Before we even get into today’s blog, I have a simple question for you. What would you prefer? Acceptable health, or optimal health? I can’t imagine a single person who would be happy with acceptable health when optimal health was on offer. So from that question, I would hazard a guess and say that in regards to health, we want optimal every time.
Let’s start with one of the most common misunderstood nutrient status’s out there- vitamin D. Vitamin D is such an important fat soluble nutrient. It is vital for bone strength, healthy hormone levels, adrenal function, healthy pregnancy, preventing cancers (including skin cancers), and in autoimmune diseases. Honestly, its uses and functions are far to extensive for me to list here, suffice to say it is very, VERY important to our health. And being in Australia, we have had the slip-slop-slap slogan hammered into us for many years. It is not at all surprising then that I constantly see vitamin D deficiency and sub-optimal levels in my patients. You need the sun to make vitamin D, and you can’t make D if you slip-slop-slap every time you step outside.
If you can persuade your doctor to test for vitamin D (it’s quite hard, for some reason they are not keen on requesting this test under Medicare for you), or if you pay for your vitamin D levels to be check through a private lab (organised by naturopaths and costing approximately $60), you will receive your results as a unit measurement on an acceptable scale. Depending on the testing company, the results may say anything over 50 units is an ACCEPTABLE reading. According to Dr Michael Horlick’s research on vitamin D, OPTIMALLY we want to see levels of approximately 150 units. As you can see, there is a massive difference between 50 and 150.
I see so many patients coming in dejectedly with their test results, feeling down in the dumps after their doctor has told them there is no deficiency in their D levels. After often having to fight to get this test done in the first place, many patients feel the result is a big slap in the face. It is only when I get to see the results and see they have a reading of 52, that their mood begins to change. Yes, according to your doctor you are not deficient, but you actually have only a third of the vitamin D you need to be optimally healthy. And that, to me, is classed as a deficiency.
The same goes for iodine. This is another nutrient I often see deficient in patients. With our soils in Australia devoid of iodine, and our culture not including a high sea vegetable intake, it is no wonder that numerous Australians are suffering from undiagnosed iodine deficiency. Iodine is vital for healthy hormones, adrenals, thyroid, brain function, pregnancy, and healthy development.
The optimal level for this nutrient is 150-200 units. But according to doctors, anything over 100 is acceptable. I have seen a few patients now who have struggled with their health for years, get every test the doctors suggest, try all sorts of medication for all sorts of possible things, and still feel terribly unwell. On testing their iodine levels I have found them severely deficient (results of under 20 units). I have then seen these patients improve miraculously through simply supplementing with iodine and boosting their levels into the optimal range.
If you are interested in testing either of these levels, please contact a naturopath like me, or your doctor and test first. In some cases, supplementing with iodine when not needed, can worsen health. And always remember to ask for copies of your test results. A simple glance at your results and telling you “all’s fine” does not tell you anything about your health.
So there you have it. Optimals, not acceptables people. Live an optimal life, in optimal health. You deserve it.