Diagnosing For Vitamin D Deficiency
We have been exposed to too many vampire films that we’ve somehow managed to adapt avoiding sun exposure and shutting ourselves inside and instead engage in an indoor lifestyle which includes online games, online social networking and Teevo. Who needs to go out anyway?
Majority of the population rarely gets the chance to bask under the sun but on the occasional exposure, some would immediately slather up with sun block, cover up with wide-brim hats and long-sleeved tops, dab the lips with an SPF Lip Balm, protect the eyes from UV rays with aviator shades and top it off with a stylish bohemian scarf around your hair or even cover an exposed neck – these are just a few of the allegedly, “Everyday Sun Protection Essentials” and in effect, we now face serious Vitamin D deficiency.
Diagnosing our vitamin D level is crucial especially when it is below acceptable range, increasing the chances for harmful diseases like cancer of the colon, prostate, breast, lung and surprisingly, skin. On top of that, vitamin D deficiency may also trigger muscle weakness, chronic low back pain and osteoporosis.
One Hot Vitamin
Vitamin D is considerably one of the easily recognized vitamin among others. Through the sun’s ultraviolet rays absorbed by the skin, a biochemical process begins to take place creating vitamin D which then enters the blood stream and through the cells. That’s why it is labeled as sunshine vitamin.
But haven’t we been warned away from sun exposure?
Do not recoil in terror for the sensationalized accusations over the effects of UV rays from the sun. At some point, no matter how shallow and purely exaggerated, these claims could sound so convincing you start to actually believe them.
Dancing in sunshine does not cause cancer and wrinkles – repetitive sunburn increases the risk of possible damage. The fairer the skin, the more easily it is sunburned and damaged. Mind you, using sunscreen to protect the skin against skin cancer and melanoma has no substantial evidence to justify the advertising claims of those big names in the sunscreen industry. So let lose of your kids in the morning and allow them to enjoy the warmth of the sun.
During the summer, time between 11:00AM and 2:00PM is when the sun is most intense, so a medium-fair skin Caucasian could safely expose themselves for about five to eight minutes of daily sunshine without sunblock creams. Winter season requires people to get more sun exposure trips. Location is an added factor as well whereas people who live further north where the climate is colder or cloudier and/or have darker skin needs more time; it would also be wise to take a vitamin D supplement. Recommended daily allowance of 2000 IU daily in the D3 cholecalciferol form will safely maintain your vitamin D levels. But before you start shooting yourself up with high doses supplement, its important to test your current vitamin D level – anything greater than 150ng/ML of vitamin D becomes toxic already. For those having fairer skin living close to the equator, a lesser sun time is suggested.
People who are brown from spending their lives working outside in the sun have lower rates of skin cancer. But those with light skin, freckles, numerous moles, has been exposed to radiation and arsenic or had a history for skin disease should be out of the sun long before your skin starts turning red. Moderation by starting with a few minutes a day then gradually work up.
The process of skin tanning had a significant controversy whether it is beneficially protective against the sun’s harmful rays or is actually a symptom of skin damage. The key to a healthy sunning is by avoiding sunburns.
Hot List: “D” Candidates
- The Elderly: As we age we absorb less vitamin D from the sun’s UV rays. Muscle weakness and osteoporosis which is part of aging is associated with vitamin D deficiency making the elderly more susceptible to fracture risks and losing balance.
- People with Dark Skin: have high melanin levels which blocks the action of sunlight on vitamin D precursors in the skin, requiring much longer sunlight exposure.
- Pseudo Vampires: People with limited sunlight exposure because of their working environment or cultural dress code may have low vitamin D levels.
- People with Muscoloskeletal Pain: are frequently found to have low vitamin D levels.
- Overweight / Obese: Obesity is associated with lower levels of Vitamin D, which can be locked up in fat stores in people who are overweight.
Do It Yourself Vitamin D Test
Testing vitamin D levels used to involve a laborious process from scheduling the doctor’s appointment and trying to fit in your daily itinerary, followed by the scary syringe blood-drawing episode in the lab. Sadly you’ll need to prepare a thicker wallet for this procedure because normally health insurance doesn’t cover all the cost. Thanks to the do-it-yourself Blood Spot Test available to consumers at a reasonable price, you can now do the test by yourself at the comfort of your own home.
Accuracy of the Blood Spot Test
A blood spot test involves a nearly painless finger stick and shedding a few drops of your blood on the small piece of a ‘magical’ blotting paper. Unlike others, the blood spot test guarantees high percentage of accuracy which measures both vitamin D2 and D3. Plus the results are very easy to interpret.
Now that we’ve bridged the gap to sun avoidance myths, drop those cover-ups and go outside and have a sun-tastic time. Hopefully, Edward Cullen’s new revelation on the effects of sunlight towards the skin would rekindle a warm assurance that a healthy lifestyle includes sun exposure trips.