What is your Vitamin D level?
Vitamin D is an important and hot health topic. It is essential to proper health and body function in each and every one of us. The statistics currently show the vast majority of Americans, a whopping 85%, are low or deficient in Vitamin D. It is so widespread that the NIH (National Institute of Health) has called it an epidemic. Other proclaimed medical experts are saying low Vitamin D is not a big deal and it should be ignored.
Average lab ranges say that under 30 nanograms/milliliter is too low. Researchers have indicated that levels in the range of 60-95 nanograms/milliliter provide greater health benefits.
So, what is the big deal about Vitamin D? What is it? It is a very important nutrient for normal function of the bodies’ systems. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is produced by the body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements is biologically inert (which means non-functional) and must undergo two hydroxylation reactions in the body for activation. The first occurs in the liver and converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], also known as calcidiol. The second occurs primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], also known as calcitriol. So proper liver and kidney function is very important to Vitamin D synthesis, function, and levels. Just because you go outside does not ensure that you will make Vitamin D properly or make enough for your requirements.
Where is Vitamin D in your body? It is circulating throughout the bloodstream to have its effects on the cells and tissues of the body and aid in certain metabolic processes.
What does Vitamin D do? Vitamin D does a lot. Probably the most known function of Vitamin D involves our bones and the absorption of calcium.
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the ever-important gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone. It ensures that bones remain strong. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts, which are the cells that produce new bone and remove old bone. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Low Vitamin D levels is a primary cause of osteroporosis.
Vitamin D has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation. The inflammatory modulation is so important as so many Americans suffer from chronic conditions that are hallmarked by the production and presence of chronic inflammation like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, autoimmune disease and cancer. Many gene encoding proteins that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis are modulated in part by vitamin D.
What is the connection between Vitamin D and poor health and disease? It has been shown that maintaining good functional Vitamin D levels can:
- Reduce chances of heart disease
- Reduce chances of cancer
- Extremely helpful against osteoporosis
- Aid the immune system
- Fight depression
- Reduce acne
- Reduce chances of getting Alzheimer’s
- Prevent pathological muscle weakness
- Combat Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- May also help with weight loss
Who gets Vitamin D deficiency? Based on the statistics: anyone. If you have some type of metabolic issue, you likely have Vitamin D deficiency. If you are overweight, you likely have it.
Other risk factors include:
• Living in a climate with little sunlight
• Having darkly pigmented skin
• Wearing sunscreen or cover-up clothing when outside
• Being obese
• Being physically inactive
• Being housebound or living in a long-term care facility
• Living in a place with air pollution
• Having certain genetic factors or a decreased ability to absorb vitamin D
• Having renal or liver disease
• Taking certain medications, including glucocorticoids, anti-rejection medications, HIV medications and certain anti-epileptic drugs
How do you know if you have low Vitamin D? It is simple. Get your BLOOD LEVELS checked. A simple blood test can do it.
Serum concentration of 25(OH)D is the best indicator of vitamin D status. It reflects vitamin D produced cutaneously and that obtained from food and supplements.
If you find yourself to be deficient, it is imperative that you supplement with Vitamin D3. There is much discussion on the amount to supplement with and this really is dependent upon your level of deficiency. A sublingual liquid source works very efficiently as I see that many people with Vitamin D deficiencies do not digest and absorb the tablet form well and don’t get the desired results from oral supplements.
We can also get Vitamin D from our food intake. It is fat soluble remember, so that means you need to eat good fats to help absorb it. Vitamin D is mainly found in good fish oils, fatty fish such as Atlantic Herring, Salmon, Sardines and Mackerel. Egg yolks and certain mushrooms like white button mushrooms contain Vitamin D.
Other sources include pasteurized milk and processed cereals, but these products contain poorly absorbed fortified forms and come with other issues such as creating gastrointestinal irritation and inflammatory patterns.
Vitamin D is vital to good health and proper metabolic and physiological function. Eat well, enjoy some sunshine, and supplement with the right form of Vitamin D3 if needed. Don’t guess with your health and wellness. Get your Vitamin D level checked. Getting your levels corrected will get you feeling like a BOSS!