Drink Your Milk: A Day in the Life Sunday

It's sucks not feeling well. I have not been feeling well for months. I used sick days. I never use sick days. I am rarely ever away from the office. That in itself could the problem, but it is actually something else.

 iStockphoto

iStockphoto

After many months of  MD, NP, ENT visits and a pending allergist appointment, we may have gotten to the bottom of what ails me. It's not what was running through the worst case scenarios in my mind but it was all the more surprising.

I am vitamin D deficient.

I am an American. I have a job. I own Apple products. How can this be? With a rolling sigh I heard loud and clear over the airwaves, the nurse explained to me that it is rather common. Even in America. Was I drinking milk and taking my calcium? I was ready to listen.

WebMD reports that Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons:

  • You don't consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. Most of the natural sources include fish/fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, and fortified milk.
  • Your exposure to sunlight is limited. Because the body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if so.
  • You have dark skin. The pigment melanin reduces the skin's ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure.
  • Your kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form. As people age their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.
  • Your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D. Certain medical problems, can affect your ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat.
  • You are obese. People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D.

All in all, this explains a lot. Here's what I am thinking. I should have been taking my calcium, Greek yogurt is not Vitamin D fortified and protecting my skin from age spots and cancer with SPF 50+ all these years wasn't helping the cause. The piece about aging? Nothing of the sort.

You'll find me hanging out at the safe upper limit of 4000 IU of vitamin D for a few months - but don't go there yourself. The Institute of Medicine increased the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D to 600 IU for everyone aged 1-70.

Get some sun, drink some milk, and get off my lawn.