Suzi's Sexi Secrets: What's Your Vitamin D Level?

Suzi asks gynecologist and health educator Dr. Machelle Seibel about the importance of vitamin D.

Suzi’s Sexi Secrets: What’s Your Vitamin D Level?

Suzi asks gynecologist and health educator Dr. Machelle Seibel about the importance of vitamin D.

-Suzi Kirsh

Sunning woman

Do you know your vitamin D level? Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. 10 million Americans over age 50 and over 40% of the entire population are low in this essential vitamin, which means that Dr. Machelle Seibel is finding low vitamin D among his patients levels every week. But the reality literally drove home recently when three of his family members were found to have low levels of vitamin D. I myself just went to the doctor for my regular check-up, and while I was there, I asked her to check my vitamin D level. I’m glad I did, because it was extremely low! To fix the problem, she gave me a tiny capsule to take once a week. Solved!

How do we normally get vitamin D? There’s a reason it’s called the sunshine vitamin: When sunshine hits our skin, it prompts our body to make it from precursor hormones already present. Vitamin D is also found in fish, egg yolks and fortified grain and dairy products like milk. But for a whole lot of people, that’s not enough, especially as the vitamin D-making ability of our skin reduces as we age. How to get around this? Try safe sun exposure. Safe sun exposure is a powerful and inexpensive intervention that can have profound benefits on your health. 15 minutes of exposure to natural sunlight daily is very important for nutrition and essential for mental health, bone density, and vitamin D production. The next time you head to the doctor, ask him or her to check your vitamin D level. If it’s too low, try taking a vitamin D3 supplement, and make sure you’re getting the requisite 15 minutes of sun exposure a day.

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Vitamin D is essential for getting calcium into our bones and teeth. It also helps keep our muscles strong, our moods up, and our arteries free from plaque. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and heart failure. If you find that your vitamin D level is low, treat it—you’ll feel stronger, better, and you’ll lower your risk for some pretty heave-duty illnesses.

Dr. Seibel stresses, “You need at least 600 IU (international units) per day before age 70 and 800 IU per day after that for maintenance. Take a multivitamin. To see if you need a higher dose, ask your doctor for a vitamin D blood test called 25(OH)D.”

So remember: What’s your vitamin D level?

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Suzi Kirsh

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