Vitamin D deficiency has become all too common. As our cultural society has changed we are spending more time indoors missing those important rays of sunshine. I have tested hundreds of vitamin D levels over the past few years and can easily count on with my fingers the number of healthy vitamin D levels I have seen. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods (fish, oysters) added to others and available as a nutritional supplement. It is produced when the ultraviolet light from the sun strikes the skin and triggers vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D from the sun, food and supplements must be converted two times, one in the liver from vitamin D to 25 hydroxyvitamin D also known as calcidiol. The second conversion is in the kidneys and forms the active form of vitamin D 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D also known as calcitriol. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption for bone health, modulates cell growth, immune and neuromuscular function and reduces inflammation. Serum 25 (OH) D is the best indicator of vitamin D status (tested in the blood). It reflects the vitamin D produced in the skin from ultraviolet light and that obtained from food and supplements. Deficiency is noted with a vitamin D level less than 30ng/ml. Current research for the efficacy of restoring proper vitamin D levels:
- Low levels of 25-(OH) vitamin D is associated with an increased risk for subsequent earlier exposure and more aggressive development of prostate cancer, especially before the andropause.
- In middle-age men and postmenopausal women, a higher 25(OH) vitamin D level was significantly associated with higher lean muscle mass strength and performance.
- Higher serum 25 (OH) levels are associated with reduced risk of Asthma.]
- Vitamin D supplementation appears to be protective against breast cancer development.
- Both chronic musculoskeletal pain and chronic headache may be related to vitamin D deficiency.
So, the take-home: Get your vitamin D level checked then get outside and soak up the sun for 5-30 minutes between 10 am and 3 pm at least twice per week. Sun exposure to the face, arms, legs or back without sunscreen usually leads to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. Contrary to popular belief, the sun does not cause cancer, sunburn causes cancer. Best of Health.
If you need to check your vitamin D or to see how holistic therapies can help you to improve your health and wellbeing get in touch. We offer Private GP services as well as alternative and complementary services such as functional medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture.
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