And, what “health habit” am I referring to here? Lathering on the sunscreen! That’s right – all the while you thought you were protecting yourself from skin cancer, you were actually making it much more likely that you would develop a more serious form of cancer (such as breast, colon, or prostate cancer) as well as a host of other ailments. Why? Because you were creating a Vitamin D deficiency.
Is Vitamin D actually THAT important? I have been surprised to learn that it is. Recently I have been reading through, The Vitamin D Solution, by Michael Holick. Holick may as well be named “Dr. Vitamin D.” I doubt that anyone in the world who is more versed on the subject of Vitamin D than he is. And, echoing Dr. Eades, Cordain, Wolf, Sisson, etc. he would suggest that most of us are not receiving adequate Vitamin D intake.
Here is the test that he developed to determine if you are at risk:
- I rarely go out in the sun.
- I wear sunblock or cover up my skin when I go out in the sun, especially during the summer months or when I am outside in the middle of the day.
- My wardrobe typically covers most of my skin, including arms and legs.
- I live above 35 degrees latitude in the Northern Hemisphere (north of Atlanta and L.A.)
- I live below 35 degrees latitude in the Southern Hemisphere (south of Sydney, Santiago, or Buenos Aires)
- I do not take a multivitamin along with a Vitamin D supplement every day.
- I do not eat wild, oily fish two to three times a week.
- I do not eat a lot of mushrooms.
- I drink fewer than ten glasses of fortified milk or orange juice a day.
- I am naturally dark-skinned or am of African or Hispanic descent.
- I am older than 60.
- I am younger than twenty.
- I am overweight and carry a considerable amount of extra fat.
- When I press firmly on my sternum or shins, I feel pain.
- I feel like I have less energy and muscle strength than I should.
- I take anti-seizure of AIDS medication.
- I take glucocorticoids (prednisone).
- I have celiac disease.
- I have intestinal disease.
- I have had gastric bypass surgery.
If you would say “yes” to a few of those, it is quite likely that you have a Vitamin D deficiency. You may want to have a blood test to determine if your levels are adequate. Be sure to request the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test (also called 25 (OH) D test) so that you are tested correctly.
And, just because you are eating right doesn’t mean that your levels are high enough. I just found out last week that my Vitamin D level is insufficient and for some reason (although I answered “yes” to several of the above questions) I was still surprised.
In the next couple of posts I will share with you the best ways to restore your Vitamin D levels. Should you take supplements? Should you sunbathe? What about tanning beds? Stay tuned to find out. 🙂
(Photo credit: solarnavigator.net Quiz: p. 146 The Vitamin D Solution)
(This post is part of Monday Mania 3/28/11 at http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2011/03/monday-mania-3282011/)