Help me understand Vitamins A and D better - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 12-10-2010, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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So, if you get more polyunsaturated fats, you need more A, right?

And if you get more A, you need more D?  What's the right balance?

And you don't want any of them to be synthetic.

 

So, I feel like we're getting plenty of A.  Pretty much all the fats that we eat are Omega 6:3 balanced, and most are low in polyunsaturated fats period.  Besides fish and flax seed, we basically just have fat from pastured meat, olive oil, and coconut oil.  Does that mean that our need for Vitamin A is lower than people eating more vegetable oils?

 

I'm not sure how much I need to have CLO or other fish oil in order to balance omega 3's.  We eat a good amount of fish, especially salmon, and make sushi once a week.  I'm mostly concerned about the vitamins.  It seems like Vitamin A is represented very well in the TF diet.  Vitamin D seems harder to come by, and I don't know of sources of Vitamin D that do not also have a whole lot more Vitamin A.  I'm just trying to figure out if this is a problem, especially with all the research coming out on the importance of Vitamin D.

 

We're entering winter here, and I've heard conflicting reports about whether or not it's possible to get enough Vitamin D here year-round.  I try to make sure we get outside around noon every day, but in the winter, it's so cold, that even if we do get outside then, we have to be so well covered that not much of our bodies can be exposed to the sun, so I am concerned about our ability to get enough Vitamin D.  We just had our first cold of the season, and it lasted over a week.

 

I know we should really just go get our Vitamin D levels tested, but I'm also looking at how to get more D.  Are there any foods that contain a lot of D but not a lot of A as well?  I'm also looking at supplements.  I talked to somebody from Carlson's on the phone, and she said that the D drops that they have are sourced from lanolin.  The "precursors" to vitamin D are "extracted" from the lanolin, so it is "lanolin free."  Then they "add a methyl group" and "expose it to energy" to convert it to vitamin D.  She stressed that this is basically how our skin works to convert sunlight to Vitamin D in our bodies and stated that "it's completely safe, as long as you don't give your baby too much."  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  What do you think?

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#2 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, but I'm already aware of how Calcium and Vitamin D operate together.  I'm looking for information on how Vitamin D and Vitamin A work together or in opposition?  I'm not really interested in supplements either, unless they're really necessary.  I'd like to get my nutrients from my food.

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#3 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 08:59 AM
 
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I'm sorry, OP, that I don't know much about your question. I wanted to chime in though and correct the PP who stated that calcium is a water-soluble vitamin. This is simply not true. Calcium isn't a vitamin at all. It's a mineral, present in the Earth's crust. It is water-soluble, but that doesn't mean you can't take too much. It is fairly non-toxic, and long-term overdose is more significant than one single overdose, but there are still side effects to taking too much-- for instance, kidney stones. Even Vitamin C, which IS a water-soluble vitamin, can cause watery, frequent diarrhea, if you take too much. Your body gets rid of it, certainly, but the way it does so is not always pleasant.

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#4 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 09:30 AM
 
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Sources of pure vitamin D3 are lanolin. there is also a plant based source(ergocalciferol) called D2, but its conversion rate to D3 is about 10:1

Cholecalciferol( D3) can come in a variety of amount and is extremely affordable (ie,1000ui 180 gel caps for around $20 and thats estimating high)

 

 You can also get it from eggs, grassfed butter, liver, fatty fish(then you start to run into the vitamin A issues) ...anyway. Your best bet is to check the vitaminDcouncil.org website. There is a ton of information on there about vitamin A and D. 

 I know you said that you would rather not supplement but its pretty damn near impossible to get the amount you need from food alone unless you have been eating this way all your life AND spend all day everyday in the summer naked. Your best bet is to get your level tested and go from there. 

 There is another thread on here where we talked about vitamin A and D (http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1283366/discolored-teeth )

Tanyalynn had an interesting comment about it

 


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#5 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 09:33 AM
 
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Hey just realized you are on the thread! lol.gif So, yeah stuff you already know. 


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#6 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, neverdoingitagain.  It was your link on that thread that made me wonder about it more.  I know that lanolin is considered to be a natural source of D3, but the woman I talked to said that lanolin just contains the precursors to D3 and explained some of the process, and it just doesn't sound quite as natural to me.  Do you know anything more about that?

 

What is a good ratio from food for Vitamin D and A?  Why does having more A increase your need for D?  Why are there so many stories of curing rickets with CLO when it contains so much vit A, and that's supposedly not as good.  If it's not synthetic, does Vit A have the same issues?

 

I don't think that being out in the sun all day would help as much as I could wish.  Our bodies can only make so much Vit. D each day, so once you've hit that point, it doesn't help much to stay outside.

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#7 of 11 Old 12-13-2010, 05:11 AM
 
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I thought I got plenty of sun and took a vit d3 sup, but I recently got tested and was low.  Now that it is winter, I takr 10,000 ius per day

 

 I would give a baby vit d3 anyday of the winter.

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#8 of 11 Old 12-13-2010, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I think it also depends on where you live.  In Vermont, there's no way you're getting enough Vitamin D from the sun.  I'm in a borderline area.

