Why is vitamin D so important and why are we deficient?
Vitamin D is important for many aspects of our health, mental well-being, and especially the health of our bones. Vitamin D is actually a pro hormone and also referred to as the sunshine vitamin. D is produced with the sun's reaction with the skins cholesterol and converted by the liver into a healthy steroid called calcidiol. This steroid helps regulate calcium in the body. Vitamin D is found in certain limited foods such as egg yolks, fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, mushrooms exposed to sun, fortified foods, some fermented and aged foods, and lanolin. Typical symptoms of low D include...muscle weakness, frequent bone fractures, bone pain, overall body pain, softening of the bones, thyroid issues, fatigue, feeling depressed, hormone imbalance, high blood pressure, and thinking clearly becomes difficult.
Reasons why we may be deficient in vitamin D...
- Lack of intake from dietary sources-
- Digestive issues, and low good gut micro-flora-
- Lack of adequate sunshine-
- Having darker skin-
- Kidney or liver function is compromised-
- Obesity hinders D production-
- Deficiency and or lack of co-nutrients-
- Fat free and vegan diets-
How to improve vitamin D levels...
- Expose unwashed, unprotected skin to the sun for about 10 minutes and avoid washing for about an hour after-
- If your darker skinned or very tan the skins melanin pigment prevents skin/sun reaction, so improve dietary means in this case-
- Improve proper gut micro-flora with a good probiotic to enhance vitamin K-
- Supplement in the presence of dietary fat, especially healthy monosaturated fats-
- Consume co-nutrients like magnesium, calcium and probiotics at the same time-
- Consume foods fortified with D-
Many doctors, especially hormone physicians, are suggesting taking 2,000 iu in addition to dietary means. I personally use the Life Wise drops and my D level is optimal. If I want to use a capsule form instead of liquid I've used these others with success as well. I also take it in the presence of foods that contain live bacteria, magnesium and calcium.
So why are many of us deficient in vitamin D? Many of us use too much sunscreen or never spend any time outdoors while also having poor dietary intake. We're also wash happy. We wash off the needed oils within the skin while relying on the sun to synthesize vitamin D within the skin. Darker skinned individuals melanin pigment hinders skin/sun production so it would be wise to improve dietary intake. If you are vegan your diet doesn't typically supply a good source, unless you also consume fermented foods, which improve gut vitamin K production for D absorption. Poor digestive health also restricts the beneficial bacteria needed for vitamin K production and D synthesis. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which means it is stored in our tissue and best absorbed in the presence of fat, especially monounsaturated fats like olive, avocado, and peanut oils. Diets lacking vitamin D co-factors; vitamin K, zinc, boron, magnesium, vitamin A, have a tougher time with vitamin D production as well as poor gut micro flora.