We’ve all heard that Vitamin D is good for you and an essential daily vitamin, but why?
First of all, what is Vitamin D and where does it come from?
Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all, even though it is classified as one of the four fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and was initially discovered by doctors in the 1920s when were researching nutritional deficiency diseases. This “vitamin” breaks the rules of other vitamins because it can be produced naturally in the body unlike the other vitamins that have to be ingested. Since finding out this information, Vitamin D has been added to foods “fortifying” them artificially.
In nature, where does Vitamin D come from? Sunlight is the number one place that the vitamin comes from, you might actually hear it called the sunshine vitamin. Sunshine (UVB) light is absorbed by the skin and processes in the liver and kidney and ultimately increases the amount of active Vitamin D.
There are other known benefits of Vitamin D:
*bone and teeth health
*supports immune, brain, and nervous system health
*regulates insulin and supports diabetes management
*supports lung function and cardiovascular health
*shown to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety
Who is at risk for Vitamin D deficiency:
-pigmented skin (the darker the worse the absorption from sun)
-patients with intestinal disorders
-patients with kidney or liver disease
-patients who take certain medications
-people who work indoors all the time and are not out in natural sunlight
-people who use lots of sunscreen every time they are exposed to sunlight.
What happens when you have a Vitamin D deficiency?
For older women especially and some men, osteoporosis can occur, which is thinning of the bones and leading to fractures.
For men, higher risk of prostate cancer.
For children, rickets which is a disease that causes bone and teeth fragility.
For anyone, a lack of Vitamin D can effect the strength of the enamel in teeth that leads to higher chance of tooth decay.
Where can you get Vitamin D besides the sun? Foods such as oily fish and egg yolks have naturally occurring Vitamin D and then there are plenty of foods and drinks such as yogurt and milk and cheese that have been fortified with the vitamin. You can also take an over the counter vitamin to supplement the sunlight and the foods that you consume to get you to the correct level.
Please talk to your doctor to see what level is correct for you and what kind of supplement would be best.