Thursday, January 05, 2012

Today's Lesson - Vitamin D

A few weeks ago I went in for my yearly physical.  Instead of my general practitioner, this year I saw a nurse practitioner that I know from church.  I'm glad I did!  Besides the usual labs to check cholesterol, thyroid and such, she asked if she could check my Vitamin D levels.  I saw no harm in that.  I didn't expect there to be any problem, though.

I was wrong!  It turns out that I  am low in Vitamin D.  When I got that phone call I went online to refresh my memory on what I knew about Vitamin D.  I found a lot of new information on Vitamin D, including a lot of articles suggesting that daily requirements may be much more than once believed.  My friend put me on a recovery treatment of some pretty high doses of Vitamin D for 7 days of each of the next 5 months, with moderately high doses on the other days of those 5 months.  Of course I checked on these doses at reputable sites online to be sure this was acceptable treatment.  Because Vitamin D is fat soluble, there is danger in overdosing.  The treatment she put me on is called shock treatment, but it is considered appropriate for my levels.

I was surprised to learn that Crohn's Disease is a risk factor for having low Vitamin D levels.  That could explain my situation,  of course.  I was also surprised to learn that low Vitamin D levels are very, very common for people who live in the colder regions.  It makes sense.  Sunshine is one requirement for producing your own Vitamin D.  When it is cold, even if we do go outside, we cover up most of our skin.

Most of us know that Vitamin D helps us build strong bones but I did not know that it plays a role in our immune system.  Low levels are also associated with some cancers, irritability, depression, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, fatigue and other disorders.  My little internet research was quite enlightening!  If you want to learn more I'd suggest sites such as Mayo Clinic or Center for Disease Control.

I am telling you all this because yesterday I felt more energetic than I have in about 18 months!  Awhile back I'd asked Mike if he remembered the old me, the woman who flitted around the house doing stuff all the time.  Yesterday, I saw that woman again!  Maybe it was a just a good day, or maybe it was that I am catching up on Vitamin D.  At any rate, since I learned this is a common issue, I thought I'd just share a little lesson on Vitamin D today.  

Thanks for coming to class!

disclaimer:  I am NOT a doctor.  See your own medical professional if you think you are low in Vitamin D.

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