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Is Vitamin D In Your Arsenal of Daily Supplements? What's Your Dosage?

For the longest time it was always drummed into us that older women in particular need calcium for strong bones. I was at my gynecologist the other day and while updating my medication / supplementation list and talking about the repeat bone scan, I told her I wasn’t very religious about taking daily calcium these days, favoring eating leafy greens daily instead. She then told me that the recommendations are changed, but to make sure that I was taking Vitamin D.  I personally stop taking Vitamin D during the summer months, thinking I am outdoors enough and should have it covered. Nope, I was informed I should take at least 1000 mg during the summer.

Hmm, I decided to do some research and low and behold look what pops up the same day no less!

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/vitamin-d-supplements-do-not-protect-bones-of-older-women/.

In short, the study found that women with a known deficiency who were given supplementation with Vitamin D did not derive any benefit in “bone density testing, muscle strength measures or a sit-and-stand test, which assesses risk for falls.”. So if you are an older woman, taking higher does of Vitamin D for bone health, you can pretty much return to the recommended dietary allowance of 400-800 IU per day.

However, before you give up your Vitamin D or change your dose please be aware that there are other reasons to take Vitamin D other than for bone health.  Many, myself included take a higher dose of Vitamin D based on available research pointing to Vitamin D benefits in cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.  But there are differing opinions on what best blood level to achieve and what might be considered overkill.  See here  and See Table 1 here

Bottom line, it is known that many in the US are Vitamin D deficient and for different reasons.  It is not found in many food sources and dependent upon where you live, you may not get enough natural sunlight.  Unfortunately the signs and symptoms of deficiency can be very vague – tiredness, aches and pains or in cases of severe deficiency bone pain.  A simple blood test will tell you if you are and you can order it yourself.   You can work with your doctor to determine how much Vitamin D you need to take, to keep you within a range that you feel is appropriate for your circumstances or if you feel comfortable do it your self.  More importantly do be sure to retest periodically.

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