Vitamin D is a fat soluble, steroid, hormone/nutrient that you can get abundantly for free from the sun. Every cell in your body needs it and it is nearly impossible to overdose on sunshine. Some of you may be wondering what fat soluble means; it means that it dissolves or becomes absorbed in fat making it harder for your body to utilize it. Many doctors agree that about 85% of the population is deficient, of that number dark skin people are up to 99% deficient and of the light skin people up to 85% are deficient.
It has several functions. The most important is that it promotes calcium absorption and enhances bone mineralization. It performs a kind of blood rescue. When calcium levels are too low in the blood it draws the calcium and phosphorous from the bones to the blood bringing levels back to normal.
It also reduces oxidative stress on cells, protects against free radicals, safeguards cells against neurotoxins, promotes nervous system health, increases levels of glutathione (your body’s master antioxidant) and helps maintain healthy weight by inhibiting lipase.
Cofactors of D Vitamins
In order to get the best absorption and metabolism of this vitamin it requires other nutrients to be available in the body. The most of important cofactor is
The other cofactors are vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc and boron.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Sign of being extremely deficient in children is the development of a condition called rickets. The child may have bowed legs, knock-knees, softening of the skull bones, spinal curvature and increased joint size. Adults can develop, osteomalacia, when extremely deficient which means softening of the bone.
Being deficient can lead to a whole host of health challenges which include:
Birth defects Cancer prevention
Crohns Disease Dental Health
Fibromyalgia Heart Disease
High Blood Pressure
Inflammatory bowel disease
MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
Polycystic ovary disease
Where to get Vitamin D?
The best and easiest place to get it is from the sun. It is said that as little as 15 to 20 minutes a day when your shadow is smaller than you are, is able to prevent deficiencies. Some food sources are salmon, tuna, mackerel and fortified dairy products, such as milk.
Old Dietary Reference Intake:
0 to 12months: 400 IU or 10 mcg
1 to 50+ years: 400 IU or 10mcg
Pregnant or lactating: 200+ IU or 5+ mcg
Recent Dose Recommendations:
Below 5 years old: 35 units per pound per day
Age 5 to 10: 2500 units
Adults: 5000 units
Pregnant or lactating women: 5000 units
However, the only way to know what level is correct for you is by getting a blood test done.
People that may need more of this vitamin are those who are dark skin, overweight or don’t spend enough time in the sunshine, pregnant women and the elderly.
Cholesterol is needed to help this vitamin do its job. If you are taking statins your body may have trouble utilizing the vitamin. Also windows block the UVB rays (good) and only allow UVA rays (bad). When a person’s body absorbs too much of the UVA rays they can cause mutations and break down the D Vitamin. So go outside in the sun to get the best results.
Types of D Vitamins
There are several types of D vitamins; however the two main ones that our bodies can use are D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is a synthetic form found in milk, which can become toxic to the body if the natural form is too low. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the natural form that we receive from the sun and certain foods such as eggs, organ meats, animal fat and cod liver oil is best for our bodies.
Studies have concluded that vitamin D2 should not be regarded as an appropriate nutrient for supplementation or fortification in foods but no changes have been made within the food industry yet and it is still used.