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« Valentine's Day dinner, raw style | Main | Dumb quote of the day »

February 25, 2010

Comments

Max Tuck

What an excellent article! Thank you, Fresh team, for keeping us so well informed on this important issue. Quite why our tropical ancestors wanted to migrate this far north I will never know, but we now have a great reason to go and spend a couple of months in the tropics to escape our dismal winter weather. Costa Rican Christmas, anyone?
Max Tuck, Hippocrates Health Educator

Dianna

I would rather eat more mushrooms and nettles than supplement my vegan diet. There are a wide variety of mushrooms that are high in Vit D, not just one as you mentioned above. And nettles can be great as a tea or used to flavour soups and dal.
I guess we need more nude beaches in order to get more Vit D!

Gabriella

I live in the south of England and when I had my vitamin d tested, after 4 and a bit years on a raw vegan diet, it was at 18, aka chronically deficient. It took over six months of taking 5000IU a day to get it up above 50. Vitamin d deficiency is not healthy! I applaud Fresh Network for making this important information available.

Sallycats

I thought that sunflower greens (baby sunflower sprouts) had vitamin D? I think it says that in Sproutmans book.

Emely

The best article I've ever read on this topic.

twitter.com/zoeparadineward

Great post, I've recently started taking Vitamin D3 and my energy has significantly increased!

Susie

What about using full-spectrum light bulbs to generate Vit D naturally through skin exposure? would that be an option? Does the light that you can buy for Seasonal Affective Disorder create vitamin D? I didn't think Vit D supplementation was well absorbed and I don't know how a single supplementation might imbalance the other nutrients I get from food. I prefer the idea of artificially exposing myself to the right kind of light! Can we have some authoritative text on the right kind of light please?

The Fresh Network responds: Thanks for asking, Susie. This is something we're looking into at the moment. There are definitely UV-B sunbeds that are sold for this specific purpose, but we're still verifying those claims - as well as the safety of these sunbeds. You're correct, of course, that supplementing can cause an imbalance of other nutrients. But so can a deficiency. It seems unlikely that taking a daily amount of vitamin D that is less than would be synthesized under your skin on a sunny day (i.e. the amount The Vitamin D Council recommends in our article) would cause imbalances (unless you're also getting the sun exposure on top of the supplementation), but again we invite each reader to do their own research and if they have any concerns, to consult a suitably qualified practitioner.

Janice

Thank you Fresh Network for one of the most intelligent and comprehensive articles on ‘Vitamin D’ I have ever read. Obviously the remarks made by Doug Graham on Vitamin D caused great concern to many of your readers, especially those in the Northern hemisphere.

Just to recap, here is Graham’s quote from the previous debate,

“Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is still available to all people willing to go outside during the daytime. If they are unwilling or unable to go outdoors, no amount of vitamin D supplementation will result in health”.

As you correctly point out, the medical and scientific community can’t be wrong on this issue and not supplementing is taking a “high-risk” approach to one’s health.

Clearly Graham is wrong on the issue of supplementation. I think your readers need to know that Doug Graham is not a medical doctor, nor a scientist, nor has he ever conducted research or had it published.

Not taking supplements as per your recommendations is a high risk approach to health and so is listening to dogma. Now, pass that vit D spray!

Sue

Sometimes you just need to take the supplement if you are deficient.

Sallycats

Further to my recent post. On page 88 on 'Sprouts the miracle food' by Steve Meyerowitz it says that sunflower Seeds 'contain 92 USP units of vitamin D, rarely found in vegetables.' That's the seeds though and I don't know what a USP is. Does anyone else know?

Fresh Network responds: Hi Sally. A USP unit is the same as an international unit (IU), the measure we used in our article. We've seen that 92 figure quoted online too but we didn't include sunflower seeds as a source of vitamin D as the opinion of nutritionists we've asked is that they are not, and the USDA's nutrition.gov database lists the D content of 100g of sunflower seeds as zero.

Gary Gillespie

When it comes to checking whether you have the right Vit D level (i.e. the level known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25 (OH)D), you need to face two things, viz. the virtual certainty of needing to use Vit D3 (use D3 and not D2) supplements if you live in the UK and the the need to repeatedly have 25(OH)D blood tests (available on the NHS - ask your GP to authorise), until you know what supplementation dose you have to maintain to achieve a year-round optimum Vit D level.

The article refers to Vit D level measurements calibrated in "ng/ml". However, blood test in the UK measure 25(OH)D in "nmol/L".

The latter is two and a half times the former, so for example 40 ng/ml is equal to 100 nmol/L. The Vit D Council's recommended minimum all-year round level of 50 ng/ml is therefore 125 nmol/L in the UK.

