The Sunshine Vitamin: What You Need To Know About Vitamin D
Often nicknamed the “Sunshine Vitamin”, Vitamin D is actually both a vitamin and a hormone. It enters our bodies from the sun absorbed by the skin and is transformed to a functional form of cholesterol. Vitamin D is powerful as it is essential for nearly every part of the bodily system and functional including the endocrine, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and a few others.
There are two types of vitamin D supplementation that you should be aware of:
D2 known as ergocalciferol and it is plant-based
D3 known as cholecalciferol and it is animal-based
D3 is effective at elevating your level of Vitamin D so when you are on the hunt for a supplement that is reputably sourced. It is told that consuming fortified foods with Vitamin D2 is practical but it is not as shown to work as fast and effectively as D3.
What is even more amazing about this vitamin is the fact that it is also essential towards healthy genetic function. The vitamin has been shown to be responsible for the up to three percent of gene transcription. This process is the first part of the gene expression and it denotes when a segment of the DNA is copied into Ribonucleic Acid or RNA.
Why is this important? RNA helps to combine, regulate, and process proteins. This activity is crucial towards nourishing the body, preventing acute and chronic health issues and maintaining overall health.
As wonderful as it all sounds, most of us who live in North America are at a high risk of having Vitamin D deficiency. In fact, there are more than 3 million cases yearly in the United States alone. Some common signs and symptoms are:
Brittle bones that are easily breakable
Fatigue and tiredness
Bone and muscle pain
Digestive issues, like pain, gas and bloating
Getting sick often
If you feel that you may be deficient or you are experiencing a number of the aforementioned symptoms, you may want to ask your physician to do a blood test to determine your serum levels. Ask to include the 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood test. This test is considered the most accurate way to measure how much of the Vitamin is currently in your body. Optimal and healthy Vitamin D level reading should be over 36 ng/ml.
It seems logical that the precursor months of Spring leading to summer would make it easier to feel good and absorb the rays and it is true. We are more likely to receive light and warmth courtesy of the Sun and get more Vitamin D. It is typical to get 15 to 20 minutes of direct sunlight in a couple of days to get a sufficient amount of the vitamin. Just be sure to slap on a sunscreen before heading out.
In contrast, you are less likely to get the exposure in colder months so supplementing your diet with more Vitamin D may be beneficial to your overall health. Just be sure to check in with your physician to determine how much of the vitamin is needed. It is essential as it all depends on the individual and their needs.
Also Vitamin D is a fat-soluble and if you’re taking more than 2,000 IUs a day, you should be monitored safely by your physician. In excess, it is toxic so be sure to proceed with caution with supplementation.
It is important to make sure you are supplementing the sunshine vitamin correctly to keep you healthy all year long!
Wilson, Debra Rose. Medical News Today. What Are the Health Benefits of Vitamin D?. 13 Nov 2017.