We keep hearing about Vitamin D. There is a lot of research to support our need for Vitamin D. But how much do we really need? How do we know? And then, how do we get our Vitamin D levels to go up?
Vitamin D is a key player in achieving, and also preserving overall health and wellness. Note the word ‘player’. As all nutrients work as part of a team. However, Vitamin D does stand out as a star on this team in many ways. (Here’s the WHOLE TEAM.)
It is estimated that up to 85 percent of people have insufficient levels of vitamin D and are unaware of their deficient state. While conventional media and medicine promote sun avoidance, doing so can actually put your health in grave danger and cause vitamin D deficiency. We’ll talk about safe sunlight in a minute.
The Role of Vitamin D in Disease Prevention
A growing body of evidence shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. There are about 30,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them, as well as vitamin D receptors located throughout your body.
According to one large-scale study, optimal vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent. Keeping your levels optimized can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers. Moreover, vitamin D can build your defenses against cancer by:
• Enhancing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which can replicate and cause cancer)
• Slowing down the production and spread of cancer cells
• Helping in the differentiation of cells (cancer cells are not differentiated)
• Preventing the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones (this can help stop the progress of benign tumors into cancerous ones)
Vitamin D can also help reduce the risk of other conditions as well, including type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation, age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness), and Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin D also exhibits its infection-fighting abilities in the treatment of tuberculosis, pneumonia, colds, and flu. It can also improve seizure control in epileptics.I encourage you to do your own research in these areas.
While scientists refer to vitamin D as a vitamin, it is actually a steroid hormone obtained from sun exposure, food sources, and supplementation. Common types of vitamin D are vitamin D2(synthetic) and D3(natural source). Compared to D2, vitamin D3 is 87 percent more effective, and is the preferred form for addressing insufficient levels of vitamin D.
Once you get the proper amount of sunlight, your body will stop producing vitamin D because of its self-regulating mechanism. Here are other important factors in safe sunlight exposure:
1. Time – The best time to expose yourself to the sun is as near to solar noon as possible (during Daylight Saving Time, solar noon is typically around 1 pm). UVB rays, unlike UVA rays that are present all throughout the day, are very low in the morning and evening, and are abundant during midday – around 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Expose yourself to direct sunlight between these times for a short period, and you will have produced the most vitamin D3.
2. Skin pigmentation – Fair-skinned people can potentially max out their vitamin D production in just 10 to 20 minutes, or when their skin has turned the lightest shade of pink. However, if you have darker skin, you likely need to remain in the sun longer.
3. Sensitive body parts – The skin located around your eyes is thinner compared to other areas on your body. Since it has a small surface area, it will not do much to contribute to vitamin D production. You need to protect this part of your face, as it is very prone to photoaging and premature wrinkling. Use a safe sunblock or wear a cap that will keep your eyes in the shade.
4. Using soap – When UVB rays strike the surface of your skin, your skin will then convert a cholesterol derivative, which will turn into vitamin D3. However, the produced vitamin D3 does not immediately enter your bloodstream. It may take up to 48 hours before the vitamin D3 penetrates into your bloodstream. When you shower immediately after sun exposure, you risk washing away the vitamin D3 formed by your skin and potentially reduce the benefits of sun exposure. Try not to use soap on your arms, decolletage, stomach and legs.
There is only one way to know exactly what your Vitamin D levels are and that’s a blood test. I worry about people just taking Vitamin D because they saw a commercial on TV or ‘heard’ that we all need it.
You’ve got to KNOW where your D levels are, so that you can take care of it. If you are in fact low in Vitamin D, take a strong supplement and raise your levels, then modify your D3 intake. Again, the ONLY way for you to know if your supplement amount is working, is to do a follow up blood test in about 4 months and see if your levels are going up.
Ideally, your blood level of 25(OH)D should be 60ng/ml. You need to consciously keep your vitamin D levels within the healthy range through regular vitamin D blood tests, and then adjust your supplements accordingly.
One delivery system we have is a spray called Citri-D Vitamin D3 Spray that gives you 1,000 IU per spray so you can regulate your daily dosage.