Osama Bin Laden and Vitamin D Deficiency

Posted: May 2, 2011 in Supplements

The capturing and killing of Osama Bin Laden marks one of those events that we stop and remember what we were doing when we got the news.  I was Googling “vitamin D deficiency” when I got the news.  My most recent blood work showed that I was vitamin D deficient, a real surprise to me, since I regularly take a multi-vitamin that contains Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin which our body can manufacture and store.  Apparently, a multi-vitamin may not be enough to ensure you’re getting enough of this vitamin, important to bone, colon, muscle and immune health.

When I got the news about Osama Bin Laden my first reaction was great relief.  It seems odd to me to be joyous about the death of a human. no matter how evil, so I don’t think I could cheer as I read the crowd did at the Phillies-Mets game when the news became known.  So I’ll just say I felt great relief and a sense that justice was finally done.

And then an odd thought popped up:  I bet Osama was also vitamin D deficient.  Some of the factors that predispose people to vitamin D deficiency include

Lack of Sun: If you’re constantly hiding in bunkers and caves and traveling under the cover of night you might not get the necessary sun exposure your body needs to manufacture enough vitamin D.  Depending on where you live and the time of year, you need 15-30 minutes of sun exposure 2-3 times per week, with no sun block on to manufacture enough Vitamin D.  If you can get enough sunlight year round, vitamin D is FREE!  I think this was one of the reasons my brother moved to Florida….he’s the cheap one of the family.

Vegetarian Diet: If you’re a vegetarian, your body may not be getting enough dietary vitamin D and you may have to rely on fortified foods.  The best sources of vitamin D include animal-based foods, such as fish, eggs, cheese and liver.

Dark Skin: The pigment that makes your skin darker also reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D.  This applies to me – I’d guess I am the same shade as Osama.

2 out of 3 of these factors was enough for me to be deficient, even though I was getting some vitamin D in my multis and getting some sun exposure from yard work.  I am now taking 2000 IU of vitamin D under the direction of my doctor.

Vitamin D deficiency is undiagnosed in the US and is now getting a lot of attention, for good reason.  A deficiency in the sunshine vitamin has been connected to osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, diabetes and obesity.  Some of the symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, and muscle aches/pain.  I felt none of these.  A simple blood test will tell you whether you are deficient or not.

The US got Bin Laden!  Make sure you get your vitamin D!

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