There’s an increased focus on Vitamin D as we learn more and more about its growing list of benefits. Also known as the sunshine vitamin and cholecalciferol, this is a powerful substance that actually works more like a hormone in your body than a nutrient.
How It Works
The UVB rays from the sun strike the cholesterol in your skin, which gives the Vitamin D the energy to synthesize. From there, it’s metabolised by the liver and then sent to and kidneys to be activated.
It gets converted to Vitamin D3, which is a prohormone. Those who lack the activated form of this vitamin can have a massive amount of issues that could be resolved or eased by getting enough activated Vitamin D. In fact, about 65% of the world’s population are deficient in this important substance. And, yet, it’s the most important fat-soluble vitamin that there is, especially for the immune system.
A Deficiency – Why?
You might have a deficiency if you seldom expose your body to natural sunlight. There are various factors that may prevent you from absorbing enough Vitamin D. These include:
- Damage to your gut (such as ulcers or leaky gut).
- Advanced age.
- The colour of your skin (darker skin needs about three times as much sun to penetrate it than fair skin).
- The amount of subcutaneous fat you have under your skin (this can act as a barrier, making it harder for the Vitamin D to get through).
- How much sun exposure you get.
- Where you live (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you’re less likely to get enough Vitamin D from the sun).
- Metabolic issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, high blood pressure. These increase your requirements for Vitamin D.
- Seasons, since it’s difficult to get enough sun in winter.
- Polymorphism. This is a genetic issue that doesn’t allow you to absorb enough Vitamin D, and is more common than we may know.
- Chronic infections. In these cases, the body downgrades its ability to absorb this important substance as a survival mechanism. In addition, your white blood cells desperately need Vitamin D to fight the infection, so they will absorb every last trace of it in your body.
A Vitamin D deficiency can take a particularly long time to rectify, and requires that you get very high doses of it over the course of several months.
Symptoms of a Deficiency
If you’re not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun, your diet, and supplements, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Lower back ache, especially at night.
- Trouble standing up from a squat or seated position. To test this, take note of the ease with which you can get up before taking any D3. Then, take 10 000 units a day for one or two days, and try again. Compare the results. If there’s a big difference, you’re lacking Vitamin D.
- Stiff, achy, painful pelvis and hip joints (referred from the back and spine pain). These pains and stiffness can also extend to the arms, shoulders, ribs, breastbone and shins.
- Bad muscle tone, often presenting as a left-right waddle when you walk.
- Fatigue and exhaustion.
- Cancer, thanks to the compromised immune system.
- Feelings of depression or anxiety, or general changes in mood and disposition.
- Muscle cramps and weakness.
Benefits of Vitamin D
It’s almost unfathomable what an amazing effect sufficient Vitamin D has on our bodies and minds. It:
- Boosts the immune system. Take it with magnesium, Vitamin B6, and zinc to give your body a massive boost.
- Assists in managing and easing the symptoms of autoimmune illnesses like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
- Reduces inflammation and the many types of body pains that it causes.
- Improves your mood, easing depression and anxiety.
- Fights illnesses like bacterial and viral infections.
- Strengthens the muscles, helping you to be leaner and stronger.
- Promotes the general health of your brain.
- Assists with the absorption of calcium, which strengthens the bones.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and high blood pressure.
- Facilitates easier movement by improving muscle tone.
- Reduces acidity in the body.
Dr Berg recommends taking 10 000 IU’s of Vitamin D3 a day as a form of maintenance. This could be increased to up to 40 000 units per day if you suffer from autoimmune issues. This amount of Vitamin D3 is not toxic. If you’re worried about calcium build-up in the kidneys (which results from really massive daily doses of Vitamin D3 – between 100 000 and 200 000 units – over a period of months or even years), be sure to drink about 2.5 litres of water a day.
Healthy Sources of Vitamin D
Sunshine is the best source of this important substance. Be sure to spend 20 to 30 minutes in the sun with your chest, back and legs exposed to allow the best absorption every day, if possible. Always apply sunscreen on your face and neck and avoid being in the sun between 10h00 and 15h00. The UVB rays necessary for this vitamin to be activated don’t penetrate glass. So, if you’re sitting in the sun behind a window, you’re not getting the benefit of the rays.
In terms of diet, there are a few sources of the sunshine vitamin. However, it should be noted that diet alone cannot give you sufficient D3. Consume these regularly:
- Cod liver oil
- Beef liver
- Salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and trout
- Egg yolks
It is essential to take Vitamin D3 supplements to ensure that your body’s getting the sort of levels it needs to benefit. Email firstname.lastname@example.org today or visit our online shop to order this incredible health essential today.