The typical 'desired' lab range for UK Vit D blood tests is 75 - 200 nmol/L, so 125 nmol/L is certainly an appropriate level to aim for.

When I first tested my 25(OH)D level it was 38 nmol/L. I started Vit D3 supplementation with 1,200 iu per day (i.e.30mcg; 10mcg = 400iu) and after six months I re-tested, with a resulting increased level of 61 nmol/L.

I then increased my supplementation to 1,600 iu per day for another seven months, moving my level up to 82 nmol/L.

So let there be no doubt about it - Vit D supplements most certainly work.

I use the Lamberts Vit D3, which comes in 400iu tablets, making it easy to increase dosage by 400iu a time as required. I have no financial interest in recommending the Lamberts product, it's simply a case of trying to help others by telling them about something that really works.
I'm now taking 2,000iu per day (in line with the EU guidelines level, incidentally), plus getting another 400iu from my multivitamin, making a total of 2,400iu and I'll be testing next month again to see whether this dose has taken me over the 100 nmol/L level.

An important point to note is that your Vit D level will plateau after 3-4 months of taking a Vit D supplement, so if you're taking supplements, give them at least 3 months to 'work' before you test again.

I feel comfortable with a 2,400iu dose and I expect that it'll be the level I'll go with year-round, on which point it's important to note (with thanks to Stephen Walsh of the Vegan Society) that there is no risk of overdosing by getting out in the sun in addition to taking a supplement.
So intead of changing our dose up and down and then up again as the seasons change, it's perfectly in order and also easier to settle on a single daily dose and take it year-round.

Sonia

Before I read this article I had no idea what latitude I live at or the effect this has on vitamin D. Thanks for the information.

Sandy

I also live in South of England and would like to ask Gabriella where she got her Vit D test done

Shazzie

Wonderful words Sarah...

More... low sun (early am/pm) or winter sun sept-april in the UK or doesn't provide vit D in any recognisable amount, so our window in getting it is limited to around midday april-sept when our chances or burning are higher if we eat cooked fat. (Which hopefully your readers don't do much of!)

Also, skin type plays a huge part. I wrote the chart of how much sun exposure each type needs in Evie's Kitchen. Basically, if you are "white" you need much less than if you are really dark, and olivey skin needs an intermediate amount of sun exposure for vit d absorption.

Thank u so much for your research and honest words. The vegan diet is gorgeous, when supplemented correctly.

LOVE and BLISSINGS

Shazzie xxx


Don Andrew

This is a response to the post above by "Janice" who (sadly) writes some rather disparaging remarks about Doug Graham.

1. Nothing is gained by "pulling rank" and suggesting Doug Graham's opinions have no validity because he is "neither a medical doctor, nor a scientist".

Anyone who has actually read Doug Graham's work knows just how absurd your inference is. His contributions to our greater understanding of nutrition and health are extraordinary ... and your lack of respect is profoundly ignorant.

2. And yes, Janice, the scientific and medical communities can be wrong. Shocking I know!

You may not agree with Doug Graham's position on this (and that is your perogative) ... but please get off your high horse.

You might get sunburnt at such rarified altitudes!

Angie Bedson

Thanks so much for posting this article. How many raw food vegans in the UK knew about the latitude problem?
I had been thinking about Vit D supplementation due to my age (nearly 50) and the risk of osteoporosis now increasing and was researching Shazzie's recommendations of Ortho Bone Vegan. After reading your article, I realised that I MUST be low in Vit D and so had a nutritional blood analysis test via my doctor. All was OK with PTH, thyroid, B12(after 11 years raw and supplementing B12)but the separate Vit D result came in at an alarmingly low 12!
I showed your sublingual supplement to my doctor and he's happy for me to take 1 (!) spray a day (ie 1,000)and will retest my blood in 2 months (it takes a month or more for the results to come back for Vit D).
Be aware of the dangers of over-supplementing with Vit D, though. Initially, I took 6,000 ius (6 sprays a day) but I began to get a chronic deep aching pain in my legs and my doctor warned that such doses can imbalances calcium in the blood. He wants me to stick to 1,000 ius -but I must admit I am taking 2,000 ius on most days. Well, I mean, 12?!
Thanks again for bringing this issue to light - I hate to think what might have happened to me had I gone on assuming the UK sun was providing enough Vit D for me.

Robert

Contrary to one of the comments posted above, please note that vitamin D3 is not vegan. Vitamin D2 is vegan, see:
http://vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/vitamin-d.aspx

Smith

Thanks so much for this detailed information about vitamin D.

Danita

Thank you very much for this post.

Lou J. Vaughn

THe health related tips that is provided in this blog is really helpful for me thanks for sharing this type of amazing tips...

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