We need to educate ourselves on the vitamin D facts so we can utilize all its health benefits.
Vitamin D is unique as far as nutrients go. It was called a vitamin originally because it was thought that our bodies were unable to make it. Of course we found out later that we can – if we expose ourselves to enough sunlight.
So although we still call it a vitamin, it actually functions more like a hormone.
Vitamin D's main functions (when at optimal levels):
Vitamin D receptors have been found all throughout the body, which explains why vitamin D deficiency symptoms impact so many aspects of our health.
There are three sources of vitamin D – sunlight, foods and supplements.
Sunlight is the best way to get our vitamin D dosage. But there are caveats to this. Most of us live in areas where the UVB rays are only strong enough to make this vitamin during the summer months.
Even in Arizona, our sunniest state, studies found that only 22% of residents had barely adequate vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D facts show that foods are not a good source of this nutrient either. Yes, foods are fortified, but at levels that are too low to prevent you from becoming vitamin D deficient. They are also generally fortified with the synthetic drug vitamin D2, not the natural vitamin D form, D3.
So that leaves us with supplementation if we are to reap all the wonderful benefits of vitamin D.
The best way to find out how much you need is to go to your doctor for vitamin D testing. Make sure you get the right test though (25[OH]D not 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D).
Once you know where your vitamin D levels fall, it will be easier to figure out how much you need everyday.
It is interesting to note that the average healthy person, when exposed to strong enough sunlight, manufactures around 10,000-15,000 IU within 20-30 minutes.
Those who are older, have darker skin, more body fat, or live around pollution need more time to make the same amount.
Still, it is odd then that the government recommendation for vitamin D is 200 IU for adults (400 IU for seniors), especially since we are constantly told to stay out of the sun.
Well-documented research is now saying that 5,000 IU per day is a perfectly safe vitamin D dosage for the average person.
Although most of us are vitamin D deficient and need far more.
Arming yourself with these vitamin D facts will give you more control over your health and help boost your immune system.