Putting an end to “Potatogate”

I’ve received a lot of feedback to my recent appearance on the Rachel Ray show. “Rach” and I were discussing ways to combat seasonal affective disorder–a condition that occurs in the fall and winter when there is a general lack of sunlight (something I can relate to right now as I look out my window and it’s pitch black, raining, and I can’t even see the top of the Empire State Building two blocks away).

There are lots of solutions for this common problem (like replacing the bulbs in your lamps with full spectrum light bulbs–which I highly recommend), but we looked specifically at foods that can give you vitamin D.

Therein lies what I’ve come to refer to as “Potatogate.” There are few foods that naturally contain vitamin D3–eggs, salmon, cheese, some dark green leafy vegetables (don’t they seem to contain everything?) and yes, potatoes.

As you know by now, I am not a fan of potatoes. They pack too many carbohydrates to be eaten regularly…and most Americans eat them far too regularly. But keep in mind Rachael had asked me on the show to talk about food sources of vitamin D to ward off seasonal affective disorder–not (unfortunately) to talk about the evils of carbs.

And it’s true that potatoes do contain some vitamin D3. Just consider them a “last resort.”

Your “first resort” should actually be a vitamin D3 supplement.

But be careful! Some doctors are recommending weekly large-dose vitamin D3 shots to their patients. I think this is a bad idea. It’s not natural and overwhelms the body’s receptor sites. Plus, these shots often don’t get absorbed properly.

Here’s what I do with my patients: I test their blood for vitamin D 25 hydroxy and then, depending on the test results, advise them to take anywhere from 1,000 IU to 10,000 IU per day. (I personally take 10,000 IU per day.) From there, I continue to monitor their blood levels on a regular basis to make sure they’re between 80 and 100.