Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Supplements: The Argument for Vitamin D

by Ravi Panjini | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Wellness | January 28th, 2015

Vitamin D supplementation has taken off in alternative medicine in the last five years. The primary function of Vitamin D is to regulate levels of calcium and phosphorous, which promote bone health, in the body.

What has captivated the public and scientists is the potential role of Vitamin D supplementation in improving immune function and numerous diseases. There are increasing studies associating Vitamin D deficiency to certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, dementia and other chronic disease.

The skin uses UV-B radiation from sunlight in Vitamin D synthesis, making it the “sunshine vitamin.” During the summer months, five to 30 minutes of sunlight on the hands, forearms and legs two to three times per week is sufficient.

However, living in a northern latitude such as Fargo, we can’t produce Vitamin D from sunlight during the months of November to February. Since Vitamin D is fat-soluble we have some storage in the body, but without adequate dietary intake we are at risk for a deficiency during the winter months.

From a traditional medicine perspective, Vitamin D supplementation is indicated for patients with diseases or states leading to a deficiency. These patients have a clinical Vitamin D deficiency, meaning their levels are low enough to begin showing symptoms, classically soft bones (osteomalacia) or rickets in children.

Vitamin D supplements are also commonly given to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Since natural food sources of Vitamin D are few, the U.S. has adopted the practice of fortifying foods such as dairy and cereals making deficiencies far less common.

The recent trend of promoting Vitamin D supplementation for the generally healthy population with subclinical deficiencies is fascinating. There are lab studies supporting the role Vitamin D has in improving immune function and lowering blood pressure.

It can also affect levels of glucose in the blood making it a promising adjunctive treatment for diabetes.

Here is where the problem arises.

You must recognize the difference between in vitro and in vivo studies. In vitro studies are performed in the lab; imagine pipets, small vials and petri dishes. In vivo studies are done in animals, ideally in humans.

The underlying mechanisms for the extra-skeletal benefits of Vitamin D have been demonstrated in vitro, but strong evidence showing if supplements produce a clinical effect in humans is still lacking.

Does this mean Vitamin D supplements do not have health benefits in humans? Well, not necessarily.

Studies on Vitamin D, and supplements in general, are difficult to perform. A major reason for this is supplements are not regulated by the FDA like prescription medications. This leads to variances among different brands, simply put, less stringent quality control.

How can you compare one study using supplement “X” to another using supplement “Y?” This is just one of many challenges faced in studying supplements. Epidemiologic studies are promising, so perhaps it is just a matter of time.

If you are currently taking or decide to take a supplement, it is best practice to buy directly from a health practitioner, whether that is your primary care doctor, dietician or chiropractor.

If you don’t have access to one, a knowledgeable health store or pharmacy is the next best bet. Try to find supplements that are third-party tested, so their contents are verified from a separate company. These are small steps that can improve the chances you are getting a quality product.

Like you always hear on every TV ad, “Before starting this drug it is important to consult with your doctor,” this also applies for supplements and should not be disregarded. One major reason for this is there can be interactions with medications you might be taking.

Let’s say you’re on a statin for high cholesterol, which is very common. Statins increase Vitamin D in the body so your requirements for that supplement is likely different than the general public.

Also, it is ideal to know if you have normal liver and kidney function. Bring your supplement bottle with you during your doctor visit and never feel hesitant to say you are taking herbs, supplements or using alternative medicine.

Yes, this winter is soon winding down but it gives you the opportunity to conduct your own research and time to discuss with your doctor.Vitamin D supplements are safe when taken as directed and something to consider adding to your diet in the winter.

RECENTLY IN

Wellness

Tracker Pixel for Entry LionsWay2 Tracker Pixel for Entry SkootersPlumbing

Recently in:

FARGO – The day Tiffany Abentroth stood up before a thousand and more Trump-loving Republicans, she knew the GOP blessing was not within reach. She wasn’t even nervous about it. Still a Marine Corps staff sergeant, she squared…

Last week we talked about my lack of photographic skills and then what the heck am I going to do with all of these bad pictures that I take. Storage options for those pictures continues this week:RAIDAnother storage option is a…

Wednesday, April 25, 9pm-howlingThe Aquarium, 226 Broadway, FargoYou may have heard their sick beats on 95.9 lpfm on Friday's from 5pm-midnight. Now you can dance your pants off in the presence of the minds behind ”The Riverside…

According to Greek mythology Hades is to blame for the Earth’s mournful state of winter. The story involves Persephone the goddess of nature and Hades the god of the underworld in a classic caper of obsession, abduction, and…

Does That Old-Time Religion Signal The End Of Rational Thought?An incident about gender identity in the Maryland Legislature last week magnified a microcosm of what we are going through in the United States about religion in the…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

All About Food

​Oysters

by HPR Staff

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comAs a North Dakota native, raw oysters are just not a food staple that I think about. We are about as far from the coasts as we can get and we have a backyard full of tasty local cuisine, like walleye…

Record Store Day is all about music artists and fans celebrating “the culture of the independently owned record store.” A variety of unique and special releases are pressed for Record Store Day and those are only distributed to…

Leveraging whatever name-brand clout it might carry with the target demographic, “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” -- the onscreen title for the pre and post-credit sequences -- won’t make the kind of impact previously enjoyed by…

There are so many cool places to be in Austin during the South by Southwest Festival -- like the Flatstock Market, which displays the works of the world’s top gig poster artists. The show features posters of varying styles,…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

I consider myself an avid wine drinker, but I recently found out there are more than 10,000 varieties of grapes, and about 1,500 of those are used to make commercial wines. I don’t know about you, but I could probably name about…

A few months ago, I was introduced to the concept of probiotics and how they work with our bodies. I would never have guessed the change that occurred after their introduction into my system.I always considered myself a fairly…

By Melissa Martin melissamartincounselor@live.com “I’m sorry” are two vital words to be used in relationships because human beings are imperfect people living in imperfect environments. Ask yourself the following…

Calm was the day in late JulyAnd bright was the sun across the skyBut inside his chest the calm had brokenGovernor Sinner had started croakin’.I laughed the first time I read that, and I’m still laughing every time I think…