Vitamin D, Naturally

itp, blood disorder, vitamin d

Feature image from ITPANDME

We should be striving for a healthy lifestyle that naturally includes a variety of foods and activities that enables us to get a rich assortment of vitamins and minerals without even thinking about it.  This sort of diversity rich diet should be a daily habit for us all.  Unfortunately it is not.  Habits are made by practice and conscious thought.  So lets take a moment to create a few habits that will ensure we always have enough Vitamin D in our system.

What can Vitamin D do for you?

  • Improve your Mood – Did you know that platelets carry a small amount of serotonin through your blood stream to various receptors in your body?  With a very low platelet count, there is no way you are getting the same serotonin absorption as others.  Serotonin is what contributes to a positive happy mood.  Without as much Serotonin, it is important to not let yourself get too sad.  Vitamin d can help you there, as a natural mood elevator it can help you maintain a positive outlook.
  • Strengthen your bones – Vitamin D is directly related to bone health, which cannot be over looked.  Your bones are not simply the scaffolding of you body, but living changing tissue that produces blood from its marrow.  Vitamin D keeps your bones strong and healthy – which is where all your platelets are going to be produced.
  • Tone your muscles – Vitamin D is believed to improve muscle tone and strength, as there are vitamin D receptors in striated muscle, and Vitamin D appears to play a role in the signalling that is responsible for muscle protein synthesis.

The Top 5 ways increase your Vitamin D, Naturally

  • Sunshine  – This is the cheapest, easiest and most publicly accessible form to Vitamin D.  It is also my favourite.  But the sun has been getting a lot of bad publicity over the years, leading to people shying away from a lazy afternoon nap in the sun.  You do not need to be out in the sun, uncovered for hours to get the benefit of Vitamin D, instead just head out for 10 minutes at a time, go for a walk, read the paper in the sunshine, bbq, open all the curtains and let the sunshine in.  Alternatively, you could fly to Fiji or Bali for a few weeks – for your health of course.
  • Fatty fish – For example Salmon, Trout, Orange Roughy, Anchovies, Tuna and Whitebait.  There are many more to choose from but I have just listed my favourites.  There are a lot of reasons to be eating more fatty fish such as naturally occurring fish oil and Omega 3.  It is a fantastic Paleo option for those are interested in eating a Paleo Diet.
  • Whole Un-homogenized Milk– Full cream or full fat milk does contain a very small amount of Vitamin D, probably the lowest of all the suggested food sources, but I have included it here for a very specific reason.  That is the combination of Calcium and Vitamin D in this tasty, fatty and filling food item.  One must be very thorough in order to get enough of both Vitamin D and Calcium to get the best results, and while there might not be a huge amount of Vitamin D found in full cream milk, you can be sure that with all that Calcium your body will absorb every single gram of it.

    itp vitamin D
    free range eggs
  • Free Range Eggs – So I have to tell you that all the good stuff is in the yolk.  All of the fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E, D and K are there.  While there is a large number of foods for meat eaters to consume that contain vitamin D, there are a lot less options for Vegetarians.  The egg yolk is one of the few foods naturally containing Vitamin D and should not be discarded in favour of it’s more slimming, protein-rich white.  There is also a notable amount of Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium, which we should be taking as well.
  • itp, vitamin D, itp vitamins and suppliments

    Mushrooms  – Mushrooms a good source for vitamin D, and that you can naturally multiply their levels by exposing them to sunlight?  They actually have the capacity to absorb the vitamin D in sunlight, much like our own skin.  Next time you are cooking with mushrooms, leave them in the sunshine before you cook with them and they will have charged like a battery, ready to be consumed.  Dried Mushroom that have been dried in the sun are the very best choice – Shiitake mushrooms are particularly high in Vitamin D.

Taking Prednisone?  Get Vitamin D!

