The Vitamin Trap: Fixing a Vitamin D Deficiency
At a recent doctor appointment my husband was told he had a Vitamin D deficiency. Not fully aware of all that comes with this deficiency, I headed to Google to do a quick search. Turns out this is a very common diagnosis for African Americans, especially those of us with darker hues.Vitamin D is one of several essential vitamins necessary to foster a healthy life. Vitamin D aids muscles movement, enables the immune system in fighting off bacteria and viruses and helps the body absorb calcium, preventing brittle bones also known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Recent preliminary studies show that darker African Americans (higher melanin content) have a harder time absorbing ultra-violet rays from the sun, the best source of Vitamin D. These studies have also linked this inability to produce enough Vitamin D to several diseases that plague our community including certain types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, melanoma and autism.
The common treatment for this deficiency is a supplement prescribed by your doctor or an OTC brand, not being a fan of pills I decided to find other ways to increase our Vitamin D levels. Here are few ways I’ve found:
- Fortified Milk: Mostly all milk in the U.S is vitamin D fortified and will provide you with a small does. Other dairy products are usually not, but make sure to check the labels.
- Fortified Orange Juice: Many brands now make a fortified version of their juices. Florida’s Natural is one.
- Cod Liver Oil: Most of us have had cod liver oil in one form or another and have hated it. But one tablespoon full is 1300 IUs, more than twice the daily suggested allowance. Now that it comes in flavors it will probably make it easier to go down.
- Egg Yolks: We have all become a fan of egg whites but the yolk of the egg contains a small amount of Vitamin D. You will not be able to get your daily dose but it’s a good way to start.
- Go Fishing: Salmon, mackerel and wild catfish; a 3.5 ounce filet of any of these oily fish will provide you with 350-360 IUs or half of the suggested allowance. Canned Tuna and sardines are also good sources and can help with reducing cost.
I’m making a change in my home to ensure we are all getting the suggested daily dose and I hope you all will do the same. This is essential to your well being!