What Are The Benefits of Vitamin D?
Once upon a time, vitamin D was explained to the public as something we get from milk to give us calcium to help our bones and teeth. But with time, it has been discovered that vitamin D has a myriad of upsides. A host of issues that vitamin D can help with involve mood, inflammation, insomnia, sleep apnea, skin issues and more. Vitamin D is said to regulate at least several hundreds of genes in our body. There are vitamin D receptors in every cell in our body that controls and regulates countless processes within the anatomy.
Vitamin D Facts
Vitamin D, in simple terms, helps our body absorb calcium which our bones need to stay strong to build up its skeleton. Without a doubt, the consensus that the science community can come to terms with is that vitamin D assists calcium to build strong bones, regulate the immune system, regulate the neuromuscular system, and regulate the life cycle of cells throughout the anatomy. It is vital in the nervous system, immune system, and muscle function, as one of its many roles involve our nerves needing the nutrient to carry messages back and forth to every part of the body, as well as using it in the immune system to fend off viruses.
Vitamin D is considered a vitamin but it’s more of a pro-hormone; a hormone by definition is that it’s made in one place in our body but is responsible for producing reactions within other parts of our body, while a vitamin is described as something we must obtain from diet due to the body’s tissue not forming it. But since our habits have changed from being more social to isolated to being outside to indoors, relying on our bodies to produce vitamin D – naturally – has been replaced with pills and artificial insertions in our foods (such as cereal and yogurt) to provide us with the nutrient, which makes it technically a vitamin.
The standard recommendation of vitamin D supplements per day can be between 400-800IU (international units); 400-800IU per day is just enough to prevent rickets and osteomalacia – rare diseases in children to adults that causes bones to become soft and bendable. Vitamin D advocates suggest a much significant amount of IUs per day than the recommended, as proponents of the vitamin claim that higher levels result in a lower probability of disease.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Some of the biggest symptoms related to vitamin D deficiency may come in the form of depression, losing weight, losing muscle, and immune issues. You may also experience hormone imbalance, anxiety, and chronic fatigue; the latter could be a signal that your vitamin D25 levels are low. Older adults should also look out for fractured bones, viral infections, and slow wound healing. Severe illnesses such as cancer and diabetes may also be introduced if you don’t optimize your overall health with vitamin D.
To check for vitamin D deficiency, you can simply observe and start becoming more perceptive of your physical well being. Vitamin D deficiency can be figured out if it hurts when you press on the bone: Lack of vitamin D may result in hurting and achy bones when pressed upon, which may signal a vitamin D deficiency. You can do a self-diagnostic by pressing on your breast bone-sternum area and or your shin; if you feel any tenderness or bone pain in any of those areas, it could signify a vitamin D deficiency. If it’s a vitamin D deficiency, then your bone density is not up to par, which could lead to osteoporosis in older adults, if not addressed with vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is so much of an anti-inflammatory, that taking vitamin D3 will take your bone pain away in 30 minutes, according to expert observations.
Vitamin D Deficiency Geographical Locations
People of the UK, US, Canada, or anywhere in the Northern latitudes are prone to vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is such a huge epidemic, that it may be the top deficiency in the United States and Canada. In “first world” nations where people mostly occupy themselves indoors, it can create a vitamin D deficiency epidemic. This explains why over 90% of the people in the UK are vitamin D deficient. The further north you go, the harder it is to get enough sunlight for vitamin D to be produced per year. Those that live north of the equator, and even people living in very southern altitudes, in general, have a harder time receiving enough UV radiation to create vitamin D than those living in countries closer to the equator.
In seasonal climates, where people don’t get out in the sun enough, particularly in the winter months, blood levels in vitamin D tend to go down. One of the sources of having winter blues or winter depression can be due to the lack of vitamin D when enough sun is not received. This tells us that vitamin D can not only serve us physically but can be of service to our mental health as well. Studies show that, in general, psychiatrist patients contain vitamin D blood levels around 12-14, while those with anxiety and mild-depression have a vitamin D blood level in the low 20s. Those findings may indicate evidence that conditions associated with mental health such as autism, schizophrenia, depression, and more can be vitamin D related.
How To Correct Vitamin D Deficiency
There are three different ways of receiving vitamin D: Through your skin, your diet, and supplements!
To not have a vitamin D deficiency, it’s best to try and receive 10-30 minutes of sunlight per day. And no, that does not include receiving sunshine from your room or car window. The main source of vitamin D is sunlight, where receptors in our body capture the photons directly from the sun, convert it to vitamin D and cycles it throughout our body. Throughout history, this is the process that our body has used to create vitamin D through sun exposure. The less sun that is out, and the darker your skin shade is, the more difficult it will be to achieve vitamin D from the outdoors. African-Americans, especially, have a result in high vitamin D deficiency due to the environment and being of darker skin-tone, which absorbs less sunlight than fair skin tones, due to melanin. Melanin in dark skin tones also pulls from the sun’s receptors and may sometimes take precedence over vitamin D production, therefore, people of melanin may have to spend more time in the sun than their lighter counterparts to receive the same amount of vitamin D.
