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Monday, November 21, 2016

Tone Down the Vitamin D

Once thought to be an essential daily supplement, especially during these not-so-sunny winter months, Vitamin D devotees are now getting a warning from doctors. New research from      The New England Journal of Medicine shows that people are taking the vitamin far too liberally, and some doctors are issuing costly, unnecessary blood tests to track its deficiency.

While Vitamin D is an important contributor to healthy bones, like calcium, the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is being routinely exceeded by patients fearing things like arthritis, osteoporosis, and even cancer, heart disease, and diabetes--also thought to be triggered by a deficiency of the vitamin.

In reality, research suggests that only 6% of Americans, aged 1 to 70 years old, are actually Vitamin D-deficient. Testing for Vitamin D levels is also at an all-time high. It is Medicare’s fifth most common test, following cholesterol levels, and just ahead of blood sugar levels, and prostate cancer screenings.

The spike in testing may be attributed to reports over the past several years that those who don’t get enough sunshine, typically during the winter, are at risk of a deficiency. Exposure to the sun helps our skin make Vitamin D, but it is also readily available in dietary sources such as milk and dairy products, fatty fishes, and fortified cereals and grains.

The bottom line is that you probably are already getting enough Vitamin D (600 to 800 IU daily), even more than you realize. And unless you have other risk factors recognized by your doctor, there is no need for regular blood testing.

Too much Vitamin D can even be harmful and lead to issues like nausea, constipation, and kidney stones…none of which are pleasant!

If you are concerned about your Vitamin D intake and would like to speak with one of our physicians, please contact us for an appointment.

(Adapted from the Austin American-Statesman)

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