Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Vitamin D

[Blog update: Instead of having a regular posting schedule, I'll put something here whenever it comes up, which might mean nothing for a stretch or a lot. It might involve writing, nature, animals, cultural aspects, art, etc., but for now at least, no partisan politics. It's just too far from the election. When we have two candidates and the issues are clearer, then maybe... All right, I might as well admit it, sometimes I need to rant and for now I have a blog for that. If you have that need sometimes, check it out: Rainy Day Rant. It always is as the mood strikes or when the iron is hot!]

 Selfie of Ranch Boss and me-- 9/13/15
I know people who enjoy going to doctors. They get security from the visits, assurance they are all right. I am the opposite. I go when something is wrong, and I can't figure out a way to correct it, which means, with any health issue, the doctor is not my first step. Now, I would not ignore a major symptom like constricting chest pain or blood in urine, but I will delay professional help for most everything else, as I try to assess what I can do about it. Whether the ones who run to doctors frequently or I am more right, it might be trained in us. My mother was a 'not going to the doctor' kind of person also.

So you can imagine that setting up a physical isn't one of those things I do readily. This time it had been about three years when I finally felt I needed to get in for the lab work. I am on a med for blood pressure and one for cholesterol. I can keep track of the blood pressure (it's been fine), but cholesterol is invisible until it causes problems.

It's a good thing to do but my problem is that these days the blood is evaluated for everything. I have this feeling, call it paranoia, that they'll find some marker that wouldn't cause me trouble if they didn't find it.

The appointment was actually more pleasant than I expected. The only real issue was my Vit. D-- still lower than he liked-- especially since I was taking a pretty heavy daily dose of D3. He suggested upping the amount.

When I got home, I looked at my lab work results. Here are what Vitamin D levels mean to my clinic: 10 ng/mL severe deficiency; 10-19 ng/mL mild-moderate deficiency; 20-31 ng/mL Hypovitaminosis; 32-80 ng/mL Optimum levels; over 100 ng/mL possible toxicity.  (My level was 28 ng/mL.)

I wrote about this at Facebook and got responses from those who had their own Vit. D stories-- some up and some down. Where obesity and old age can be an issue in low D levels, the ones who had had deficiencies were younger and on the skinny side-- moreover frequently in the sun-- in a climate more southerly than mine. 

So I got curious about D and found a lot on it. This article is a good example of the current thinking.

According to it, my level would be mid-range and acceptable. When you read all the things that researchers believe about the impact of low D, it's easy to see where my doctor wanted to be proactive. He suggested taking 5000 IU a day, which is a small increase from where I have been.

I learned something else as I read and it surprised me. I am one of those who is gluten sensitive. Neither my doctor nor I believe I have Celiac (which other articles say can be connected to Low D), but I learned a few years ago that eating gluten led to low belly pain for me. I also learned that I could, after having been off it for many months, cheat now and then without the pain. 

This summer, knowing I could cheat led to doing it more and then more. After several months of that, the pain began and took maybe two weeks to get myself back to where I'd been-- none or normal abdominal discomfort. Cheating is over for awhile

During those two weeks, I watched everything I ate to avoid anything that might produce gas. That meant more than the usual number of eggs (my favorite food). I began to feel more energy, which I didn't equate to anything, until I read one source of Vit. D is egg yolk. So maybe I was improving my D level without thinking about it, and it might be why I felt that increased energy. 

They have made such a huge deal out of sun wrinkling our skin and giving us skin cancer that many elders stay out of it, wear long sleeves and hats, as well as use high level sun screen, which means no sun rays getting through to create D in the body. I had read articles about doctors suggesting this obsession has led to other more serious health problems than needing to have an occasional skin cancer removed. 

Below is another article. This one suggesting how we can get our D-- and it includes sunshine.

It's all about balance-- everything is, but if D really helps with mental acuity, heart health and avoiding cancer, it's worth getting blood levels tested once in awhile-- even if it means going to the doctor.

When I left my appointment, with my doctor giving me the thumbs up, I said see you in two or three years. He smiled and said-- one! I guess we'll see.


robin andrea said...

I got my vitamin d levels up with sunlight when we lived in Grass Valley. The doctor was quite surprised. It is a bit more difficult to get vitamin d from the sun in higher latitudes in winter, so I really work at supplementing then. During the foggiest times here in summer, I also supplement with 2000 units a day. My latest blood tests were back in the normal range, which was quite a relief. I have read that it is a bit harder to derive vitamin d from the sun as we age. Not sure why that may be true. I think there is a lot more room for research on this incredibly essential "vitamin."

I also avoid doctors whenever I can!

Rain Trueax said...

What surprised the doctor with me is that with taking 4000 IU a day, I was not getting it up. That may be the gluten intolerance combined with overweight and I really am not out in direct sunlight much but when I am I was using sunscreen or hats. When in Arizona this year, I guess I'll hike some without screen and put it on part way maybe. One good thing, my bone density is quite good; so it's not going to lead to osteoporosis for it to be low-- plenty of other ways to be concerned though. The other thing I remind myself is they keep changing what level is normal.

Ugich Konitari said...

You know, I live in a tropical country, India, and our travel to work involves walking in the sun, we tan a lot etc etc. You would think we would have excellent Vit D levels. But this is not true. I got mine checked in 2010 and was deficient. Have been taking supplements and swallowing ampules of hospital recommended stuff since then.

Turns out that a lot of the room freshners, sprays, insectisides , and cosmetic chemicals that we end up using, release lots of particulate matter in the air which our skins absorb. This has reduced the ability of the skin to absorb what it naturally could, from the sun. Deficiency and insufficent D3 has led to lot of things like depression tendencies, cancers, diabetes, neural problems and stuff, which , say, our parents clearly did not have such a prevalence of in their lives.

I posted this in 2010 http://kaimhanta.blogspot.in/2010/12/d3-to-rescue.html


Rain Trueax said...

Thanks for the information, Ugich. They've been telling us more about the lack of D and what it does. The interesting thing to me is the ones who have been deficient don't seem to fit the usual 'suspects' of obese, old, or living in northern zones. I wonder if it's genetic.