We get most of our vitamin D naturally, from the sun. When skin is exposed to the sun’s UV rays, a specific type of cholesterol in your skin starts the process of making vitamin D, and the newly converted D is stored in your fat cells until it is called into action. However, as the days get shorter, two things happen – the sun becomes less intense, and we tend to stay indoors more, giving our bodies less of an opportunity to get the sun exposure that’s needed to make vitamin D.
If you aren’t getting enough sun, you might want to consider taking a supplement. Vitamin D that is consumed as a supplement or through foods is absorbed through your small intestine and moves on to conversion. When vitamin D is called into action, the liver and the kidneys convert the D3 to the form your body uses.
Who may be at at risk of Vitamin D deficiency?
• Deficiencies are most often associated with a lack of direct UV sun. So if you live in northern climates or protect your skin with sunblock, you may be deficient.
• Deficiencies are also common in people with intestinal disorders, which can affect their absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D.
• Infants that are breastfed may not be getting enough, unless the mother has an adequate amount of vitamin D stored.
• The more melanin you have, the more you are protected from the sun’s UV rays, which may also result in vitamin D deficiency.
• Older adults cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently, which may lead to a deficiency.
4 Reasons to take Vitamin D
The sunshine vitamin is critical for many aspects of our health. More and more research shows that it plays an important protective role. Here are 4 reasons to supplement with vitamin D.
1. Vitamin D supports the immune system: Taking 2,000 IU-5,000 IU daily has been shown to enhance immunity, reduce viral growth, as well as reduce upper respiratory infections. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci himself supplements with vitamin D.
2. Vitamin D keeps bones strong. Along with calcium, vitamin K , strontium and boron, vitamin D plays an integral role in supporting and maintaining strong bones.
3. Vitamin D may protect against colorectal cancer. One study found that taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily increased blood levels of vitamin D and reduced instances of colorectal cancer by about two-thirds.
4. Vitamin D may protect against breast cancer. Research has shown that women with higher bloods levels of D have lower rates of breast cancer.
Should I take a supplement? What’s the difference between D2 and D3?
Most people require a supplement to get the vitamin D they need. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) are the two types most often found in supplement form. Vitamin D2 is produced by yeast and fungal sources that are irradiated, and the absorption and process of metabolizing D2 take longer and are not as efficient. Vitamin D3, the preferred form, is made from either sheep’s wool or fish oil. D3 is the form that is produced by the body and is more biologically active. It is the preferred choice because your body naturally produces a specific enzyme in the liver that helps to metabolize vitamin D3.
If you are a vegan, vegetarian, or do not like the source materials, there are vegan versions, as well.
Do you want to learn more about vitamin D?
Our expert team at Village Green Apothecary is here to help! Contact us to set up an appointment or to speak with a consultant in person, over the phone, or through a virtual appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!
Photo from here, with thanks.