Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin
By Dr. Jackie Fields
Who would expect that living in Colorado, a state averaging 300 days of sunshine each year, that people would have a deficiency in vitamin D – the Sunshine Vitamin? (Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced by our skin when it is exposed to sunlight.)
Last year, I went to a lecture by Dr. Hallouck who has been studying Vitamin D for more than thirty years. He proclaimed that between seventy and eighty percent of the world’s population is Vitamin D deficient. Since that news, I have been checking my patients’ Vitamin D levels and have found results similar to those of Dr. Hallouck. To correct my patients’ Vitamin D deficiencies, I have been recommending that they take 1,000 -5,000 IUof the vitamin each day to maintain optimal health. Treating degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis and osteopenia. If my patients are at risk for one or both of these diseases, I will place them on 1,100 IU of Vitamin D as well as Osteomax, a formula containing cal/mag and D3.
You may be surprised to find out that Vitamin D may be more important than Calcium for bone health. In JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association – 11/9/05), a recent study concluded that even if you are taking adequate amounts of Calcium, its absorption by the body may be compromised if you are not getting enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the key our bodies need to absorb Calcium.
Beyond Vitamin D’s positive affects on bone health, it offers a tremendous variety of additional benefits. Its helpful affects contribute to preserving muscle strength and improving cardiovascular health, as well as protecting us from autoimmune diseases and cancer. There are receptors for this hormone all over the body including the brain, heart, breasts, prostate, and immune cells. This helps explain why Vitamin D has such widespread affects.
The body’s ability to manufacture Vitamin D declines with age, so older people are more likely to be deficient. Also at higher risk are individuals with darker skin and those who live in northern climates. In addition, obesity increases the risk of Vitamin D deficiency because the vitamin is stored in body fat. Once stored in the fat, Vitamin D becomes less available for the body to use.
It is difficult to get adequate amounts of Vitamin D through diet alone. You would need to eat two to three serving of salmon every day or drink ten glasses of fortified milk each day to get 1,000 IU of the vitamin. I recommend taking the D3 (cholecalciferol) form which is form. Because Vitamin D is fat soluble, make sure to take it with a meal containing some fat to enhance absorption.
Options at the Healing Gardens Medicinal Store include:
- Vitamin D3 by The Healing Gardens Store– 5,000 IU per softgel. Take one softgel three times a week or as much as once a day.
- Liquid Vitamin D by The Healing Gardens Store – 1000 IU per drop in a sunflower oil base. Easy to take taste!
- Vitamin D3 by Thorne Research-1,000 IU per capsule.