Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be hard to obtain in adequate amounts because our primary source is from sun exposure.
During the winter, we spend more time indoors and the sun is not as strong particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, and throughout the summer, we are usually covering ourselves with protective clothing and sunscreen to prevent burning, wrinkles, and skin cancer. Many people, when tested, discover that they are deficient in this very important vitamin.
The sunshine vitamin can be found in very few foods such as liver, wild salmon, sardines, tuna, egg yolks (pasture-raised eggs have a much higher amount of both Vitamins D and K), mushrooms (eat a variety), and various fortified foods such as milk. However, Vitamin D is not readily available through foods and it is hard to get in sufficient amounts.
Major vitamin D functions include supporting key mineral absorption and metabolism (especially calcium and phosphorus in the blood and bones), regulating normal cell differentiation and proliferation (e.g., prevention of cancer), promoting insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation (insulin secretion), and regulating over 200 genes through binding to vitamin D receptors throughout the body.
According to Dr. Mercola, several studies have shown a link between Vitamin D deficiency, abdominal obesity and visceral fat. Research shows that increasing your vitamin D levels may improve weight loss if you’re following a reduced-calorie diet.
So how do we optimize our vitamin D levels?
- Before you supplement with vitamin D, you should ask your doctor for a 25-hydroxy test. This will give you an idea of how much you may need to supplement.
- Since vitamin D is a hormone, it fluctuates for everyone differently. Seasonal changes affect it too.
- Use D3, not D2. To improve absorption, take vitamin D with food that contains some fat, since it is a fat-soluble nutrient.
- You should ideally combine higher doses of vitamin D with vitamin K. Many better supplements combine these 2 vitamins.