Grab Bag Health Changer:
Vitamin D Focus
I have been gathering information for this post for months now. I think, at this point, it may be safe to say that when it comes to Vitamin D and recommended levels, we still don’t know everything we don’t know. BUT…. evidence has been building in the last three years that our RDA of Vitamin D is FAR too low. And it’s not as easy to get Vitamin D naturally as we thought. Not only that, but evidence is nearly undeniable now that the vast majority of us are Vitamin D deficient.
So what might THAT mean? Alarms are sounding in so many corners of the medical field that it’s making heads spin. From heart attacks to neurological function, from autoimmune diseases to bone strength, and overwhelmingly in the prevention of certain cancers, this nutrient seems to play a vital role and is drastically underrepresented in the general population.
How do you know where you stand? Get tested. I did, and I am on the low end of the spectrum (32 mg/mL). I get pretty decent sun exposure, but usually early mornings, not mid-day.
There are two tests for Vitamin D, and you want to make sure you are getting the 25(OH)D test. The confusion comes in assessing what is an adequate or optimal 25(OH)D level. So much is changing so quickly with all the research that is being done, and the “acceptable” range in your test results is probably still too low. The general consensus today is that 30-60 ng/mL is acceptable. Many sources are supporting the 50 ng/mL level as optimally healthy. While my 32 ng/mL result didn’t show I was “too low” according to the test result range, I feel I want to be “optimally healthy”, and closer to 50 ng/mL.
WHY DON’T WE GET ENOUGH?
For decades, Vitamin D was a nutrient that we were told not to supplement, as it came from the sun, and was added to milk, and that would be plenty. But with the industrial age came the shift to indoor factory and office jobs. And then we learned more about the dangers of skin cancer, and along came lots of sunblocks, and fear of the sun, and the pendulum swung so far that many people now do not get enough sunlight on their skin to synthesize Vitamin D in adequate amounts. So how do we get enough?
A Tufts University health newsletter outlines a sound, conservative approach to Vitamin D synthesis: Get 15-20 minutes of direct, MID-DAY(!) sun exposure 2-3 times a week on your body (if not torso, at least arms and legs… FYI… facial skin is not very good at synthesizing Vitamin D). Some sources say to get this amount EVERY day. Darker skinned people need more, as will people who live farther north than Los Angeles. I’m pretty sure most adults I know do not get this amount of mid-day, sunblock-free, arms-and-legs sun exposure every week.
This is another route to better Vitamin D levels, especially in winter. But the tanning beds in the tanning booths are probably not the kind of exposure you need. Vitamin D synthesis relies on UVB rays, and you will need to make sure that the sun lamp or tanning bed you use is broad-spectrum and includes UVB rays. 10-15 minutes of this light at least 2-3 times a week is the minimum recommendation.
For many who find themselves with lower levels, supplements are likely the easiest way to go. Certainly all of us should be considering this in the winter months. Forget the RDA of 400 IUs… it is ridiculously antiquated. General recommendations are now advising at least 1,000 IUs each day. Recent research shows no danger at levels of 4,000 IUs a day.
Or you could always go with a big spoonful of cod liver oil… it’ll give you about 1,500 IUs 🙂 Mmmmmm.
If you are on the low end, and feel you want to increase your Vitamin D levels for precautionary health benefits, increase your UVB exposure and/or take supplementary D for 3-6 months, and then re-test.
For further reading on the subject, check out this great link to this University of Washington site, which includes graphs, charts, and great information.
Grab Bag Sweet Treat Tip:
Admit it. There are those times when your imagination fills with the creamy cool delight of freshly scooped ice cream. The craving becomes nearly irresistible. The only realization that might halt the ice cream scoop is the awareness of what that much sugar and fat actually do in your system. Here is my favorite ice cream surrogate:
Half a papaya (WELL refrigerated… gotta be cold to get the ice cream vibe) with a big dollop of low-fat cottage cheese in the hollow (there’s your creamy spin). Really yummy.
Grab Bag Matters:
From the Every Monday Matters book and website:
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
In the world:
- 8.4 million adults are victims of identity fraud annually.
- Over $50 billion is stolen from victims of identity theft every year.
- $5,720 is the average fraud amount per victim.
- 25 hours per victim is the average time required to resolve identity theft and its consequences.
- $6,270 is the average amount lost by people aged 25–34, the group that experiences the highest rate of identity fraud at 5.4%.
- 63% of identity information is obtained through traditional methods, such as lost or stolen wallets; misappropriation by family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors; and stolen mail or trash.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
- Use a paper shredder for important documents like credit applications, credit offers, insurance forms, physician statements, bank statements, and expired charge cards.
- Deposit outgoing mail in collection boxes located inside the post office.
- Promptly remove mail from your home or business mailbox.
- Don’t carry your Social Security card with you.
- Keep personal information in a safe and secure location at home.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or are sure you know with whom you are dealing.
- Create passwords that are random combinations of numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lowercase letters.
- Quiz your knowledge about identity theft.
- Order a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. Only access your report online via your own computer.
- Check your online bank statement on a regular basis.
When someone steals your name, social security number, and credit, they steal YOU. Victims of identity theft may lose job opportunities, be refused loans for housing, cars, and education, and even get arrested for crimes they didn’t commit. Taking simple measures to protect yourself could save you time, money, credit damage, frustration, anger, and possibly humiliation. You protect your personal belongings. Why not protect your identity?
Grab Bag “You’re Never Too Old” Moment:
Many thanks to Jeannie P. for sending this delightful clip along.
Fran & Marlo Cowan (married 62 years) play an impromptu recital together in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic. He turned 90 in February.
Grab Bag Squirrely Fascination:
Thanks to Pat M for sending this one a few months back. I’m thinking both squirrel and course-maker have too much time on their hands:
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Test your memory with Crime Scene Shuffle
Grab Bag Funny Stuff:
• If you can’t fix it with a hammer, you’ve got an electrical problem.
• Remember – Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
• If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives. Then, you’ll be afraid to cough.
• A mousetrap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.
… And, here are some wonderfully awkward family portraits. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to see these peeking out of next season’s greeting cards??
So THAT’S how all this started…
Merry Christmas from Mulletville
So very colorful and festive. What a lovely family.
Sadly, the sweater isn’t distracting enough.
He thought the pajama top would make him look silly….
Does she know there’s some creepy guy who snuck into the picture?
The power of genetics….
New photo editing program: Sharpie 2.0
Double the pleasure, double the fun.
The girls will never forget their first Crossbow Christmas.