Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vitamins 2.0

As a continuation of my last post on vitamins, I decided to focus on the health affects of Vitamin D. For those of you out there who don't know, Vitamin D is an important vitamin found in a variety of foods including milk and certain fish species such as salmon, tuna, and herring. The cool thing about vitamin D is that we can also make it in our own bodies- all we need is to be exposed to sunlight. In our bodies, vitamin D is responsible for helping the body absorb its required calcium, regulates certain hormones and also plays a role in the immune response. Deficiency can lead to rickets, a condition in which the bones become soft and brittle.

In a article I read recently (which may or may not have been from the Science Times), researchers have demonstrated on various occasions that consuming adequate amounts of Vitamin D is linked to good health outcomes. Researchers also noted that many Americans feel that they are consuming enough Vitamin D, but few actually do. These studies have shown that consuming high levels of Vitamin D is associated with fewer colds, decreased incidence of cancer, decreased bone fractures, to name a few. Also, researchers noted that individuals with Type I diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis tended to have lower levels of Vitamin D. From this data, it truly seems like Vitamin D is the superman of vitamins.

While I admit that these results are pretty convincing, it is important to realize that everything can be bad if taken in large enough quantity. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that the body has a harder time removing it than other vitamins. Furthermore, consuming too much Vitamin D will cause the intestines to absorb too much calcium, which leads to deposits in places like the heart and lungs. The moral of this story, like my post last week, is to strive to maintain a well-rounded diet. Fish like salmon have many health benefits outside of their ability to contribute vitamin D. Consuming low-fat milk or even skim milk, an important source of vitamin d and it provides lean protein. Finally, if anyone wanted to further research this stuff, the NY Times has their own Vitamin D page. Here's the link:

1 comment: