As winter approaches we are missing a few things… Shorts, Sunglasses, Summer Sun and most importantly Vitamin D!
Most people know of Vitamin D as the “Sunshine Vitamin”. What they don’t realize is that 90% of the elderly and over 80% of Americans are deficient in this fat-soluble nutrient! As a provider in Iowa, I can attest to these numbers as I have seen hundreds of vitamin D levels in all ages, with almost 95% of my patients having low levels (I consider normal Vitamin D to fall between 50-80ng/ml. Conventional medicine says 20-50 is normal but those numbers are from old data).
Did you know:
Dark skinned people make less vitamin D than those with light skin? Or that aging skin makes 75% less vitamin D than young skin? What about the use of sunscreen, actually blocking Vitamin D production in the skin?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin (meaning it is absorbed in the lymph, transported in the blood, and can be stored in the liver and fatty tissues for use as needed). The sun’s energy turns a chemical in your skin into vitamin D3, which is carried to your liver and then your kidneys to transform it to active vitamin D which is used throughout the body.
Vitamin D Functions:
Vitamin D has shown to work well with calcium to help with bone formation and calcium metabolism. Just as important are vitamin D’s roles in reducing autoimmune symptoms by reducing inflammation. It also protects the lining of blood vessels to reduce the risk of cardiovascular incidences (stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol). Low levels of vitamin D are commonly found in 80% of diabetic patients, correcting vitamin D levels improves overall diabetic signs and symptoms. Seasonal Affective Disorder and other mood disorders are often worsened with low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of colds/flu and even reduces the risk for cancer by helping the cells communicate more effectively, allowing cells to differentiate into normal, healthy cells.
Best ways to reach optimal Vitamin D levels:
1. Get your Vitamin D levels tested! Your provider will order a 25-OH Vitamin D test, to test your levels and see where you stand. This is good to do every 6 months.
2. MmMm Sardines… Eat Vitamin D rich foods! including cold water fish such as wild salmon, wild cod, sardines and cod liver oil. The downside of fish would be the mercury that is contained in most fish. If you choose this route eat wild caught fish and only on occasion. Eating fish regularly in most cases, is not enough to get your VItamin D stores to regular level. Egg yolks are another source of Vitamin D.
3. Get your Sun on! Sitting outside without sunscreen for 20-30 minutes in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is less powerful is of biggest benefit. Do use a natural sunscreen during the midday to protect your skin.
4. Get your Supplement on! Vitamin D3 between 2,000-10,000 IU daily is what I typically recommend after I see what my patients blood levels are (this is why they are important). Be sure when you are supplementing, to take the correct form of Vitamin D which is Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), not Vitamin D2… D3 is biologically active and available to cells. If you see a product with D2, run!
Supplements can come in the form of IM injections (for the patients that need mega doses), capsules, liquid or chews/tabs. We love our Vitamin D3 + K2 2,000 IU chew tabs from https://select-balance.com/products/vitamin-d3-k2-chewable
‡ These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.