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Bringing the D: Benefits of the Sunshine Vitamin

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What is Vitamin D?

Did you know that Vitamin D is not really a vitamin? In actuality, it’s a steroid, with hormone like qualities. D helps to synchronize the tasks of at least 200 genes that we know of, while playing a major role in our physical advancement. The majority of D comes from the sun: our skin absorbs ultraviolet rays, which is then converted into D. Scant amounts of D can also be absorbed into the body through what we eat.

How Does it Work?

Vitamin D comes in two forms; D2 and D3. D3 is synthesized through the skin via the sun. D2 is converted through what we ingest orally. When D is absorbed into the body, it is sent to the liver, which converts it into a chemical called 25(OH)D. The 25(OH)D is then distributed throughout your body so that various tissues can convert it into a hormone known as active Vitamin D (calcitriol). After the conversion, D helps to regulate the calcium in your bloodstream, bones, and digestive system. It also helps cells communicate in a more organized fashion.

How Does it Help?

1- Through D’s management and distribution of Calcium, it is crucial to maintaining healthy bones. In fact, both rickets and osteoporosis are linked to Vitamin D deficiencies.

2- While scientific research hasn’t conclusively proven that D can bolster the immune system, scientists feel that there is enough evidence to indicate that it may help in improving autoimmune functions that are compromised. While Vitamin D may not prevent infections such as influenza, it has been proven that it does impact T-cells, thus supporting the inflammatory process which helps us to recover in due time.

3- D can also help with Diabetes. Sufficient D levels can help with insulin secretion, as well as glucose tolerance.

4- Sufficient D levels may also reduce the risk of childhood diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eczema.

Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in today's world, yet it provides so many benefits. Deficiency has been found to be linked with diabetes, autoimmune disease, rickets, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, Alxheimer's and Depression. Learn more about what it is, how to get enough and what levels are safe a practical if you need to supplement this powerful sunshine vitamin.

5- Vitamin D can help women get through a healthy pregnancy. Healthy levels help to reduce the risk of preclampsia, gestational diabetes, and vaginal bacteriosis.

6- D can also help cancer patients, by slowing growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue. This can result in cancer cell death, or at the least, the retardation of cancer cell growth.

7- Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, depression, as well as many autoimmune diseases.

How Much do I need?

While no two persons have the same requirements, it is recommended that between 400 to 800 IU be taken daily to keep healthy levels of 25(HO)D in your bloodstream. However, this amount may not be sufficient for everyone and can vary based on regular exposure to sunshine, obesity levels, age, skin color, health, etc. While D is stored in fat, overdosing on D has not really been an issue. You would have to take over 50,000 IU a day for a prolonged period of time, which could result in a toxic build up of calcium and phosphates in the blood stream.

If you’re a person with issues of severe deficiency due to health conditions, you may need to take as much as 3,000-10,000 IU per day to reach sufficient levels of Vitamin D, like myself and Michelle, who are at opposite ends of these ranges. As always, I caution everyone to consult with their healthcare team before starting any supplement. A blood test will reveal the level of 25(HO)D that exists, and your doctor should know based on that testing what amount is right for you. Once you’re taking D, it’s a good idea to retest your levels periodically to make necessary adjustments.

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Where can I find D?

Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in today's world, yet it provides so many benefits. Deficiency has been found to be linked with diabetes, autoimmune disease, rickets, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's and Depression. Learn more about what it is, how to get enough and what levels are safe a practical if you need to supplement this powerful sunshine vitamin.

The sun is the best way to get it. As little as 30 minutes of exposure to 40% percent of your skin can produce as much as 90% percent of D needed to maintain healthy bones and cells. However, exposure to much needed D producing UV rays can be inhibited by climate, season, and skin color. Exposure can also be limited by how much one is actually able to get out doors! Vitamin D is also found in fish, cod liver oil, eggs, mushrooms, fortified milk, orange juice and yogurt, as well as beef liver and fortified cereals. Supplements are also a good way to build up D intake: In fact, I take a D supplement which has worked well in maintaining my 25(HO)D levels in my bloodstream. So far, every blood test given to me has resulted in sufficient levels of active vitamin D.

If you decide to supplement D, here are some of our tried and true organic, Non-GMO and soy-free favorites from Amazon arranged by potency:

It’s D-lightful!

Vitamin D is necessary for healthy living. It promotes bone growth. It facilitates communication in over 200 cells. It a mainstay for a healthy pregnancy, as well as a healthy childhood. It may help to stave off or slow major diseases such as Diabetes or Cancer. It will even vacuum your floor! Alright, that last claim is fictitious: However, Vitamin D will assist in maintaining strong healthy bones, which will allow you to run your vacuum cleaner without snapping a femur or tibia :). Many people suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. Please get your blood levels tested. You may find that your 25(HO)D levels are low, and that Vitamin D may be exactly what you need to up your health and wellness game!

Sources

  1. Naeem, Zahid. “Vitamin D Deficiency- An Ignored Epidemic.” International Journal of Health Sciences.
  2. Ware, Megan. “What Are the Health Benefits of Vitamin D?” Medical News Today.
  3. Gruber-Bzura, Beata M. “Vitamin D and Influenza-Prevention or Therapy?” International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
  4. NIH. “Vitamin D Fact Sheet.”
  5. Vitamin D Council. “Testing for Vitamin D.”
  6. Harvard TH Chan School of Health. “The Nutrition Source: Vitamin D.”

David Curtis lives in Florence, KY with his wife Michelle, 2 Russian Blue cats and his many fish. David manages the pet department of a prominent retail chain in addition to caring for his wife, pets and home. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, exploring history, watching football, sci-fi, fantasy or comic book shows and film, along with fighting for truth, justice, and the human condition. Much like Tyrion Lannister, he also drinks (coffee) and knows things.

Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in today's world, yet it provides so many benefits. Deficiency has been found to be linked with diabetes, autoimmune disease, rickets, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's and Depression. Learn more about what it is, how to get enough and what levels are safe a practical if you need to supplement this powerful sunshine vitamin.
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4 thoughts on “Bringing the D: Benefits of the Sunshine Vitamin

  1. I must admit after speaking with several people within the EDS community there seems to be a lot of people with low Vitamin D with EDS, even myself I have EDS and its been noted that how crucial vitamin D. Vitamin D is a very important vitamin for the body.

    1. You are right. It is essential that you have proper levels of Vitamin D in your system. It’s essentially a building block for bones and cells. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I’ve posted about Vit D before and – you must have read my mind – I have a refreshed version of the post in my drafts folder ready to publish for the winter! It’s so incredibly important yet rarely gets much of a mention, and doesn’t typically come up in standard blood tests either. I was found to be chronically deficient with next to nothing showing on my test a couple of years ago so I had to have high dose supplementation for a few months, then I’ve been told to take standard supplements for life. This may have been a big contributor to my osteopenia, however, which is why they first requested the test. If only they’d tested sooner or I’d have known more about it years ago.. Great way to raise awareness and brilliant suggestions for getting more of it!
    Caz xx

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback. I think I’m finally shaking the rust off my writing skills, lol. I’m trying to work my way through some of the more overlooked vitamins and minerals that our body needs, yet routinely gets ignored. I need a D supplement because I’m a vampire who doesn’t get out much during the day. Just kidding-Or am I?

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