Avoiding meats and dairy products, I have been trying a vegan diet as much as possible. I lost some weight, but wondering about my cholesterol and calcium levels, I requested blood tests.
Cholesterol Improved, Calcium in Normal Range, but Vitamin D Deficient
Before I was prescribed a thyroid hormone medicine, my cholesterol was 300. Now after 4 months, it has dropped to 230 with 79 in HDL (good cholesterol; standard is >40) and 131 in LDL ( bad cholesterol; standard is <100) though I still have to work on it since the ideal is less than 200.
The calcium level, which I was curious about as I have avoided dairy products, was 9.3 which was good as the standard was between 8.5 and 10.7.
However, the vitamin D was only 17, vs. 30-100 as the standard.
I thought vitamin D deficiency was a problem only for people who lived in cold areas without enough sun. Living in LA where most days are mild and sunny throughout a year, it was totally unexpected to hear that my vitamin D level was so poor. Maybe I haven’t gone out often since I got cancer, or this is also a side effect of the medicines. Regardless, I am glad I found out I have vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D Helps for Calcium Intake
Without vitamin D, it seems difficult for a body to absorb calcium even if it is enough in a blood stream. Calcium is important not only for bones but also for muscles and the heart. In fact, if calcium is not enough in muscles, it may cause muscle pains or cramps.
I have had cramps so often during nights for almost a year and my nails have become brittle. Maybe those are all because of vitamin D deficiency.
I was told to take a vitamin D supplement once a week and sunbathing every day, as tolerated, without sun block.
Surprisingly, even less than a week after I started taking vitamin D, my leg cramp that had happened every night has gone!
Food High in Vitamin D
To improve my vitamin D level, what should I eat? I searched.
Vitamin D is included mostly in seafood such as salmon , sardines, oysters, etc. Soy milk is also recommended, but the content of vitamin D is less than 1/3 of fish.
A reason for vegans to discourage eating seafood is mercury contamination, but with vitamin D deficiency, I have to modify my diet. I decided to put seafood back in my diet.
Although it is cold outside, sunbathing seems more important than diet. Without waiting for spring, I should start taking care of our back yard, so that I can kill two birds with one stone; our back yard and my vitamin D. 🙂