D3 The Winter Vitamin

Wintertime means less sunlight. Many say taking a vitamin D supplement is needed during the winter month since you're not getting as much from the sun.

Vitamin D insufficiency is more prevalent among African Americans (blacks) than other Americans and, in North America, most young, healthy blacks do not achieve optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations at any time of year. This is primarily due to the fact that pigmentation reduces vitamin D production in the skin in climates with low sunlight. This problem is exacerbated when many black men spend most of their days indoors working a nine to five.

The median vitamin D intakes of American blacks are below recommended intakes in every age group, with or without the inclusion of vitamin D from supplements. Despite these low 25(OH)D levels, blacks have lower rates of osteoporotic fractures than Caucasians. Probably due to bone-protective adaptations that include an intestinal resistance to the negative actions of D3 (Constipation is a possible side effect of taking too much vitamin D3 the form of D that the body produces from sunlight). and a skeletal resistance to the actions of parathyroid hormone (PTH). However, these mechanisms may not fully mitigate the harmful skeletal effects of low D3 and elevated PTH in blacks, at least among older individuals.

Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly apparent that vitamin D protects against other chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers, all of which are as prevalent or more prevalent among blacks than whites because of the lifestyle choices that ;limit daily sunlight. Clinicians and educators should be encouraged to promote improved vitamin D status among blacks (and others) because of the low risk and low cost of vitamin D supplementation and its potentially broad health benefits. Vitamin D is important to the health of every system in the body, and yet many people do not get the recommended amount. “Many, many Americans — almost half — are vitamin D deficient,” says David O. Meltzer, MD, PhD, the chief of hospital medicine at University of Chicago Medicine. “But we know that in excess of three quarters of people with darker skin, including African Americans and Hispanics, are vitamin D deficient.” Healthy intake of vitamin D3 should be a part of Every African Americans diet as a preventative measure to avoid illness.

Vitamin D deficiency worldwide affects 2 billion people! Because vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are common, many people use vitamin D supplements to maintain healthy vitamin D levels. Vitamin D supplements are considered very safe, and toxicity is uncommon. This is because a healthy person would need to take extremely large doses of vitamin D over time in order to reach toxic or dangerous levels in the body. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from the food you eat. In fact, this is one of its most important roles. However, if your vitamin D intake is excessive, your blood calcium may reach levels that can cause unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, dehydration, kidney stones and excessive urination. If you are in one of those high-risk populations, such as someone with a darker skin tone, someone who is elderly, someone who has diabetes, then the benefits of vitamin D supplementation far outweigh the risks talk to your physician and enjoy the winter!