People often think that Vitamin D is just for your bones and absorbing calcium. And, some people ask, “Why do I need to take vitamin D if I get a lot of sunshine?”
The answer is that Vitamin D does so much more than help you absorb calcium.
If you feel irritable, or fatigued or emotionally out of sorts Vitamin D may help. If you feel you can’t get interested or happy about things or even feel down when the nights are longer and the days shorter, then you need extra D. Even if you do go outside “a lot” you probably don’t get enough of this very important vitamin. I choose to tell people about vitamin D at this time of year. Why? Because vitamin D not only can help a lot of people avoid SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) symptoms but is also very important in a number of other surprising ways. And it just so happens that at this time of the year in New England we can’t get enough vitamin D from being outside in the sun.
To learn more about why you might need extra Vitamin D and to know about what recent research has found to make it safer to use… please read on.
How do we make Vitamin D?
First, when the ultra violet rays from sunlight, called B rays, hit our skin, we use cholesterol to build an inactive form of vitamin D.
For people living at the latitude of Boston and points north, we do not get enough of the B rays from Labor Day until Memorial Day to make all the vitamin D we need. Most people work and play indoors so they get far too few of the Ultra Violet B rays. If you have dark skin, your skin does not collect as many of the rays. This is why people whose ancestors came from far north areas, like Scandinavia are very light skinned. Sunblock, also blocks the UV B rays so you can’t make much Vitamin D.
Also if you are too low in cholesterol, you can’t make much vitamin D.
Next, the body sends the inactive form of Vitamin D to the liver for more processing.
But it is still not active yet.
The liver product gets sent to the kidney for the final process of making the Vitamin D active and ready for your body to use.
So, if your liver or kidney are not healthy, it is hard for them to make all the vitamin D that you need.
What Does the “Amazing Vitamin D’ Do?
You need Vitamin D to keep you healthy in many ways:
- Healthy Bones
Most everyone knows that you need Vitamin D to put calcium in your bones. But did you know that if you don’t take Vitamin K2 with the D that the calcium could end up in your kidney or tendons or arteries where you don’t want it?
Recent research has shown that to take a Vitamin D supplement safely, you need to pair with K2 (not just any old vitamin K but specifically K2).
- A healthy immune system
- The immune system’s T cells and B cells need vitamin D for their proper functions.
- The macrophage cells of your immune system that eat and kill germs need Vitamin D.
- Too low D levels put you at risk for more colds or sinus infections.
- Many studies show low D levels mean increased risk of infections.
- Studies have shown that taking extra Vitamin D lessens the incidence of flu by 42%.
- There is mounting evidence that vitamin D deficiency and cause or worsen autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome) and systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Fighting Cancer!
- A 2016 study looking at Vitamin D and cancer that looked at 2,304 women over about 3.9 years and included all invasive cancers, except skin cancer, found:
Women with higher levels of Vitamin D had 67% lower risk of cancer than women with less D in their system.
The study concluded that higher D levels were associated with substantial reduction in risk of all invasive cancers combined.
- Over the past 35 years multiple epidemiological studies have found that higher D levels reduced risk of cancer including:
- and prostate.
- One hospital based study showed women with high levels of Vitamin D had an 83% reduction in breast cancer risk.
- Higher levels of Vitamin D also lowered risk of lung and pancreatic cancer.
- Fighting depression!
Particularly in Winter for people who get Seasonal Affective Disorder. (Make sure your vitamin D comes with Vitamin K2)
5. Healthy Nerves
Growing healthy nerves and healing hurt nerves requires Vitamin D.
Wow! D is Important. How Do We Get Enough?
Well besides getting sunlight on your skin (the B rays do not go through clothes or glass) as often as possible here are some foods high in D:
- wild salmon
- beef or calf liver
- egg yolks
- almond milk
- shitake mushrooms, and other mushrooms
- pork tenderloin
- Cod Liver Oil
Most of us would benefit from a high quality Vitamin D3 supplement with K2.
At the office we only carry high quality Vitamin D3 supplements now that have K2 in them as well.