Vitamin D: The Miracle Supplement Video - Brigham and Women's Hospital
What's The Deal With Vitamin D?
Reader question: I just saw a study that vitamin D supplements don't help with bone density. I'm so confused!
Ashley’s answer: Don't toss your D supplement just yet. Research often offers conflicting conclusions; wasn't it just last June that we learned calcium and vitamin D together before exercise improve bone density?
Don't let the headlines give you mental whiplash. (There's no supplement for that!) The most recent results didn't change any recommendations that I would make, and I doubt they'll sway those of my healthcare colleagues. Here's the key reason why: the study attempted to pit calcium versus vitamin D to determine what one needs for bone health as we age. Furthermore, the study looked at the "normal" vitamin D levels of 129 women—which weren't reflective of the average D-deficient American's levels.
What we know about our bones should directly inform what we consume and do (we can't discount the "do" aspect of bone health, since retaining and building bone density requires being active through strength training.) To that end, here's what your diet and supplements should deliver :
- An anti-inflammatory diet. We're talking food sources of healthier fats, quality proteins, low glycemic load carbohydrates, spices, and more. This is extra-important because our bones not only support us structurally, but they also provide stored nutrients (especially minerals) to support our metabolic functions.
- Calcium. Assess your dietary intake of calcium-rich foods (dairy, calcium-fortified foods, nuts, seeds, beans, greens, etc) and consider supplementation you don't eat them regularly. In terms of calcium supplements, quality is most important, since the body needs to be able to recognize and absorb the calcium. Chalk is for drawing, not for building bones.
- Magnesium. We tend to consume less magnesium than calcium, and until recently, we haven't highlighted this mineral's role in overall health. Calcium and magnesium work in opposition to each other; magnesium plays the role of "stress reducer" or "muscle relaxant", and our bones are meant to be a storage center for magnesium. If you're taking any calcium, match your intake with comparable magnesium. For most people, that means reducing the amount of supplemental calcium and increasing the amount of supplemental magnesium while also consuming quality food sources of both.
- Trace minerals.Strontium, vanadium, boron and many other trace minerals support optimal metabolism and bone strength.
- Vitamin D.More isn't always better: 1000-2000 IU of D3 daily works for most people seeking to retain healthy levels. Higher amounts can be used to combat vitamin D deficiency.
- Vitamin K. Particularly K2, which delivers anti-inflammatory benefits and helps keep calcium deposits in the bone (rather than leaching out into the bloodstream, which increases risk for developing plaque.)
For more information on these and the other nutrients women need, check out the 100 Best Supplements For Women and consider products like New Chapter's Bone Strength Take Care and Natural Vitality's Osteo Calm.
Boost fat-loss up to 70% with The Vitamin D Diet.
Video: Vitamin D Toxicity Rare in People Who Take Supplements, Mayo Clinic Researchers Report
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