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Why is my Vitamin D Level So Low And Why I Care-

Yes I’m talking about Vitamin D again.

For several days last week I wasn’t feeling like myself- at all.

I wasn’t feeling like my “almost- a-year post- breast -cancer –treatment” self.  Instead I was feeling like my “I’m going through chemo self”.  It’s a disconcerting feeling to have – the reminder of what that was like- the fatigue, the dizzy-heavy head, the nasty“BLAHS”.

Well it prompted me to have my blood work done, which I was over do for anyway.  My blood counts came back right away with good news -  no anemia, no low white blood counts, liver and kidney function good.  By now I’m feeling so much better that I would have been very surprised to hear that my blood counts were off.

Then today my oncologist called with the other two bloods test results.  The tumor marker test showed no elevation.  Good news, however, my doctor admits this marker can be very tricky and unreliable with breast cancer (confirmed by the fact my marker was not elevated when my right underarm lymph system was full of cancer in August of 2011).  Still this news is of comfort.

The one concerning result though was my low Vitamin D level.  It is only 29., with the “normal” level being 30-60. 

According to a report in Naturalnews.com, this conventional normal  range  is actually insufficient for breast cancer protection, according to holistic MDs, chiropractors, naturopaths, and independent nutritionists.

VitaminDforblog 1024x602 Vitamin D & Breast Cancer Protection: Do You Know Your Level?

In November when my level was 53 and  I was trying to get it up to 80, I began taking  2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily.  I eat a very healthy diet and spend time out in the sun daily.  So having my level go down is certainly strange and a little unsettling for me.  So my doctor called in a prescription for 50,000 IU of Vitamin D2, (not over counter D3) that I am to take once a week for 8 weeks when we will test my level again.

Here are the reasons a low level is so concerning to me:

Naturpaths and independent nutritionist recommend that a vitamin D blood serum level of 80 to just under 100 for breast cancer survivors.

I just read that a  2011  study  of 1,200 women showed that a serum level of 50  is associated with 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer.

I also read an interesting article in the holistic newsletter Naturalnews.com that specifically talks about vitamin D and it’s cancer fighting properties for women with triple negative breast cancer like myself.  It talks about using 5,000-10,000 IU daily as a adjuctive treatment for triple negative breast cancer.

“…reported vitamin D inhibiting a tumor growth factor in triple negative breast cancer cells, which tend to resist current conventional chemo therapies. Triple negative breast cancer is a very aggressive cancer, that often regroups after a short remission.”

So you see, having a Vitamin D blood serum level of 29 is disconcerting to me.  I want to do something about it NOW!  So I’ll pick up my prescription Vitamin D to take weekly and I’ve done some reading on foods that are high in Vitamin D.

I found this easily presented list on FitDay.com

1. Milk

Milk is an excellent source of vitamin D, as nearly all milk in this country is fortified with the vitamin. A single cup of milk can provide up to a quarter of the recommended vitamin D intake. However, most dairy products are not fortified and only contain small amounts of the vitamin.

2. Cereal

In addition to milk, many cold cereals are fortified with vitamin D. Check the box and the nutritional information to be sure of high levels.

3. Salmon

Fish, especially ones with high fat content, are excellent sources of vitamin D. One serving of salmon will provide you with your daily recommended vitamin D intake. In addition to salmon, fishes such as tuna, catfish and mackerel are good sources. Aside from the flesh of the animal, fish liver and fish oils are also high in vitamin D.

4. Eggs

A single egg can provide up to 25 IU of vitamin D. However, the vitamin is found in the egg yolk, so the whole egg, not just the whites, must be consumed.

5. Orange Juice

In addition to milk and cereal, orange juice is also commonly fortified. One half cup of fortified orange juice will provide 45 IU of vitamin D.

When I look at this list I realized these are not foods (and fortified drinks) I regularly consume.  I do eat salmon and tuna, but certainly not daily.  I rarely drink orange juice or milk or eat cereal.  (I put so much fruit in my morning smoothie, who needs to drink straight orange juice?).  I did look at the nutritional content of the almond milk I use in place of milk and it has  the same amount of vitamin d as milk (25% of daily need). My breakfast is my smoothie filled with vegetables, fruit, flax and chia seeds, oats, greek yogart, almond milk and coconut water.  Do I really need to add a fish to my already overflowing smoothie?  Ick, I think not.

Well this list does have me thinking about some of the foods and drinks I’ve been avoiding.  Think I’ll pick up some salmon for dinner when I get my prescription.

I still don’t know what caused me to feel so rotten last week, but there is blessing to it.  I had my blood work done and am now aware of my low D level.

I believe knowledge is power and we need to take as much control as we are able to heal and build defense against disease in our bodies.

So ladies, make sure you are taking your D, have your levels checked periodically and talk to your doctor about your Vitamin D serum level and what supplements you should be taking.

In Service & Hope,

Karen

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