Are You Lacking Vitamin D?

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By Stacia Kelly, Ph.D., MHt

iStock_000023435463_Medium“For heaven’s sake, put on a hat when you go out into the sun and put your sunscreen on!”

We hear these warnings time and again, particularly during the summer when the sun is at its strongest. While we do need to be mindful of the harmful effects of too much sun, at the same time it is an important source of vitamin D. This essential nutrient is composed of D3, which is created by our skin after exposure to sunlight and D2, which comes
from food. As we spend less time in in the sun, we need to add more D2 rich foods such as fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, and salmon) to our diets. Egg yolks and fortified dairy and
grain products also have vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency can cause a host of health problems such as sleep disorders, general fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain or weakness, inability to concentrate, headaches, constipation or diarrhea and bladder problems. Low levels of vitamin D have also been associated with asthma, cardiovascular disease, depression, arthritis, high blood pressure, and cancer (insufficient vitamin D may be linked to breast cancer).

On the other hand, some people may have no symptoms. Causes of deficiency may include a lack of exposure to the sun, poor diet, poor quality supplements and genetic predisposition.

Taking a quality supplement will help increase vitamin D levels. Most nutritionists recommend a dosage of 2000 IU, or about 500% of the RDA. It is possible to experience “vitamin D toxicity” from taking in large doses of vitamin D over a long period (typically, more than 40,000 IU per day for several months) or through a one-time megadose. So have your vitamin D levels tested before taking supplements. After three months, have them tested again, adjusting the dosage as needed. And get some sun…just not too much!

Prince William native Stacia Kelly has a doctorate in holistic health and a background in fitness, nutrition, stress management and nutritional supplementation. For more
information about her, visit and



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