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#9 of 11 Old 12-29-2010, 04:16 AM
 
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you've asked a tough question for which there is no answer - imho

 

the balance varies from person to person. you cant apply a cookie cutter rule for everyone. 

 

dd and i mainly eat the same foods, she is outside more than i am .... yet my Ds are higher than hers. 

 

salmon is a good source of D. 

 

Disclaimer : However i am on a totally different bandwagon. i think our knowledge of nutrition is where surgery was in the 1600s. you buy into one, and soon enough new data comes out. 

 

i really do believe in the whole concept of 'eating' and enjoying your food. to eat a variety, to eat fresh and organic, to eat all teh colours and as much variety as one can get. my gpa used to ask us to leave the table if we were eating unwillingly. he used to tell us if we are not respecting the food we are eating, then we might as well not eat as it will just pass thru our system instead of being absorbed. 

 

also i have a question. do we have to eat the same thru out the year. does our vitamin levels have to be the same? to me it seems natural if it is skewed one season compared to the others. like winter you focus on the roots and salmon. but summer its eggs and above ground - not so much salmon. 


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#10 of 11 Old 12-29-2010, 04:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post


 

i really do believe in the whole concept of 'eating' and enjoying your food. to eat a variety, to eat fresh and organic, to eat all teh colours and as much variety as one can get. my gpa used to ask us to leave the table if we were eating unwillingly. he used to tell us if we are not respecting the food we are eating, then we might as well not eat as it will just pass thru our system instead of being absorbed. 

 

Such a good point!

 

also i have a question. do we have to eat the same thru out the year. does our vitamin levels have to be the same? to me it seems natural if it is skewed one season compared to the others. like winter you focus on the roots and salmon. but summer its eggs and above ground - not so much salmon. 

That is so interesting to think about.  Did you read about this?  I am wanting to learn more about seasonally eating.  Makes alot of sense to me.
 

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#11 of 11 Old 12-29-2010, 08:14 AM
 
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orngbiggrin.gif

 

well indirectly yes.

 

i was reading about a completely different topic. Changes in the land - Indians, colonists and the ecology of New England by William Cronon. 

 

its a history book where he follows the native americans - one group who practised agriculture, and one who didnt. it isnt directly related towards food - but for some reason it inspired me to think. i am already part of a CSA and since it provides the bulk of my food, i am already eating seasonally. reminded me a lot of what my gpa used to say about our attitude towards food. 

 

the book is fascinating for many reasons - provides many perspectives. for instance its also made me think of fasting. because i have noticed with dd and me we tend to slow down in winter. we dont eat that much and i fast naturally sometimes when i realise in the evening, i have not eaten all day. 

 

movies like 'life and debt' has made me think so much about how our need for exotic food is destroying other nations. and we can only do it because of farm subsidies that make bananas cheaper for us at the cost of the livelihood and disease to jamaican farmers who are affected deeply by IMF and World Bank (indirectly the US therefore me) policies and the pesticide use which is causing disease to the local farmers/workers while making the frogs disappear here in CA and i am sure across the US http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124422894

 

so seasonal eating is my way of activism - a refusal to give into capitalism. i buy from farmers markets so that i only have to go to the grocery store on rare, rare occasion for things like oils. we have an asian farmers market which is local farmers within the city. they cant afford the 'organic' label but if you talk to them they honestly tell you what they do to the land and what they use. most of them are organic (makes a huge difference when you grow the food as opposed to hired labor) and they sell their wares really cheap. and its yummy and tasty. veggies though are cheaper than fruit.  

 

however a serious warning: its a life long committment. once you start you cant stop. for instance the bulk of my food is directly from the fields here. you get hooked in. my life changed completely. and so did my dd. for a child who was completely going away from veggies (she has always been a good eater and had recently given up veggies) we are now mostly vegetarians. dd and i have chosen to only eat the best and not eat it if we cant afford it. our tastes have changed. so much so that dd takes a lunch to school now and stands up when the other kids make fun of her food. i can never again eat a store carrot or broccoli. they taste so insipid. i gag when i see the kookaid orange colour of the carrots. if i eat too much non organic food my body expunges it violently. i cook EVERYTHING. i throw almost NOTHING away. which i add to soup. so i cook the tops - the leaves of broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, turnips... 

 

aaaaaah it has increased my food diversity by over 200%. i didnt cook much squash. only a few summer squash. i now easily cook at least 10 different squashes. squashes whose names i didnt know, some which i've never seen before. my reliance on onions and potatoes are gone. 

 

now i am getting into wild foods - foods that you will never find in a store or farmers market. 

 

if there is a book on seasonal eating i have no idea what it is. 

 

also seasonal eating inspires the adventurer in me. i love the mystery of cooking. of trying out different spices and different combinations. in fact if i dont have very much leaves to add i tend to hardly use any spices because the basic food is sooo flavourful.

 

yes local organic meat is very expensive. so we rarely eat it. between my volunteer box and the farmers market we manage pretty well. 

 


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