Vitamin D Deficiency

Studies show that many people with SCI have a vitamin D deficiency – an essential vitamin that's even harder to get in the winter

Several studies from the National Institutes of Health all reach the same conclusion: People with spinal-cord injury (SCI) are more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency than able-bodied people. One study published in 2007 found that 94% of people with SCI have a vitamin D deficiency.

This vitamin is especially important for people with SCI because of their susceptibility to osteoporosis. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium, which in turn prevents and treats osteoporosis by strengthening bones.

The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun, which, for people not living in a warm climate, can be difficult in the winter.  Here are some tips to get your fill of vitamin D before spring and summer grace us again:

-Take a supplement: The most commonly recommended method for people with SCI is to supplement 400­–800 IU of vitamin d as cholecalciferol per day.

-Diet: Although the most effective way to get vitamin D is from the sun, you can also get it through what you eat. Try adding a few of these options to your diet:

                        -Seafood: cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, tuna, sardines

                        -Dairy: milk, cheese

                        -Protein: liver, eggs

-Buy fortified products: Increase the number of foods you consume that contain vitamin D by buying products fortified with the vitamin. You can find vitamin D fortified orange juice, milk, yogurt and cereal right at your regular grocery store.

-Hang out by a window: All it takes is 5–30 minutes of skin exposure to the sunlight to get your vitamin D fill. Even if you can’t get outside with your skin exposed to the sunlight, go hang out by a window while reading the paper, or eating your lunch. Those extra rays will do your body good and staying inside will keep you toasty!

As always, talk to your doctor before making changes to your diet or supplement plan.


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