Just over a week ago, I was able to head to the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in Chicago and had the chance to listen in on some great sessions. This is one thing I loved about this expo, you got to see some of the companies working to give people with food allergies safe food to eat, but you also get to hear fantastic health information at the same time. My favorite session was with Dr. Mayer Eisenstein where he talked on the importance of Vitamin D.
We’ve talked here on the blog about vitamin D’s connection to fertility, and I recently wrote about how my vitamin D level was quite low (32), and while he only touched on the topic of fertility just a bit, I walked away feeling good about what I’m doing, as well as added inspiration to do more.
photo credit – daviddehetre
“Vitamin D is NOT a fat soluble vitamin – it is a pre-hormone.” – Dr. Eisenstein
So very true, and yet I always talk about it as a fat-soluble vitamin because, well, it’s just easier and how most people are used to hearing it. One of these days I need to do a lot more research in this area so that I can fully understand it and talk about it intelligently.
“Vitamin D levels should be around 100.” – Dr. Eisenstein
Most medical doctors consider levels below 30 as deficient, and more often than not, functional or holistic doctors consider the correct range to be from 50-100, with a recommendation to get to at least the middle of that range. It was very interesting to hear that he thought a level at or above 100 was actually best!
“We can find vitamin D in wild mushrooms, fish, sun, and supplements.” – Dr. Eisenstein
He seems to be a big fan of supplements, but as he states, nobody eats enough of these foods anymore! I’d also like to add that we can find them in grass-fed animal products as the exposure to the sun also helps the animal build up levels in their bodies.
He also talked a lot about how when you live above 37 degrees latitude, you don’t get any vitamin D from the sun from November to February. So if you live in the northern half of the states like I do, we may become very deficient in the winter months. (I was tested in December, a couple of months in to our cold weather) We’re also only able to get vitamin D from about 10am to 2pm each day.
When you’re outside, he said that we can get about 5000 IUs of vitamin D if we’re outside with half of our body exposed to the sun for about 15 minutes. And that if you’re outside all day at the beach or park, you are probably getting about 50,000 IUs per day when you don’t use sunscreen. Which lead to …..
“The vacation doesn’t get you pregnant, the sun does.” – Dr. Eisenstein
The part of his talk where he spoke about fertility issues, he mentioned that it was common for doctors to send couples on vacation, south, to a beach. And that this was where the whole “if you relax, it’ll happen” speech probably came from. because doctors noticed that couples were more likely to get pregnant after a beach vacation, so they thought it was just the lack of stress. But Dr. Eisenstein thinks it has more to do with the extra vitamin D that they were probably lacking. He also mentioned that
“The higher the vitamin D levels, the faster the sperm swim.”
His recommendations for vitamin D supplementation were 5000 IUS per day if under 100 pounds and 10,000 IUs per day if over 100 pounds. During pregnancy he increases this to 20,000 IUs per day after the eighth month of pregnancy and through the first year of breastfeeding. (to make sure the breast-milk is not deficient in vitamin D)
Of course, I don’t think any one doctor will have all of the answers all of the time, but he was pretty convincing. It’s also a good idea to base your supplementation on your own test results, so getting a lab test to see what your vitamin D level is, at least a couple of times per year (once in the summer, once in the winter) will help you figure out how much you need to be supplementing. Plus, as we already know, we all live in different areas and have different levels of sun exposure.
Here are also a couple of videos from him:
Take Vitamin D and Live Longer
Low Vitamin D as a Root Cause of Chronic Illness and Cancer
I also found this podcast from Sean at Underground Wellness, where he talks to author T.S.Wiley about vitamin D deficiency and she goes on to say how it’s not so much about the sun we’re exposed to, but that our receptors never get a chance to reset in the darkness. Awesome information! (Listen to it here – Is Low Vitamin D a Darkness Deficiency?)
As you can see, my time at the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo was time well spent! There are a couple more coming up this year, and if the Chicago speakers are any indication of the others, go check out who is on the speaker list near you!
Have you had your vitamin D levels checked yet? Are they adequate?