Gwyneth Paltrow, Vitamin D & Me

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Ok, I’ll admit it – I subscribe to Gwyneth Paltrow’s newsletter, GOOP.  I actually like it most of the time.  Like anything, I take what works for me and leave the rest to someone else.  I like a lot of her recipes, travel ideas and health tips.  Which brings me to this week’s newsletter “Vitamin D.”  Gwyneth and I have more in common than I thought.

This is a very timely newsletter not only for me, but for every woman. Months ago, I had written a post about my health.  I had written that my joints were hurting more than normal (for me), that I was feeling seriously out of whack and felt like an old woman.  I blamed it on a wonky thyroid that my former doctor refused to treat. Little did I know that it was more than my thyroid — so much more.

Long story short, two months ago I underwent a rash of blood tests.  One of those tests (after the constant push by my dearest friend) was for my Vitamin D levels.  I have never, ever had this checked before.  My former doctor never tested for it, it was never suggested and frankly, I didn’t know anything about it until my girlfriend started talking about it.

The first test result I received, almost immediately, was my Vitamin D test.  Typically, levels should be between 50 – 100. Shockingly, my levels were 8.  Yes, I was about out of Vitamin D3.  My new doctor said “she had never seen levels that low.”  Gwyneth’s doctor said the same thing. This statement is becoming increasingly common.

I grew up at the beach.  I surfed, roller skated and did all those outdoorsy things.  Up here, we hike, camp, and I shoot, again all outdoorsy things.  You would think I’d get enough Vitamin D.  Nope — we are a nation of long pants/shirts, hats and sun-screened folks.  In our attempt to protect our skin (and we should), we are blocking out a critical vitamin needed for our bodies. Having a long, neurotic winter this year didn’t help either.

As I mentioned, my new doctor was shocked at how low my levels are and prescribed me a high daily dose of Vitamin D3 immediately for now, along with brief forays out into the sun.  Within a week, I started feeling better (not great, but better) from the daily dose of Vitamin D3.  Since our weather has settled down the past week or so, I can finally get my natural dose.  It’s been one month and seriously, the difference is incredible.   She is also treating my wonky thyroid (finally!) and that should help as well.

Ladies (gents & kids as well), we need to have our levels checked early on…20’s are not too young, 50’s are not too late.  Having healthy vitamin D levels will save your bones from thinning out and possibly keep you from getting osteoporosis.  It will keep your organs and glands healthy.  It will keep you from being exhausted, diabetic and a host of other things.

There are a  slew of websites on Google  that I visited in my search for symptoms of Vitamin D deficiencies.   The information in the GOOP newsletter is spot on.  I encourage you to read the newsletter, do your own investigation and then talk to your doctor and get your levels checked.

  6 comments for “Gwyneth Paltrow, Vitamin D & Me

  1. June 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Last year my blood tests also revealed this. My doctor said most people in the US are vitamin deficient without knowing it. This makes me very sad because this means we really are destroying the Earth via the ozone layer etc. and also changing the climate! It is not supposed to be cold and cloudy in southern California (when I was there) yet it is!!!!

    This also makes me realize why you and I connected when there is no sun or it is cold! hahaha!

    Just last night friends and I were discussing that what you think as early arthritis etc. is actually severe vitamin D deficiency, which by the way, effects more than our bones!

    great post. don’t know how i missed it on twitter! :/

    gratitude,

    annie

    • June 20, 2010 at 7:10 pm

      Blame not seeing the post on the #World Cup!

      Isn’t it funny how things work. You’re correct, the lack of Vitamin D does so much more than affect our bones, it affects so many things in our bodies. A severe deficiency creates havoc and can be dangerous. The biggest thing I found in my research and discussions with my new doctor, is that the deficiency could present itself in the joints/bones if you are predisposed to arthritis (as I am) faster than say, depression or even diabetes. Had I known that, I might not have had to suffer as badly as I did for the past 7 months. My joints were talking quite loudly and I didn’t know Vit D was at the root of it.

      Of course we connected over horrid weather — it was pretty bad for a long time and we were both miserable!

      ~s.

      • June 21, 2010 at 9:53 am

        oh and not to mention, also read some articles that link vitamin D deficiency with menstrual cycle issues and immunity as well! wish this was more public information. we assume that because we are not in alaska we must be okay.

  2. June 19, 2010 at 5:46 am

    starry_girl,

    I have been touting the benefits of Vit D for several years now to the point I almost sound like an infomercial. It is in the epidemic proportions, especially darker skinned people. There is a large central Asia population where I live and they don’t like getting dark, so they avoid the sun.

    There are many other conditions associated with Vit D deficiency than just bone thinning, such as depression, increase risk of cancer, arthritis, etc. The usual multivitamin has 400 U.  My wife has to take 10,000 U a day. Diabetes and obesity increase the requirements for some reason. At one point I was taking 5,000 U per day with moderately high normal blood serum values. Depending on your skin type, those of N. European ancestry, 20 minutes several times a week with most of your skin exposed should suffice. For those, like me, who see the sun the vast majority of the time through the window, we need oral supplements. You can get supplements at the store, or order on-line. I like I like Puratin’s Pride because they are always having sales. http://www.puritan.com/ The have 5000 U in small capsules, reducing the pill count and volume swallowing.

    Life extension foundation: http://www.lef.org  is good source of information, a bit preachy and a bit enthusiastic. Price OK if you  pay the membership fee and get their mag.

    Research Links Vitamin D Deficiency to Rheumatoid Arthritis
    http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/news/20040109/vitamin-d-may-prevent-arthritis
    Vit D in general
    http://www.womentowomen.com/healthynutrition/vitamind.aspx

    While I am on my soap box, Omega-3 fatty acids(FA), AKA fish oil. They are really not fish oil, but cold water fish tend to be high in Omega-3 FAs. There are non-animal sources such as Chia oil, as in the Chia pet, but it lacks DHA, so you would want another source for that. Your body can make DHA from the oils in Chia oil, but is relatively inefficient.
    Check the concentration of DHA and EPA. You don’t want to swallow 20 capsules to get to the levels you are looking for, about 1000 mg, if I am remembering correctly.

    Life DHA – by-passes the middle fish and goes to the source, without a price drop. Pricy but small concentrated capsules. Discounts via Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=life+dha&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4075420825&ref=pd_sl_37ybkqwjsg_b

    general information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_3
    http://www.hopkins-arthritis.org/patient-corner/disease-management/nutinra.html

    • June 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm

      Thank you for your comment and the wealth of information. I totally understand what being Vit D deficient is about – the sad thing is I never heard about this until last year. It makes me wonder just how many other people don’t know as well.

      I purposely mentioned the bone thinning issue as it is crucial for women to pay attention to these things. We are at higher risk for bone issues than ever before.

      I have a couple of auto-immune diseases (including RA) that being deficient made things worse. My new doctor told me I was borderline diabetic — which theoretically should be impossible. I don’t eat sugar, wheat, dairy or even junk food. It’s a direct result of my Vit D levels being next to non-existent. We are working on this issue as well (although the mega dose of Vit D3 that I’m taking should eventually help clear this up). Thankfully, I don’t have to take insulin or check my blood sugar levels — I just have to eat more!

      It’s been an interesting journey. Had my dearest friend not hammered me into getting my levels checked, I could’ve ended up much worse. Thankfully, I’m getting better.

    • June 21, 2010 at 9:55 am

      also thanks for the information.

      moreover, people assume darker pigmented people don’t have this deficiency! so so very wrong!
      we need the sun, people! dark and light! and people don’t understand why i worship it. although sunblock is equally important for light pigment and dark pigment but no sun is a whole different matter!

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