What is vitamin D
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone. Every tissue in our bodies need vitamin D. It is needed for overall health including bone and muscle health, heart health, immunity, metabolism, brain development, cell communication, and more.
Vitamin D proves helpful in disease prevention and treatment
Studies have show that adequate vitamin D levels can cut our cancer risk by as much as 60%. Adequate vitamin D levels have also shown promise in the prevention and treatment of a number of disease conditions including: eye and bowel diseases, chronic inflammation diseases, immune dysfunction, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), chronic inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Studies have also shown vitamin D is helpful in reducing HIV replication and in alleviating symptoms of depression. Deficiency in pregnancy has been linked to childhood asthma, allergies, dental cavities, diabetes and more.
We just don’t get enough
Here in the rainy Pacific North West, we don’t get enough vitamin D from sun exposure in the Fall through the Spring. But we’re not the only ones. Modern people the world over, even in equatorial regions are not getting enough vitamin D. Always being fully covered in clothes, spending the majority of our time indoors, skin cancer fears and sunscreen use, all play in to our collective vitamin D deficiency.
How to get what we need
We can get vitamin D from a number of sources including safe,sensible sun exposure, vitamin D3 supplementation, and animal foods such as fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fish liver oil and eggs. Some health experts even recommend using safe, UVB tanning beds (with electronic ballast). We should try to reach a daily vitamin D dose, from all sources combined of between 5000-6000 IU.
Take care with the sun
When exposing our skin to the sun, we never want to overdue it and we never want to burn. It is interesting however, that our ancestors, although spending most of their time out of doors in the sun, were not all suffering from melanoma. In fact, it seems the more time we spend indoors, the higher the levels of cancer rise. Clearly something other than exposure to the sun has changed to create the levels of skin cancer we are seeing today.
When supplementing with vitamin D, we should also balance the supplementation with vitamin K2 and magnesium. Symptoms of vitamin D overdose are the very same as symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency as the two work together. Vitamin K2 moves calcium where it needs to go (bones and teeth)and removes it from where it is not needed (arteries and soft tissue).
Test for vitamin D levels
Without testing, it is impossible to know what our total vitamin D levels from all of these sources are . We can ask our doctors to test our vitamin D levels with a 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitaminD) test.