Learn about the importance of vitamin D for overall health. Discover sources of vitamin D and its role in immune function and bone health. Contact us today!
Even though we live in the Golden State, replete with brilliant sunsets & 80 degree winters, most of us are deficient in vitamin D. Would you believe that up to 90% of adults in the United States are believed to have a vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in the liver and fatty tissues. The effects of vitamin D are different from other vitamins in that our body makes most of our vitamin D on its own and, in the process, the active form transforms it into a hormone. This hormone, in turn, supports our skeletal muscle structure, muscle strength, blood pressure, immunity, weight loss, immune health, mood, brain function, and ability to protect ourselves from cancer.
There are two types of Vitamin D in the dietary supplement form: D2 and D3. Out of the two, D3 is believed to be the most beneficial with proper daily intake, since this is the type of vitamin D that our bodies naturally produce. Vitamin D3 is called cholecalciferol or 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Unfortunately, the majority of vitamin D-fortified foods and supplements contain vitamin D2, which is called ergocalciferol, which is a big reason why Americans have such low vitamin D levels. This type of vitamin D2 is difficult for the body to use efficiently and, as most people try to get their vitamin D in this manner. This makes it far more difficult for older adults with an increased risk of medical conditions to properly receive the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D intake.
Some great sources of vitamin D are fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, egg yolks and red meat.
Getting enough vitamin D plays a vital and multi-systemic role in the body with the myriad of health benefits. It is necessary for calcium absorption into the bones, and it helps protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease as well. Maintaining the correct levels within your blood can also help prevent diabetes, as vitamin D supplementation and vitamin D supplements in general can increase insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation. Vitamin D is commonly low in people who suffer from anxiety and depression and appropriate levels are needed to achieve optimal cognitive function. It also helps with bone health to help turn soft bones into strong bones with a lower risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Also, the National Institute of Health (NIH) claims that children should meet the proper dietary reference intakes (RDA) because vitamin D helps young children from getting rickets or osteomalacia.
When UVB rays touch your skin, a chemical reaction takes place: your body initiates the process of converting a prohormone in the skin into vitamin D. Once formed, the vitamin heads towards your liver, where the body begins to metabolize it. From the liver it travels to the kidney and there it converts to a hormone the body can use.
Experts recommend that those with darker skin tones receive up to 40 minutes of rich exposure each day. If your skin is much fairer, about 10 minutes is recommended. In the winter it is suggested that you double your exposure. Not only is the amount of time important, however, but the time of day you go out is key as well. The time when the rays will be most effective is between 10am-3pm, when the sun is highest in the sky and your shadow is shorter than you.
If you are worried about the risk factors of over-exposure, such as skin cancer, wear sunscreen in delicate areas: your face and hands. Your limbs, if exposed, should be left vulnerable to the sun’s UVB rays in order to create the proper amount of vitamin D. Astonishingly, recent research shows that wearing sunblock of SPF 8 or higher actually reduces your body’s ability to make vitamin D3 by 90% due to the decrease in sun exposure.
A blood test is the only way to find out if your vitamin D status. The Next|Health Baseline test can give you a 10,000 foot view of what is going on in your body right now, including your Vitamin D levels. Through our healthcare provider and services we can see how much vitamin D you need in order to get a healthy amount of vitamin d production.
As much as we recommend you embrace the natural and best way to absorb vitamin D by spending time outdoors, we sometimes lead busy lives that rob us of those opportunities. At Next|Health, we can help through our robust new VIT D intramuscular injection. IM’s are a quick and effective method to boost your levels, depending on your specific needs and deficiencies. We also recommend our Next|Health Vitamin D Supplement to help maintain your Vitamin D level.