Welcome to the Wonderful World of Vitamin D
Technically not a vitamin. It’s a name given to a group of substances that are precursors to hormones. D2 and D3 are most important to us. Why?
- Support immune function. Research shows it protects against all disease. Yes, this can mean you live longer.
- Improve muscle strength. Pretty nifty.
- Reduce inflammation. Convenient.
- Promote the absorption of calcium from the small intestine. Helpful.
- Help maintain adequate blood levels of the calcium and phosphate needed for bone formation, mineralization (incorporating minerals to increase strength and density), growth, and repair. Long sentence you probably didn’t read, but it’s super important.
1. Vitamin D Protects Against Cancer
We’ve known since 2007 when the research came out that Vitamin D3 reduces the risk of breast, colorectal, prostate, and ovarian. Participants in studies with lower blood levels of the vitamin had a higher mortality rate.
2. Vitamin D Protects Against Heart Disease…and Any Disease
Findings from a study at the University of Kansas at the end of 2011 showed that 70% of participants who were deficient in Vitamin D were 3 times more likely to die of any cause of death than those with normal Vitamin D levels. “Patients with low levels of ‘D’ were twice as likely to have diabetes, 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure and about 30 percent more likely to have cardiomyopathy (a diseased heart muscle) than those who weren’t deficient in ‘D’.”
3. We Have Limited Sources of Vitamin D
Our #1 natural source of Vitamin D is the sun. Well, our bodies manufacture D3 when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Approximately 15 minutes a day on our extremities and face. Who gets that every day? I don’t.
Some foods contain Vitamin D, like fatty fish, fish liver oil, and eggs. You can get smaller amounts in meat and cheese. The fact is, most dietary vitamin D comes from fortified foods: milk, juice, yogurt, bread, and breakfast cereals (not my top food recommendations).
Check out this recent post that came to me in early 2018: 15 Health Benefits of Vitamin D and 15 Top Foods that Contain Vitamin D.
What Kind of Vitamin D Supplement Should You Take?
Get Vitamin D3. The IOM (Institute of Medicine) raised the RDA for Vitamin D from 200 IUs to 600 IUs daily for those up to age 70. It’s 800 IUs for those over 70. It increased the tolerable upper intake level from 2,000 to 4,000 IUs.
Me? I’m in the Dr. Weil camp. I take my 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily. When I was fighting lyme disease I increased it. I had my doctor check my Vitamin D levels with blood work to ensure it stayed in the normal range. We monitor it yearly.