Why we need Vitamin D

Posted by FJ Leto on August 25, 2021

Vitamin D is an integral component in terms of a healthy body.  However, between living in the Northeast and also being told to slather on sunscreen at the slightest possibility of sun exposure, we’re discovering that most people are, in fact, suffering from vitamin D deficiency.  

Vitamin D deficiency occurs when the body is not getting enough.  Vitamin D is different from other vitamins because in order for your body to make it, you must have regular sun exposure and/ or take proper supplements.  Therefore, living in the northeast in the fall and winter months, it is relatively common for vitamin D levels to drop.  

While not saying that every person who is vitamin D deficient has other health conditions, the deficiency has been linked to several health conditions including, asthma, cancer, type ll diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases such as, crohn’s and multiple sclerosis.

The good news is that it is a deficiency that is relatively easy to test and rectify.  We will touch on that further down, but for now we want to focus in on the importance of vitamin D and the role it plays in our body.

Vitamin D is essential for bone health.  While calcium is the more common mineral discussed when it comes to bone structure and strength, it is vitamin D that is required for the body to be able to absorb calcium.  Regardless of how much calcium is coming from your diet, if you’re not getting enough vitamin D, your body is unable to absorb and use it.  

In addition to bone health, vitamin D is an integral part of our overall health and is beneficial to our immune system for fighting infection, muscle function, cardiovascular health for healthy heart and circulation, respiratory health for healthy lungs and airways, our brain development and also for its anti-cancer effects.

In order to work  for our bodies, vitamin D has to change before it can be used.  Vitamin D is sent to your liver where it is converted to what is called 25(OH)D.  It is then sent to the rest of the body where different tissues, such as the kidneys, turn it into what is know as activated vitamin D. Now it’s ready to work!

Once converted, vitamin D is hard at work managing the calcium in our blood, bones and gut.  It’s also helping cells all over our body communicate and remain healthy.

So go ahead and take that midday walk and soak up the rays.  For fairer skinned people, 15 minutes is plenty, while those with darker skin would benefit from longer exposure. The more skin that is exposed, the more vitamin D your body will produce.  Heading to the beach?  Allow yourself 15-20 minutes of exposure without sunscreen and to maximize production.

While sun is the best and most efficient way to get vitamin D it is possible to get proper vitamin D from a supplement!  

When looking for a supplement, be sure that it is vitamin D3 as this is what your body produces after sun exposure.  Most sold in stores are in fact D3, however it’s always good practice to check.  While recommended doses vary among organizations, the RDA recommends 600 IU per day for adult men and women but jumps to 800 IU per day for those 70+.  Most people need much more that the RDA, but that can easily be determined by your doctor with simple blood work.  

Two brands that we recommend are Megafood and Garden of Life. Both of these are considered vegetarian (not vegan) supplements as they are made with lanolin as opposed to most others which are often derived from fish liver.  Both can be found at most health food stores or on sites such as Amazon.

Getting the proper amount of vitamin D has so many benefits beyond our bones.  Optimal levels contribute to

  • Decreased joint pain and inflammation
  • Weight loss
  • Cancer prevention
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Restful sleep

Sounds pretty good, right?

Enjoy the sun when you can and find the right supplement for you when you can’t.  Your body will thank you!

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