Prevention Is The Best Kind Of Medicine: Are You Taking Your Vitamin D?
Many health experts consider the benefits of vitamin D to be one of the most important factors in preventing chronic disease. What is the first thing that pops into your head when I say "vitamin D"?
Is it bone health? Is it SUNSHINE?
Let's Start With The Basics:
Vitamin D is found in the body in 2 forms. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol), which is made by plants. You can find it in foods that have been "fortified", such as juices, milk, or cereals (not the best source). And it is often prescribed by physicians to those that test low in their levels. And, Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), the complete form of Vitamin D, which is made when the skin is exposed to the sun. What your body requires is vitamin D3 and not vitamin D2. One microgram of vitamin D3 is about five times more potent than an equivalent amount of vitamin D2. Aside from being less effective, vitamin D2 can also pose potential harm to your body.
You shouldn't take any vitamin D supplement without taking vitamin K2. (important side note...you should also NEVER take a calcium supplement without vitamin D along with it.) Vitamin K2 deficiency is connected to vitamin D toxicity symptoms, which includes excessive calcification that can contribute to the hardening of your arteries. You might have heard calcium supplementation being blamed lately for this hardening, but the reality is more likely improper supplementation. One of the functions of vitamin K2 is to direct calcium to areas in your body where it is needed, such as your bones and teeth. It also functions to keep calcium away from areas where it shouldn’t be, including your soft tissues and arteries. The optimal ratios between vitamin D and K2 have yet to be determined. However, Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue recommends that for every 1,000 IUs of vitamin D, you can benefit from about 100 to 200 micrograms of vitamin K2. Watch the video below to hear her own words regarding this issue.
We’ve been somewhat “brain-washed” by the media & dermatologists to think that all sun exposure is bad. This is NOT TRUE! Getting 15 minutes of direct sunlight on unprotected skin is usually enough to get in your daily dose without any toxic damage. Nature is your best bet for Vitamin D3. Complementing foods in your diet that contain vitamin D, like fish (wild salmon is best), cod liver oil, milk, eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables will also help. Unfortunately, most of us cannot get enough Vitamin D from food sources or sun exposure because of where we live on the planet &/or working indoors during most days of our lives.
It is estimated that up to 2/3 of the population is Vitamin D deficient and needs to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. Keep in mind that it is a fat-soluble vitamin and should be taken with a meal for the best absorption possible.
How do I know if I am getting enough?
Have a blood test called 25(OH). It is the ONLY blood test out there that measures the amount of Vitamin D to determine if you are getting enough or not. This test is especially important if you have family history of high cholesterol, cancer, or autoimmune disease. It is best to get tested before you start supplementation. However, I will give you this caveat. Currently, the U.S. RDA for vitamin D is 400 IUs (international units) for the majority of the population. This dose was determined a long time ago to prevent rickets in children. This dose has NOTHING to do with achieving optimal levels and being in a state of optimal health. To achieve optimal blood levels a adult could require up to 8,000 IUs daily. This is quite the contrast to the RDA set forth by the US government.
If you have a physician that is willing to test you. Great! Move forward with that to see where you stand. If not, there is an inexpensive way to get yourself tested.
GrassrootsHealth is sponsoring the use of blood spot test kits (laboratory analysis done by ZRT Labs) for a $40 fee to each individual. The fee includes:
A vitamin D blood spot test kit to be used at home (except in the state of New York)
The results are sent directly to you
You can then take these results to your medical provider if you are deficient and need supplementation.
So what are some of the benefits of vitamin D?
- Bone Health - Vitamin D aids in the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous
- Increases bone density & helps decrease fractures
- Helps to prevent osteoporosis
- Enhances the immune system, lowering the incidence of colds or flu
- Lowers incidence of cancer & rheumatoid arthritis
- Controls hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Aids in heart/cardiovascular health, preventing premature death
- Reduces inflammation
- Prevention of diabetes, autoimmune diseases, & multiple sclerosis
- Can complement cholesterol lowering
- Eases muscle aches & fibromyalgia symptoms
Improves serotonin levels, thus aiding the control of depression
- Helps control appetite and even improves fat-loss efforts!!
As you can see, Vitamin D is absolutely necessary for good health & the list of benefits just keeps on GROWING.
If you enjoyed this post and are wanting to THRIVE, not just survive, consider working with me as your personal health coach. Together we will make an actionable plan based on where you are and where you want to be. All of my plans include a comprehensive health history, food plan, recipes, shopping lists and a plethora of support materials, not to mention all the mindfulness tools & techniques I teach you to put those gremlins to rest for good!
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To your wellness,
- Dr. Lara
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