Vitamin D Vitamin D isn’t just for your bones. Vitamin D plays a role in several biochemical processes within the body and is a major contributor to our health. Vitamin D has shown to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system and helps to prevent cardiovascular disease. It helps with estrogen access, brain cell growth, and the inflammatory immune system response. So let’s take a closer look at this incredible vitamin. The Sunshine Vitamin Think about vitamin D when you’re catching up on summer rays. It’s sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. We’ll talk about the differences here in a sec. It can affect as many as 2,000 genes in the body. D fights disease In addition to its primary benefits, research suggests that vitamin D may also play a role in:
reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
decreasing your chance of developing heart disease, according to 2008 findings published in Circulation
helping to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu, according to 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
D fights depression Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms. In another study of people with fibromyalgia, researchers found vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who were also experiencing anxiety and depression. D boosts weight loss Consider adding vitamin D supplements to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight or prevent heart disease. In one study, people who took a daily vitamin D supplement did not lose a significant amount of weight, but were able to improve their heart disease risk markers. In another study, people taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite suppressing effect. How do I get it? The dairy industry would have us think that milk is our best source of vitamin D. In fact, pasteurized milk is linked to both calcium and vitamin D deficiency disorders.
Your best option for getting vitamin D is the sun. Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it is directly exposed to sunlight. A little can go a long way. All you need is 10 minutes a day of midday, pre-sunscreen sun exposure, especially if you have fair skin. 20 minutes can produce up to 20,000 IU of vitamin D. Besides getting vitamin D through sunlight, you can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.
Cod Liver Oil
The Difference between Vitamin D, D2, and D3 Milk does not naturally contain vitamin D, raw or otherwise. Synthetic vitamin D is added to cow’s milk, soy milk and rice milk but there are problems with products enriched with vitamin D. Synthetic vitamin D, known as D2, is only half as effective as natural and can block natural vitamin D’s effects. It can be toxic and affect calcium levels. The precursor to vitamin D is found in both plant and animal products but animal-derived products contain the building block that we need to create calcitriol—the compound we make best use of. Vitamin-D-fortified foods (i.e. cereal) and dietary supplements mostly contain ergocalciferol (D2) rather than cholecalciferol (D3). D2 is created by irradiating yeast and other molds, D3 by irradiating animal oils and cholesterol. Since there’s more than one form of vitamin D, manufactures will typically label their products with the term “vitamin D”. Which is basically a catch-all term. But there is a major difference between vitamin D2 and D3. Vitamin D-2, or ergocalciferol, is the form made by mushrooms from exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D-3, which is also called cholecalciferol, is the type that’s made in your skin. Both types must be converted into the hormone calcitriol before they’re active and able to benefit your body. Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as calciferol, but it’s used as an umbrella term to include vitamins D-2 and D-3. Even though both forms can be manufactured for supplements, vitamin D-3 that's made from sheep's lanolin is more commonly used, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. As your skin absorbs ultraviolet B rays from sunlight, it makes a substance called pre-vitamin D-3, which travels to the liver to become vitamin D-3, or calcidiol. Special proteins carry calcidiol to the kidneys, where it’s turned into vitamin D's biologically active form, calcitriol. The amount of vitamin D-3 produced by your body depends on how much sunlight you're exposed to and that's affected by factors such as cloud cover, clothing and use of sunscreen. Sunscreen with an SPF factor of 8 lowers the amount of vitamin D the body produces by 95 percent, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. But it’s still vital to limit your sunlight exposure to prevent skin cancer, and you'll need to get some vitamin D in your diet. Just be sure to look for the vitamin D3 version. In Summary Why Vitamin D Matters It’s well-documented that Vitamin D is essential for the proper synthesis of calcium, and it’s been shown to greatly reduce fracture risk in two ways. First, it helps with the formation of stronger bones; second, Vitamin D actually helps improve balance and prevent falls by enhancing muscle contraction.
For rejuvenating your bones, it’s vitally important that you avoid Vitamin D2, and choose a bioavailable form of this important vitamin to avoid deficiency. You now know that D2 is not as bioavailable as D3 and should be avoided and should not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation. Try to get 20-30 minutes of sun exposure per day. To maximize your benefit and become superhuman, a true health geek will take around 2000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. And don’t worry, you can’t overdose on vitamin D3 or the sun.