or supplementation.
Vitamin D helps to regulate a stable nervous system and proper heart function. It improves absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus required for healthy bone and teeth formation.
It affects about 3,000 of your genes, which is why it strongly impacts ailments such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, and heart disease.
Vitamin D and Cancer
Cancer in particular has become an epidemic disease in the United States. I myself have lost a parent and childhood friend to cancer and I know this disease has impacted many of us.
There is countless empirical research that shows the crucial role vitamin D can have in cancer. According to Dr. Cedric Garland, Professor of Family and preventive medicine at UCSD School of Medicine, over 200 epidemiological studies have linked vitamin D to certain cancers.
Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., an internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, conducted a study that found about 30 percent of cancer deaths, relatively to two million worldwide and 200,000 in the United States, could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D.
“I can get vitamin D from the sun!”—depends…
A common myth is that if you are tan you are getting plenty of vitamin D. Not true! Although vitamin D is called the “sunshine” vitamin there is a catch.
If you are driving in the car, sitting inside or anywhere that has windows and the sun is penetrating through, you may be end up with a tan but you are not getting vitamin D! This is because the glass is filtering out the UVB rays which are the only rays from the sun that stimulate vitamin D production through your skin.
UVA rays are longer rays that give you a tan and are linked to skin cancer. In order to absorb vitamin D from the sun you need to be outdoors where the UVB rays pass through the atmosphere and can reach you on earth. If you live in an area that has heavy winters and little sunshine, it is best to supplement during these times.
Good Sources—not milk
Now you may be asking, “How can I boost my vitamin D levels?” It is a misconception that you get Vitamin D from milk. You would need 30-50 glasses in order to get the recommended daily dose! Top food sources include:
Wild Salmon, Cod, Herring, Oysters, and Steelhead Trout
Supplementing with fermented cod liver oil and fish oil are great ways to get vitamin D. These are the highest sources of vitamin D and help to balance brain chemistry, which affects depression.
When choosing a quality fish oil make sure that the liquid is a dark color (a light color means there were impurities in the oil and it needed to be highly processed in order to get the impurities out) and the EPA and DHA add up to 1,000mg.
Haas, M.D., E. (2006). Vitamin D. In Staying Healthy with Nutrition (pp. 98-101). New York City: Ten Speed Press.
Weller, C.C.N., P. (2011). Vitamin D. In The Power of Nutrient Dense Food (pp. 41-45). San Diego: Deerpath Publishing Company.
Mercola, M.D., J. (2014, May 28). 7 Signs You May Have a Vitamin D Deficiency. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
Mercola, M.D., J. (2008, December 16). My 1-Hour Lecture on Vitamin D. Retrieved November 8, 2014, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/16/my-one-hour-vitamin-d-lecture-to-clear-up-all-your-confusion-on-this-vital-nutrient.aspx
Vitamin D. (2014, October 1). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0012661/?report=details
Rosemary Wild Salmon with Sautéed Organic Greens and Mushrooms:
Rosemary Wild Salmon Ingredients:
3 tbsp. of Organic cold-pressed Avocado oil
Himalayan pink salt
Ground black pepper
3 tbsp. of fresh rough chopped rosemary
4 filets of Wild caught Salmon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Rinse off salmon and pat dry
Place salmon in 9×13 glass baking dish
Pour avocado oil over salmon
Sprinkle salt and pepper to your liking
Massage oil and seasonings into the salmon, including the underside
Sprinkle rosemary on top
Place in oven on the top rack for about 20-25mins. depending on thickness of filets, check salmon every 10mins.
Sautéed Organic Greens and Mushrooms Ingredients:
3 cups of your favorite organic leafy greens, I used swiss chard and kale
1 cup of organic mushrooms, I used a blend or porcini, shitake, and baby Portobello
1 cup of sliced onion
4 tbsp. of grass-fed butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. of red pepper flakes
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Himalayan pink salt
Rinse and pat dry greens and mushrooms
Tear greens into big pieces, slice mushrooms and onions into big chunks
In a sauté pan heat butter on medium setting for about 30 sec to a min but keep an eye on it so the butter does not burn
Put in onions and sauté for about 2 mins.
Next, add in mushrooms and season with salt and pepper
When onions become slightly transparent add in greens, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes
Season again with salt and pepper, add more butter if needed
Cook until greens turn a bright green color
Turn off heat and take pan off burner