When I started to come to terms with just how much long term damage Pred was doing to my system I was alarmed, to say the least.  I was already taking Calcium to make up for the deficit created by taking pred.  But did you know that in order to metabolise calcium in your body and use it to benefit your bones, you need to be getting enough Vitamin D?  Taking Caltrate, or any other single calcium supplement without enough Vitamin D is a total waste of time!

by Meg

Meghan Brewster is a writer and blogger. She is an ITP patient and launched ITP&Me in 2011. She is a coffee lover and a try hard dancer. @meghan_brewster

8 thoughts on “Vitamin D, Naturally

    David Segsworth says:

    After spending 1990-1991 in Desert Storm, I first had symptoms of ITP in 1992, although I was not diagnosed until 1997. I had a splenectomy in 1997, which didn’t help much, if at all. in the years that followed, my platelet level dropped into single digits twice, and I was given large doses of prednisone (100 mg/day), and finally put on a maintenance dose of 10 mg a day, resulting in weight gain and diabetes. Chemotherapy with Rituximab didn’t help any. One doctor tried to give me Vitamin D with Calcium, but I had a toxic reaction to the calcium – two kidney stones and two bone spurs. Finally, in 2013, another ITP patient told me she had good results from Vitamin D alone, and I asked the doctor to give me a Vitamin D test. It turned out I was severely Vitamin D deficient with a score of 6. I have been taking 5000 IU a day, and as of March, 2014, I have a platelet level of about 50, with a reduction of prednisone to 5mg every two days.

    • Meg says:

      Wow – That is really interesting. I wonder what your reaction with the calcium was from. I have heard of people being allergic to the binding medium that is used to press tablets, but never heard of such a reaction to calcium before – I would be interested in asking you a few more questions…

  2. Pingback: ITP - Your Stories - David

    Stephen Buckley says:

    This is just a guess since no-one seems to have done any research on this. There is a possibility that at severe low levels of 25(OH)D in the blood some of the transport mechanism for calcium might break down. Both activated forms of Vitamin D are required for Calcium transport in normal pathways (The endocrine pathway)

    Recent research shows that 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) initiates the physiologic responses of >/=36 cell types that possess the VDR so one could postulate that D deficiency would impact calcium pathways at a cellular level, which could mean that giving Calcium when the ‘hormonal’ form of D are low could do more harm than good. Vitamin K and fats are also part of the story here it is a very complex pathway. It might be that D levels need to come close to 40ng/ml before we can process Calcium properly. Thats just my guess as to why Calcium would make you sick at that point!

    The ability to rebuild bone for example in osteoporosis also depends on protein and Fat intake, so there is a whole matrix of factors having a bearing here.

    Stephen Buckley says:

    One of the things to bear in mine is that if you are going to take Vitamin D supplements the latest advice is to dose according to weight, and aim to bring blood levels of 25(OH)D up to 60ng/ml.

    A lifeguard being exposed to full sun every day has a blood level around 70- 80 ng/ml
    Canada and US doctors are now saying this:
    “An “adequate” intake for nursing mothers, as noted earlier, is not the 400 IU/d the IOM recommends, but is instead in the range of 5,000–6,000 IU/d, taken daily. If they get that much, they will meet not only their own needs, but their infant’s as well. And they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are supplying all their baby’s needs, the natural way.”

    The IOM Miscalculated Its RDA For Vitamin D

    heather pae says:

    I have done my own research on the vitamin D theory and made myself the guinea pig I took 2000 ui a day for 1 year (my research tells me it needs time to build up in your system) I went from 30 to 96 in one year mind I have been at 30 for 10 years,So took I one step further and stopped take it for six months and I went down to 63. I really wish someone could do so research on this theory

    Dr Carol Granger says:

    Regarding your advice to obtain vitamin D from mushrooms, please DON’T eat the mushrooms depicted in the image above, they are members of the Amanita family, of which most are toxic, a few are deadly and some are hallucinogenic. Best to buy mushrooms from a grocery store or market. Otherwise ITP will be the least of your health concerns!

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