Vitamin D: not only is it powerful, it’s vital for good health.
THE POWER OF VITAMIN D
Although it’s called a vitamin, D is actually a steroid hormone that acts as a catalyst for processes that protect our cells.
Every tissue in the body needs vitamin D, yet a large percentage of the world’s population is deficient, or borderline deficient, in this critical hormone. Even a mild deficiency can contribute to chronic and autoimmune diseases such diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer (including ovarian, colon, and breast), multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis.
SHINING SOURCES OF VITAMIN D
Nature intended for us to get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, but absorption is blocked by sunscreen. We need bare-skin sun exposure for 15-20 minutes a day; most of us don’t get that. Additionally, we don’t eat enough D-rich foods, which include egg yolk, cod liver oil, shiitake mushrooms, and wild salmon. Fortified milk/dairy is not the best source because you need several cups every day. For anyone allergic to or intolerant of dairy products, this food category is off limits.
The best way to help the body establish optimal levels of vitamin D is to take a supplement.
OPTIMAL VITAMIN D LEVELS
The recommended blood level of vitamin D (above 25 nmol/L) was established to protect people from bone disease (rickets and osteomalacia). From the natural medicine perspective (and emerging scientific data), that threshold is too low to protect against serious illness or to promote optimal health. Depending on the individual, integrative and functional medicine practitioners identify 45-80 nmol/L as the ideal vitamin D blood level for disease prevention.
Age, gender, diet, stress level, and lifestyle factors affect absorption of vitamin D. An integrative and functional medicine practitioner can order a blood test prior to starting a supplement to help ensure you take the appropriate amount and form of vitamin D. Follow-up testing tracks improvement in your levels and health conditions. Your doctor can then adjust your supplement dose accordingly.
What’s your favorite way to maximize the power of vitamin D? Share in the comments below!
The VitaminD Society. Accessed 5 June 2018: http://www.vitamindsociety.org/videos.php?sub=Misc%20Vitamin%20D%20Videos
Holick, M.F., “Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (1 December 2004) 80: 6,–1688S. Accessed 5 June 2018: https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/80.6.1678S
Grassroots Health. “VitaminD*Action” brochure. Digital copy available: http://www.vitamindsociety.org/pdf/New%20D%20Action%20Call%20to%20action%20and%20FAQ%20sheet%20Jan%2011.pdf
NIH.gov “Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” Accessed 5 June 2018: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/