Receiving Vitamin D Orally Through Diet or Supplements
There are foods you can consume with small traces of the vitamin D nutrient, such as wild-caught fish, raw affirmative milk, cod-liver oil, grass-fed butter, pasteurized pork, as well as eggs and mushrooms.
Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s best to take your vitamin D supplements with fat such as coconut oil, almond butter, cod liver, olive oil, or avocado to help with absorption. Vitamins D along with A, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning your body absorbs what it needs of these particular vitamins and then stores the rest in your organs and tissues.
Nonetheless, receiving vitamin D through food is a tall task: if you wanted to have 5000 IU (international units) of vitamin D in a day through diet, you’d have to drink at least 50 cups of orange juice per day, which is an insane amount, making it improbable to receive vitamin D through consumption alone.
Vitamin D Dosage
The best bet is to get a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement whether in a capsule or liquid spray formation of 2000-10,000 IUs (international units) a day. Vitamin D3 is the kind of vitamin D you can get over the counter, without a prescription, in places such as the pharmacy or at the health food store. Vitamin D2 requires a prescription to receive it, however, vitamin D3 is more natural and is better absorbed.
Speculation exists that since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, that an excessive amount of the supplement can lead to vitamin toxicity, which will result in liver, kidney and heart issues, as well as certain types of cancers such as pancreatic cancer, and fractures and flaws. Fortunately, there is no such record existing of a vitamin D overdose, meaning that there is no such thing as too much vitamin D. When people of fair skin, such as Caucasians, go out in the sun to receive vitamin D and turn pink as a result, it may be the equivalent of 15,000IU by mouth, which can be considered as too much by some experts. If vitamin D toxicity can’t be acquired from sun-tanning, then there is a high chance that vitamin D toxicity can’t be received from supplements either. The safety buffer for vitamin D intake is quite vast, as researchers have concluded that a vitamin D level of 200 while taking 40,000IU a day for a prolonged period is considered dangerous, but is impossible to reach.
Taking 5000IU of vitamin D per day can pump your blood level to 80 which will dramatically fight cancer rates, diabetes rates, and multiple sclerosis rates. Blood Levels of 50-80 are considered the norm as adequate vitamin D levels. When our predecessors spent most of their time outdoors, their vitamin D blood levels were 50-80, which is considered the evolutionary standard. To achieve the evolutionary norm, one would have to take 5000IU per day.
Benefits of Vitamin D and Other Supplements and Medication
We need our skin to be directly exposed to the sun for the rays in the ultraviolet B to be synthesized from an omnipresent form of cholesterol within us, where our body creates vitamin D. Since vitamin D is made from cholesterol, the raw material from your skin and body that creates vitamin D can be malnourished, if put on a low cholesterol or low-fat diet. If trying to get vitamin D, it may not be advisable to try to lower cholesterol simultaneously. For instance, a prescription such as statin blocks cholesterol and will plummet vitamin D levels, which will cause pain and inflammation.
Ways to Absorb Vitamin D
These things can help with the absorption of vitamin D: zinc, vitamin A, omega 3, and magnesium are all good for vitamin D absorption and can help regulate calcium – if you decide to take higher doses of vitamin D and are concerned about calcium in the blood. People born with a mutation or a genetic predisposition that may not be able to receive vitamin D from sun exposure can usually overcome that by taking higher amounts of vitamin D. If you decide to up your dose of vitamin D while trying to not increase your calcium, you may want to cut down on dairy.
Consider these tips and supplements below to help with your vitamin D consumption:
Probiotics: Help recycle the bile that is stored in the gall bladder; the bile is needed to extract the vitamin D from the meal you’re eating.
Boron: A trace mineral can be a great duo with vitamin D, as it helps with bone formation and can increase testosterone.
Bile salts: When eating certain fats, bile salts will help with the extraction of vitamin D from your meal.
Intense exercise: Can help increase the absorption of vitamin D.
Vitamin K2: This is important with D3 because they both work together in balancing out calcium. If we don’t have enough K2, the calcium tends to settle in the wrong places such as the arteries, as vitamin D doesn’t direct the calcium on where to go; it just increases it in the blood, which will lower blood pressure. Nonetheless, K2 will take the surplus calcium out of the joints and put it into the bone. K2 is also important for improving endurance in exercise
The Potential of What Vitamin D Can Do For Us
In a vitamin D study between two groups, it was discovered that vitamin D supplements were great for fat redistribution and helped with belly fat. Among other things, some experts also claim it to be useful in not only treating cancers and fat, but is adept in treating diabetes response to insulin, treating depression, blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases, to name a few. More so, there has been some evidence in population and observational studies, in which it has garnered interest involving higher levels seeming to be protective of many other diseases than originally have thought. An experiment unveiled that higher doses of vitamin D can prolong survival against advanced colorectal cancer. Other beneficiary claims of vitamin D are being studied, recorded, and being uncovered in terms of addressing issues such as autism, ADHD, and joint pain-related conditions or arthritis such as fibromyalgia rheumatoid arthritis.