The Sunshine vitamin: why you are most likely deficient
Did you know there is a vitamin deficiency that affects over half of the population and is rarely tested for? Did you know this same vitamin has been linked to a staggering number of diseases and conditions including cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, depression, chronic muscle pain, and autoimmune diseases? Have you guessed what this vitamin is yet? What if I told you this vitamin is absent from a lot of our food supplies?
If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m talking about vitamin D!
How Vitamin D Regulates Your Cells and Genes:
Vitamin D is actually a hormone that has a huge impact on function of your cells. Vitamin D is a highly potent cancer inhibitor due to its ability to reduce cellular growth and promotion of cell differentiation. Vitamin D also acts to control various different cellular functions from preventing cancer, increasing mood, decreasing muscle aches, building bones, and lowering inflammation in the body.
Vitamin D has even been linked in one study to reduce the risk of developing type I diabetes by 80%. As we age, since synthesis of vitamin D occurs from the skin, aging populations produce less vitamin D than younger adolescents. The darker one’s skin colour the less vitamin D produced as well.
The recommended daily intake’s suggested by the government is set anywhere from 200-600IU/day. Unfortunately, we need much more than this for optimal function and health especially to prevent high blood pressure, depression, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Some practitioners might suggest intakes of 2000IU/day where some may extend this to as high as 5000-6000! So what’s the right amount to take? It’s really important to have your blood levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D checked and depending on how low you are, you’re health care professional may suggest higher doses. With no known demonstrated toxicity shown in studies of individuals consuming upwards of 10,000 IU/day it is not unreasonable to take a daily dose of 1000-2000IU/day for long term daily supplementation.
Tips to get the right amount of Vitamin D:
It is important tot get the right amount of vitamin D and unfortunately getting adequate amounts from our diet is difficult.
- Take the right type of vitamin D: The only active form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Many vitamins and prescriptions of vitamin D have vitamin D2 – which is not biologically active.
- Take the right amount of vitamin D:
- If you have a deficiency, you can correct it with 2000-5,000IU/day (some practitioners may go as high as 10,000) of vitamin D3 for 3 months — must be supervised with your health care professional.
- For maintenance, take 1000-2,000 IU a day of vitamin D3. Some people may need higher doses over the long run to maintain optimal levels because of differences in vitamin D receptors, living in northern latitudes, indoor living, or skin color.
4. Monitor your vitamin D status until you are in the optimal range.
5. It takes upwards of 6 to 10 months to fuel your reserve with vitamin D if deficient. Once this occurs, you can lower the dose to 500-2,000IU per day.
6. Include dietary sources of vitamin D:
- Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil. One tablespoon (15 ml) = 1,360 IU of vitamin D
- Cooked wild salmon. (3.5) ounces = 360 IU of vitamin D
- Cooked mackerel. (3.5) ounces = 345 IU of vitamin D
- Sardines, canned in oil, drained. (1.75) ounces = 250 IU of vitamin D
- One whole egg = 20 IU of vitamin D
Now that you’re well informed on vitamin D, go on and see how much your health can improve with vitamin D supplementation!