Vitamin D, also called the “sunshine vitamin,” is both a hormone and a vitamin, manufactured in the body upon exposure to sunshine. Two biologically inactive precursors – D3 (cholecalciferol) and D2 (ergocalciferol) are transformed in the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D is essential for the regulation of serum calcium, phosphate and alkaline phosphatase, and thus helps to produce and maintain bone. It has also been associated with the prevention of certain cancers, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and osteoporosis, as well as recent evidence that it leads to significant reductions in body fat mass (read more on the study here).
Since vitamin D heavily depends on sunlight exposure, the populations in some northern countries, especially in the winter months, make little to no vitamin D on their own, meaning that the need for dietary supplementation and fortified foods is necessary to meet the need. Significant vitamin D deficiency in adults is reported to precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, depression and other inflammatory process.
What can you do?
The recommended daily dietary allowance of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels is between 2,000-4,000 IUs. Additionally, there is a number of food sources that contain vitamin D:
- Shiitake & Button Mushrooms (especially dried versions) – plus rich in vitamins B1 & B2
- Fish (sockeye salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, catfish, tuna) – rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs)
- It is important to consider the sources of the fish, such as fresh, wild-caught, non-farmed options!
- Cod liver oil – remember to use clean sources without fillers!
- Eggs – organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free
And of course, SUNSHINE, 15 minutes three times a week! Since vitamin D is manufactured in the body at the time of sun exposure, it is vital to spend time outside in order to allow for the conversion of the inactive precursor compounds into active form. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a concern in itself, but it is important to be conscientious and safe, as season, time of day, length of day, cloud cover, smog, skin melanin content, and sunscreen are among the factors that affect UV radiation exposure and vitamin D synthesis.
SCHEDULE THE FIRST APPOINTMENT FOR YOU & YOUR FAMILY for a comprehensive health assessment TODAY at 706.254.4579!