Vitamin D is used for “assistance”. Vitamin D has a part in almost every function of the human body. It helps the body use calcium and iron (essential for strong bones and muscles). Vitamin D is also used by the body for metabolism, meaning if you are gaining weight and can’t figure out why – it may be that you are deficient in Vitamin D. Just think about it – We have Vitamin D receptors in almost every cell, tissue, and organ in our body – Almost every – that’s a big deal. If we have all of these receptors, then there is no doubt we need a lot of Vitamin D to keep the receptors satisfied.
Where Do We Get Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is produced by our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Sunlight is the most natural source of Vitamin D.
You can also get Vitamin D from the following foods: Swordfish, Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Beef Liver, Eggs and Cod Liver Oil.
Some orange juice is fortified with Vitamin D. You can also find milk, yogurt, cereal and margarine fortified with Vitamin D.
In 2010, a study in the Nutrition Journal found that 42% of US adults were Vitamin D deficient. According to the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 12 % of children are Vitamin D deficient and an additional 40% exhibited higher levels, but the levels were still insufficient.
So, why are we so deficient in something that we can get just from being outside? Why? Because we’re not outside anymore, and if we are outside, we’re either covered with clothing or covered with sunscreen. We only need to spend about 10 minutes a day in the sun, but it needs to be during the hottest part of the day, without sunscreen. Sunscreen blocks the rays that our bodies need to manufacture Vitamin D.
We are afraid to go outside without a cover-up or sunscreen. For years we have been warned about the consequences of too much sun (skin cancer, wrinkles, leather skin) and there’s more. I’ve read that some dermatologists believe you should never expose your skin to sunlight, not even for ten minutes.
What Are The Consequences of a Vitamin D Deficiency?
It is kind of ironic that there is so much information publicized regarding the dangers of too much sun exposure, if you’re alive, you know about sun exposure.
But how often do you hear about the benefits of the sun, and could you imagine a life without sunshine? Our bodies really do need the sun, but I can understand why people are not crazy about being outside in the sun every day, especially here in the South where I live!
If you are not a sun worshiper you still need to supply your body with Vitamin D, whether it be with food or supplement.
The consequences of not having enough Vitamin D are numerous. The main symptoms of a deficiency are inexplicable body pain, brittle bones, and excessive fatigue. Vitamin D deficiency can’t be seen on an X-ray, and sadly these symptoms are attributed to stress on most occasions.
As I mentioned earlier, almost all cells, tissues, and organs in our bodies need Vitamin D. A Vitamin D deficiency weakens your immune system resulting in more frequent respiratory infections. Low Vitamin D levels are associated with increased all-cause mortality, which means you live longer if you maintain proper Vitamin D levels.
Inflammation is the root of most illness and Vitamin D helps fight inflammation. If you suffer from asthma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease – any inflammatory disease – you will benefit by supplementing Vitamin D.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of, “Eat to Live“, says, “Vitamin D regulates several genes and cellular processes related to cancer progression.” People with low levels of Vitamin D are more apt to get some cancers, including breast and colon, and once they get cancer, it is more likely to spread.
Important Information about Supplementation
There are two kinds of Vitamin D available – Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is the one you want to buy, it is the same kind of D that we get from sunlight. Vitamin D2 is present in yeast and mushrooms but it is not as effective as D3. There are varied opinions regarding how much Vitamin D a person should take, but 2000 units a day works well for most. If you need a suggestion for a good Vitamin D supplement, please see recommendations here.