Vitamin D Nutrition
A few years ago, I had my first bone scan after suffering two stress fractures within six weeks of each other. The results of my scan showed both Osteopenia and Osteoporosis.
Besides feeling depressed about being sidelined from running for the third time that year, I was bewildered at how I could have weak bones. I was an avid runner, I lifted weights and was conscientious about my diet, nutrition and supplementing. All criteria for building strong bones. I was on a mission to get to the root of the problem. I scheduled an appointment with a doctor who specializes in integrative medicine. Dr. Jeffrey Morrison had me do comprehensive blood work and tested all my levels. The results showed that my Vitamin D and Calcium levels were way too low to support the kind of training I was doing. He suggested I was also deficient in vitamin C, which helps with the absorption of the supplements I was taking.
Dr Morrison prescribed high quality supplements. I also started visiting the Morrison Center weekly for vitamin C drips that not only aided in my Calcium and vitamin D absorption, but helped build up my immune system.
I became obsessed with researching healthy bones and realized I was far from alone in vitamin D deficiency. About 76% of men, and 74% of women are low in vitamin D. Research shows that we use between 3,000 and 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily — much more than previously expected.
So how do we replenish?
While nature intended for us to get most of our vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, it would be difficult in our modern society to spend enough time in the sun to fill these requirements (especially those of us who live in Northern latitudes). While vitamin D is found in some foods, it’s not enough to support optimal intake.
A quality vitamin D3 supplement is one of the best ways to cover your disease-prevention bases. Currently vitamin D researchers suggest supplementing with 2000 IU of D3 daily along with 15 minutes of sunlight.
Those prone to vitamin D deficiency:
Darker skin: African Americans are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency because a person with dark skin needs as much as 10 times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as a person with pale skin.
Feeling blue: Serotonin, the brain hormone associated with` mood elevation, rises with exposure to bright light and falls with decreased sun exposure.
50 or older: Aging skin doesn’t make as much vitamin D in response to sun exposure. At the same time, kidneys become less efficient at converting vitamin D.
Overweight: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble, hormone-like vitamin, which means the body fat acts as a “sink” by collecting it. If you’re overweight or obese, you’re therefore likely going to need more vitamin D than a slimmer person — and the same holds true for people with higher body weights due to muscle mass.
Body aches: Many people who suffer from body aches also suffer from chronic fatigue and myofrialgia and are deficient in D.
GI problematic: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means if you have a gastrointestinal condition, it affects your ability to absorb fat, which would therefore make it difficult to absorb D.
Vitamin D in Athletes
Vitamin D in athletes is imperative. The function of vitamin D relates to overall health, bone density, innate immunity, and prevents muscle wasting. Vitamin D aids in exercise-related inflammation and immunity, reducing cytokines and therefore allowing for quicker recovery from workouts. To train and race optimally, athletes should make sure their vitamin D stores are in tact.
Eager to get back to running, I supplemented with proper guidance, increased my diet with nutritional values of vitamin D, and I was on my way to a stronger me soon after.
What can you do?
Check levels of vitamin D regularly.
Check for total 25(OH)D in all sources of vitamin D – from food, UV energy (photo-production), and supplementation
Deficient athletes measuring less than 30 ng/ml should supplement with 20,000 IU to 50, 000 IU of vitamin D3 per week for eight weeks and recheck serum 25(OH)D until normal values are attained.
Get regular, safe, twice-daily (5-30 minutes) exposure to sun between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. Note that sunscreen and glass (or being indoors) can reduce or block UV energy.
A non-athlete should supplement with 2000 Iu daily.
Be mindful about consuming a diet, rich in vitamin D.
My favorite food sources rich in vitamin D are:
Whole eggs (Yolks are golden)
Here is a post of my favorite breakfast recipe high in Vitamin D:
Shakshuka is a Tunisian recipe in it’s original origin but has become very popular in Israel and is
almost a standard breakfast there. It can be served as a hearty breakfast served with piles of
pita or challah or as a lunch entree’.
There are so many variations of cooking Skakshuka but its primarily made with baked tomatoes
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
2 large red bell peppers seeded and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can of whole plum tomatoes coarsely chopped OR
5 large very ripe tomatoes chopped
3/4 teaspoon quality salt (sea salt or himalayan)
1/4 plack pepper
whichever herbs you choose from below:
fresh basil chopped
Bread of choice: country/pita/Ezequiel /
Heat oven to 375 degrees
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium/low heat
Add onion and peppers
Cook gently until very soft
Add garlic and cook until tender 1-2 minutes
Stir in spices and herbs
Pour tomatoes in and season with salt and pepper simmer tomatoes down about 10 minutes until a soft but still chunky consistency.
Gently crack the eggs into skillet over the tomatoes.
Cook for about 5-7 minutes depending on how you like your egg consistency.( I sometimes bake in the oven for a few minutes rather than over the stove for more well done)
Season with salt pepper and herbs.
Optional for spice lovers .. drizzle hot sauce and and a few red pepper flakes.
Serve with toasted country bread or pita or Ezequiel bread.