Almost everyone needs Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin”. Statistics are showing that 90% of adults in US are low to deficient in vitamin D. However, dark skinned people, especially if in northern regions of the world, where there is little sun, are even more deficient. Vitamin D is crucial for promoting calcium absorption.
There are two forms D2 and D3. D2 is produced by plants and mushrooms; D2 is also the form used for fortified foods in the marketplace.
Vitamin D3 is absorbed easier and is more beneficial for your body. Vitamin D3 is what our cells prefer. Our bodies actually convert sunshine into Vitamin D3 by using the cholesterol on your skin. D3 is also produced by animals. There are naturally occurring D in fish and egg yolks.
Perhaps you are a vegetarian or have milk allergies; these people appear to have higher risk of decreased vitamin D. Vitamin D works together with calcium to help create strong bones.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone which impacts our immune system, blood pressure, moods and brain.
Many people, if you shun the sun, are deficient in D. Especially, since we are told to stay out of the sun or completely cover our skin, with sunscreen, due to skin cancer possibilities. Many elderly people are deficient in vitamin D.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiencies
- Muscle weakness.
- Bone Pain or skeletal disease, stress fractures.
- Auto immune diseases like arthritis or lupus.
- Metabolic issues like obesity and diabetes.
- Multiple sclerosis
- Decreased cognitive brain functions.
How to Increase Vitamin D
We all need sun. Sun, without sunscreen, so you get real sun light for the body to convert to D3. Best times are early before 11 Am and after 4 Pm when sun’s rays are less capable of burning the skin. You only need about 15 minutes. This can vary depending on the time of the year.
Then you put your sunscreen on to protect from sunburn, at any other time you are in the sun.
Supplement with synthetic vitamin D, the suggested amount is 2000 to 6000 IU’s/day. This amount will depend on the time of year, your skin color, age and amount of sun you receive.
Foods can help increase your total but it would be in small amounts. Fish and eggs and even fortified milk and yogurt can give you small amounts of vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 Benefits
- Nutrition for your brain. There has been a correlation between Alzheimer’s and Vitamin D deficiency. There are over 35 million Alzheimer’s sufferers worldwide and the number is expected to explode in the next few years.
- Immune system support. Illness usually occurs when the immune system isn’t functioning properly. Dr. Edward Group says that colds and flu are most common in the winter months when the UBV sun rays are muted. This creates much lower vitamin D production in the body, hence more cases of colds and flu.
- Vitamin D helps regulate the amounts of calcium and phosphorus needed for normal growth and development of bones and teeth.
- Vitamin D reduces depression and helps regulate moods.
- Reduces risk of coronary heart disease and decreases plaque buildup in arteries. Italian researchers found that the lower the vitamin D level the more atherosclerosis. Lack of vitamin D in the winter due to lower sun rays produces more heart attacks.
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist and a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant help individuals with health programs to improve life and happiness. Cindy is a true believer in eating healthy greens and herbs to prevent illness and disease. She is a writer, speaker and owner of several businesses.