Vitamin D deficiency has become all to 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,
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