Many Americans aren't getting enough vitamin D - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/20/10

Many Americans aren't getting enough vitamin D

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By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Vitamin D has long been considered the sunshine vitamin because sun exposure is the easiest and most natural way to get that vitamin.  We need vitamin D because it helps us absorb calcium, which is good for strong bones, but scientists have since learned that vitamin D has so much more to offer than that.  Dr. Ray Smith, a family physician at Covenant, has a long list of reasons to get plenty of vitamin D.

"When Vitamin D is taken in appropriate amounts, we find it can decrease the risk of colon cancer, decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer, decrease the risk of severity in diabetes, less seasonal affective disorder, which means winter moodiness or cabin fever, and it even increases your resistance to viruses, especially the flu virus," said Dr. Smith.

Vitamin D deficiencies are becoming epidemic with a real need to wear sunscreen and lower the risk of skin cancer and we are also blocking all the benefits of vitamin D.  So, Dr. Smith says he tells all his patients to take vitamin D supplements, specifically D-3, which is more potent.

"The cost is not prohibitive.  A four month supply of vitamin D-3, about 5, 000 units, is about $24 and for all the added benefits, it's a real bargain," said Dr. Smith.

The pill is very small, about the size of a grain of rice so it's easy to swallow.  Also, the darker your skin the more your risk of a vitamin D deficiency, the American Medical Association says nearly all Blacks and most Mexican-Americans have insufficient  levels of vitamin D.

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