Our sunshin-y, summer-y days are limited — so we decided to re-post this article about the importance of vitamin D! Enjoy!
Despite what you may have read at the breakfast table, vitamin D is not a variety of milk. Something else you might not know is that The Archives of Internal Medicine report that 77% of Americans are deficient in this important nutrient. So what’s the deal with D?
What It Is?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that naturally occurs in very few foods. That’s why so many of our foods are fortified with vitamin D. Our bodies naturally produce vitamin D with exposure to UVB rays. But in our modern society, very few people are getting the necessary sun exposure to produce the D our bodies need. Vitamin D is actually transformed by our bodies twice first into calcidiol (the pre-hormone in your blood used to identify deficiency) and then the powerful hormone called calcitriol which not only helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus but experts say “unlocks” a cell’s DNA library.
What It Does?
One of the main functions of vitamin D is helping with the absorption of calcium which is why milk is often fortified with D. Researchers have found that D promotes cell growth and differentiation throughout the body which leads to better hormonal balance and a healthy immune system. Vitamin D has been linked to help improvements in mood and and the prevention of depression.
A study at the University of Minnesota has found a clear link between vitamin D levels at the beginning of a diet and the success of weight loss. For every 1 ng/mL of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol, participants lost an additional half pound. And for every 1 ng/mL of the active hormonal form of Vitamin D, participants lost an additional quarter pound. Researchers found that high levels of Vitamin D were correlated with increased loss of abdominal fat. A little extra D could be what you need to ensure weight loss success.
Are You Getting Enough?
During summer months it takes about 15 minutes twice a day during peak hours to get sufficient amounts of D. That amount varies depending on your skin tone. People who are fairer need less time in the sun. But most of us get sun exposure early in the morning and late in the afternoon and we wear SPF to protect against aging and cancer. During the cooler months, it’s even tougher to get enough. Oh, and if you think tanning beds help with Vitamin D, don’t kid yourself. Most tanning beds favor UVA rays because UVB rays cause burn, but UVB rays are the ones necessary for vitamin D formation.
The foods fortified with D are enough to ward off malnutrition, but they are hardly enough to get your daily need. Some of this might also be due to the Daily Recommended Intake being somewhat obsolete. Currently the DRI is listed as 200 IU for adults 19-50 years old. But new science has shown that we need more because people get less sun exposure than when the standards were set. Studies show that adults need somewhere between 3000-5000 IU a day of vitamin D. The easiest way to get the recommended amount is through a vitamin D supplement. We’re big fans of Pure Matters Vitamin D3 – makers of vitamins and supplements that are always crafted from wholesome, natural ingredients.
The most accurate way to find out if you’re deficient in the D is to have your doctor administer a simple blood test called 25-hydroxy vitamin D. Some common symptoms of D deficiency are weak bones, muscle pain, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, depression symptoms and sleep irregularities. Because of new research emerging about vitamin D, doctors often don’t diagnose D deficiency. You can ask to be tested for deficiency so that your doctor can help you devise a plan to get your levels where they should be.