Vitamin D = The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine Vitamin. It is actually produced inside the human skin when we come into contact with the light from the sun's rays! 80% to 90% of the vitamin D that our body gets – is obtained through exposure to sunlight. It can be found in small amounts in certain foods, like fatty fish. Although, big companies decided to add vitamin D to dairy products, juices, and cereals that are then said to be “fortified with vitamin D.” Synthetic vitamin D, to be exact!
Vitamin D Deficiency
You not that feeling when the sky has been grey for a few days and all you want to see is some sun? Well that's vitamin D deficiency creeping up on you. Being the sunshine vitamin, it actually produces happiness! Since many of us live AWAY from the equator, we hibernate inside watching our Netflix or on our technology.. we are not exposed to vitamin D every day of the year and vitamin D deficiency has actually become an epidemic! Which is why supplementation can be very important for those who aren't exposed to enough vitamin D. People who live in the warmer countries are exposed to much more vitamin D which means, supplementation may not be necessary every day! But for those who wear sun screen on their skin can reduce the ability to synthesize vitamin D by 95%. This may be a good time to start supplementing vitamin D.
Forms of Vitamin D:
Vitamin D comes in 2 forms - the animal source: D3, and the plant source: D2. D2 is best for vegan's and vegetarians. However our bodies cannot absorb D2, so the body must convert form D2 to D3 with the help of the mineral Magnesium once it's entered the body. When choosing a vitamin D at the health food store, look for the form D3 to ensure your body will not have to process a conversion and so you can absorb as much as you can. In health food stores in Canada, vitamin D is only available in 1000 IU doses.
Vitamin D is not just a vitamin!! It acts more like a hormone then a vitamin, having an influence on more than 200 genes. It's needed in hundreds and hundreds of reactions in the body from hormone & bone health, metabolism to our immune system. Here are my favorite uses for vitamin D!
Uses for Vitamin D:
Supports the health of our brain and nervous system.
Reduced risk of illness and colds. Vitamin A and D combined has been shown in studies to reduce the incident of colds and the flu.
Vitamin D maintains healthy bones, teeth and gums. It helps regulate calcium metabolism and influences the use of the mineral phosphorus (these 2 minerals with other minerals, make up our bones). Vitamin D is used for treating weak bones, bone pain (osteoporosis and osteomalacia) and bone loss. Calcium, Vitamin D and Magnesium all together is ideal for best bone health.
Cancer prevention. It helps regulate cell growth and cell-to-cell communication. Some studies have suggested that vitamin D supplementation can reduce cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, increasing cancer cell death.
Regulates insulin levels, reducing the risk of Diabetes.
Used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, menopause, asthma and arthritis
Take Away Message:
Vitamin D is a very important nutrient! Used in hundreds of reactions in the human body, it is crucial not to be deficient in it. Be sure to get your daily dose of vitamin D by soaking up the sun's rays or head to your local health food store and look for vitamin D3 sublingual tablets or drops to be taking on a daily basis.