All Aboard! The Vitamin D Bandwagon
Never in the history of my 12+ years in the natural medicine field have I ever seen as much focus put on any one vitamin as I have with Vitamin D.
Two years ago it was hard to find a lab that ran a blood test for Vitamin D and the results took 2-3 weeks! So much information has surfaced in the last 2 years on Vitamin D that Quest Laboratories now routinely runs the test for licensed physicians around the country. Conventional Medical Doctors have written entire books on it and even the most conservative specialists are recommending levels be tested and supplementation begun in patients who are deficient. The truth is even here in sunny Southern California about 80% of our patient base is Vitamin D deficient. Why you might ask? Buildings, that are climate controlled, time spent in cars sitting on freeways, sunscreen, multiple factors, which all add up to less time spent in open sunlight. Vitamin D production gets activated in our skin in response to sunlight exposure. The amount of exposure is directly related to the surface area of our skin that is exposed. Vitamin D is currently in the family of fat-soluble vitamins but some researchers argue that it is not a vitamin at all. Vitamin D is in fact, a Hormone. A hormone involved in the regulation of over 1,000 different genes and every cell in our bodies has vitamin D receptors.
Lets look at the benefits of sunlight, linked together with Vitamin D.
1) Improved mood and relief from depression. In a study of 1200 adults, people suffering with minor and major depression had Vitamin D levels testing 14% below average.
2) Immune Boosting. Prevention from cancer and warding off bacterial and viral infection.
3) Increased sex hormones, especially testosterone in men.
4) Strengthens bones by increasing the absorption of calcium.
5) Assists with skin conditions such as psoriasis, and wound healing.
Food sources of Vitamin D include:
Oily fish, eggs, butter, fortified dairy products, and avocado.
Testing and Appropriate levels:
Laboratory testing through blood is advised prior to supplementation.
Serum levels are optimal between 50-70 ng/ml. This is also the level where it is protective against cancer.
Recommended dosing for patients who are deficient is 5,000iu/daily for 3 months with follow-up testing to determine if further supplementation is needed.
Currently the majority of the population is deficient. As awareness about Vitamin D grows and more people begin to supplement, we can eventually enter toxic levels. Toxicity can lead to hypercalcemia, kidney stress, and excess bone loss. This stresses the importance of working with your doctor to achieve the ideal level and maintain it.
Practice Safe Sun!
15-20 minutes every day, without sunscreen. Remember that most of us usually only have a few areas of skin exposed, hands, neck, and face. The idea is to get as much exposed in a short time as possible. My favorite is 10 minutes of sunbathing on each side and your done!