It seems that everyone including doctors, naturopaths, and health enthusiasts, are jumping on the vitamin D bandwagon. And, for good reason…
A deficiency in this essential fat-soluble vitamin can lead to big trouble, especially for your endocrine system and bones.
Traditionally, Rickets was the main disease associated with insufficient vitamin D levels. The consequences are soft bones that create serious deformities. One way to cure this debilitating condition is by supplementing with high doses of vitamin D and calcium. If you have been diagnosed with Rickets, it would be wise to start supplementing!
But, just like every other vitamin and mineral craze that has been introduced into the human food supply via supplementation, we’ve got to be discerning with whether or not it’s the right nutrient for us at the right time.
According to the advisors from the Institute of Medicine, who set the original RDA standard for this nutrient, many folks are high-dosing with vitamin d, and it may not be necessary. “Misunderstandings about the recommended amount of vitamin D have led to misinterpretation of blood tests and many people thinking they need more than they really do, some experts who helped set the levels write in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine. Correctly interpreted, less than 6 percent of Americans ages 1 to 70 are deficient and only 13 percent are in danger of not getting enough.”
Apparently, the marker levels for vitamin D have been significantly increasing over the past 40 years. A recent article in the US National Library of Medicine confirms that the new cut-off markers for vitamin D deficiency will have people that do not have any indictors of an actual deficiency, taking vitamin D. It also concluded that the new levels suggest the no one is able to reach those marker levels and sustain them without supplementing with vitamin D.
I certainly do understand the need for this vital nutrient, but I always question when any craze sweeps the nation, or the world.
Below are some examples of craze’s that turned out to be just plain crazy:
Coo-Coo for Calcium – I remember in the 1980’s women were urged to take high doses of calcium to support their bones. This was a BIG mistake! Bones are made up of more than just calcium – you can read more about that here: (The Big Bone Lie). We now know that excess calcium supplementation can lead to calcification of the soft tissue in the breasts and arteries. And, most recently, a study linked calcium supplementation with higher rates of dementia.  
Fat-free fanatics – in the 1970’s the fat-free craze warned about the dangers of saturated fat and linked it to an increased risk of heart disease. Today, almost 50 years later, we know that this is not true. We need saturated fat (from good quality sources) to help us absorb many of the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Not only that, new studies have shown that a lack of saturated fat has been linked with higher rates of obesity and heart disease.  
Soy, Oh Boy – When it was discovered that soy reduced the risk of breast cancer in Japanese women, people went crazy for it! Soy milk, soy protein, soy chips, soy nuts, soy foods, soy ice-cream and soy meats. This high profile ingredient saturated the food supply. Unfortunately, those initial studies didn’t differentiate between modern highly processed soy foods and traditionally fermented soy foods. Today, we know that there is a BIG difference between the two. Studies have shown that consuming large quantities of non-fermented soy products can negatively affect the thyroid, increase risk of reproductive cancer, and feminize males. Miso, shoyu, natto, tofu, tempeh and tamari are the “good-for-you” soy products.
I could go on and on about the decades of crazes we’ve been subjected to, but I won’t.
I’ll simply say this… be discerning with what you are putting into your body and why. Don’t just take something because it’s trendy.
If you’re looking for a healthy dose of vitamin D, start by eating some of the traditional foods that are rich in this essential nutrient:
- Fish eggs
- Fatty fish
- Sun-dried mushrooms
Eating more fatty foods, especially during the winter months, will help you absorb and utilize vitamin D. Remember, this is a fat-soluble vitamin that is synthesized from cholesterol. Here is a quick and easy vitamin D rich recipe: Sauteed Chicken Liver
BTW – besides food, it’s also a really good idea to get some sunshine all year round and especially, during the winter. Sunshine is the BEST form of vitamin d for your body.
Which reminds me of another craze that swept the nation but has turned out to be highly detrimental to health: slathering your body with sunscreen and staying out of the sun. Eeek! If you were a plant, you would die. You can read more about that here: HERE COMES THE SUN… RUN!
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.