I think vitamin D is the least of this guy’s worries in the sun… At first I thought his nipples were stickers.
If my life were perfect I’d live near the equator and get plenty of sunshine every day that my body would then naturally use to produce all the vitamin D it needs to be happy, healthy and less insane. Of course, that would also mean the mice that live in my kitchen would sing while cleaning it instead of pooping out a litter of mewling baby mice under my sink that scared me so badly I still get all twitchy every time I reach for the dish soap. (Don’t worry, my husband “disposed” of the disgusting nest before he mocked me for screaming and jumping on a chair. I’m not proud.) But life isn’t perfect and so while I would prefer to get all my nutrients from food and nature, reality precludes this and so I take supplements.
While multi-vitamins in general have gotten a bad rap over the past few years, vitamin D has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. It seems clear from the latest research that a) thanks to sunblock and our indoor lifestyle many people are woefully deficient and b) people need more for overall good health than we previously thought. Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion about what this all means. Vitamin D is especially important to me because every winter I get S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) and the mineral has been shown to help with both SAD and generalized depression, among other things. (I also use a “happy light” every morning which I think helps!) In addition to mood benefits, vitamin D has been shown to help with chronic illnesses, lessen your risk of cancer and diabetes and even help with chronic back pain!
Since I am no expert – not even in baby mouse extraction – I will instead point you to the latest and greatest. Experience Life magazine, known for being very well-researched and fact-checked, has a comprehensive article, “The Vitamin D Debate,” about vitamin D in this month’s issue. I encourage you to read the whole thing but here are some key points:
How much vitamin D do you need?
“In June 2011 the Endocrine Society, whose members are hormone specialists, weighed in with its clinical guidelines for physicians. Considered the Holy Grail of vitamin D recommendations, the Society’s guidelines generally suggested larger daily amounts of vitamin D to prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency than did the IOM: 400 to 1,000 IU for infants less than 1 year old, 600 to 1,000 IU for older children and teenagers, and 1,500 to 2,000 IU for adults. The Society also advised doctors that obese adults might need up to 10,000 IU daily for two months to correct a deficiency.”
Should you take a supplement?
“The ideal approach is to ask your doctor for a vitamin D blood test, which will eliminate the bulk of the guesswork — but not all of it.” (Charlotte’s note: which I have done and it was super helpful!) ” If you don’t currently have a significant deficiency, and if during the summer you spend a lot of time in the sun, with at least your arms and legs exposed, and you are not always slathered with sunscreen, you probably don’t need to take vitamin D supplements. If it’s fall, winter or early spring, if you don’t get a lot of sun exposure, or if you know you are D-deficient, you should definitely take vitamin D supplements. Your need will be greater if you are north of the latitude of Atlanta, since you will make little if any vitamin D from sun exposure during the months of November through March.”
What should you look for in a supplement?
The article says that most health pros recommend vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol. Liquid, gel or solid form apparently doesn’t matter. And “For most people, vitamin D toxicity occurs after taking more than 40,000 IU daily for months. So as long as you’re being moderate in your intake, don’t sweat it.”
Yes my vitamins came with a free sample of diet pills (which I immediately got rid of) and female “stimulating” gel (egads!).
Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that I need to take a vitamin D supplement but also magnesium (I swear to you it’s a lifesaver for PMS) and fish oil. To add to my pill-popping I also take creatine on days I lift heavy (it totally helps both during the workout and with soreness afterward – love it!). And because I’m curious, I also like trying out new supplements that promise to help me with my workout. Enter the new GNC “Ultra Mega Active Vitapaks for women*.” Hyperbolic naming aside, I was really interested in them because they are specially formulated for women who workout. Not only does the vitamin pill have 1600 IU of vitamin D and 100 mg of magnesium for me but it is thankfully formulated without iron and is moderate in folic acid, two of the huge problems with most multis. The pak also includes a fish oil pill, CLA (conjugated lineolic acid) and L-Carnitine – supps supposed to help with fat metabolism and muscle repair – calcium, and an “energy enhancer” (which I set aside since it contains caffeine and we all remember how badly Charlotte reacts to caffeine).
While I am enjoying the vita-paks GNC sent me – I love the flexibility of being able to just take whichever pills I need that day – I had to giggle when I saw what else was in the box: diet pills and a female “enhancing” gel. So apparently women who workout are also supposed to be lusty skinny chicks as well as buff (talk about expectations!). The diet pills went bye-bye immediately and while I didn’t throw out the gel, I’m definitely not going to review it on this blog;)
What’s your take on vitamin D – are you lucky enough to live below Atlanta’s latitude so you can get it au naturel or do you supplement too? Anyone else ever get a weird sample in a package? Also, have you ever seen a baby mouse? (They are not cute critters at all.)
*FitFluential LLC compensated me for this sponsored post. The thoughts and opinions are all my own!