Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vitamin D Deficiency Problems in Teens and Adults

The best way to get Vitamin D is to get sun on your bare flesh for at least 15 minutes a day.

But people have been told for years to cover up, to slather themselves with sunblock, or just not spend time in the sun.

Is this leading to a problem? Could be, wrote Mary Brophy Marcus, in an article and a sidebar in USA Today.

Older adults have long been known to be short on Vitamin D, probably because they tend to spend less time outdoors than younger people. Whatever it is about our modern lifestyles, however, younger adults, teens, adolescents, even infants are showing the effects.

Pediatricians had thought the problem had been solved among children with the vitamin D fortification of milk, cereal and other foods. But an ever-lengthening roster of studies is revealing vitamin D deficiency is more common than previously believed in youngsters, including breast-fed babies and teens.

"Vitamin D deficiency is much more of a health problem than anyone realized," says Catherine Gordon, director of the bone health program at Children's Hospital Boston. In the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Gordon and her colleagues found that 40% of infants and toddlers tested below average for vitamin D. In a previous study, Gordon and fellow researchers discovered that 42% of adolescents were vitamin D deficient.

Breastfeeding is no help here because there is no vitamin D in human milk. [The rise in breastfeeding is therefore coinciding with a rise in rickets.] None in cow's milk either, but all milk in the U.S. is fortified with some vitamin D. But people are drinking less milk and of course you, my readers, are especially likely not to get many dairy products in your diets.

Vitamin D supplements are therefore a good idea for those who may no be getting enough from their diets or from the sun.
Current recommendations by the Institute of Medicine suggest 200 IUs of vitamin D a day for children and 400 IUs for adults, but [Lisa] Callahan, [co-director of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York], who serves on an institute committee that aims to update those guidelines, says she suggests higher levels to many of her patients, at least 800 to 1,000 IUs a day.

Some sun is necessary to get the ultraviolet B (uvB) rays that activate it. But this is harder for those prone to skin cancer and darker-skinned peoples (who are also statistically more likely to be lactose intolerant) to achieve safely.

You can get a blood test to see if you have sufficient levels of vitamin D in your system. The deficiency mark is 20 ng/mL [nanograms per milliliter] or lower. A normal reading is 30 ng/mL or higher.

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