What is Vitamin D? Where do you get it? Could you be deficient?

Did you know Vitamin D is not really a “vitamin”, it is more like a hormone. Our bodies produce it when the sun’s rays react with cholesterol after being absorbed by your skin. So what happens when you avoid the sun, live in a northern climate, or use a daily dose of sunscreen? No sun rays are absorbed, which means no Vitamin D is produced. Most hormone levels decline as we age, and the same is true for Vitamin D production.

Obtaining Vitamin D

Sources include fortified dairy, cereal, and soy products (actually the word fortified = supplement), cod liver oil, fish, oysters, caviar, salami, ham, sausages, eggs, and cooked button mushrooms. As you can see, these are not the most user friendly sources for daily consumption.

The more you think about it, the more it shares the stereotypical deficiency concerns most of us have with vitamin B12, iron, and calcium. Take a look at your lifestyle, and make sure to have your vitamin D levels checked.

Why Vitamin D ?

Vitamin D is required for almost every bodily function (like most hormones are). Given our current severity and frequency of health challenges here in the USA, it makes sense to look at how D is playing a role. Or in many cases not playing a role, because of people’s sub par levels.

Bone health and strength, cancer, and overall immune health and function, are the 3 biggest areas of health research connected to the deficiency or insufficiency of Vitamin D in our population.

Vitamin D Supplementation

Studies are showing that daily supplementation from anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 IU (international unit) may be required for optimal health. Gone are the days when everyone feared “Vitamin D” as a “fat soluble” vitamin that was going to store in the body and create toxicity, and supplementing with more than 400 IU a day was frowned upon.

There is such a thing as too much vitamin D, but that level is going to be different for everyone, and it is much higher than was once thought. In general vitamin D is safely held in circulation and in body tissues until it is needed, and the kidneys do the needed conversion. Work with your qualified healthcare professional to determine your needs. They should test, know your lifestyle – including outdoor activity, sunscreen use, and understand your daily diet.

Make sure to see the updated information on Vitamin D dosing measurements.

Keep a few things in mind:

  • The tannest person you see on the beach could still have a D deficiency.
  • If you are slathered with sunscreen everyday, you are likely to be low in vitamin D.
  • When shopping for a vitamin D supplement make sure to purchase D3. That is the human body’s favorite form, increasing its ability to be absorbed and processed and lessen the likelihood of toxicity by taking too much.

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