Has your healthcare provider advised you test for Vitamin D as part of a routine check-up? If you don’t yet know where your big D lies, then it’s time you dig deeper. If you have, then you’ve been through the drill. You’ve either come out on top or at the bottom and have been asked to supplement with a sachet or D-360.
Y’all know all too well why getting out in the sun is important, but did you know there is a correlation between stabilizing D and reducing “bad” cholesterol or LDL? Decreased vitamin D levels can cause an increase in parathyroid hormone, which in turn leads to increased inflammatory diseases.
Do you know why Vitamin D deficiency abounds?
Most people are under normally required levels. I suppose we don’t get out in the sun as much as we once used to. Even very young children are coming out deficient in D. The optimal levels would be above 30 ng/mL. The best way to get the sunshine vitamin is from the sun since the body then beautifully regulates how much of you need.
Considering how little we get out in the sun, it is quite intriguing to me that we will lather on endless amounts of sunscreen to protect our skin from the harsh effects of the sun. Isn’t it ironic then that we are trying to block the very thing that we need?
Let’s look at the biochemistry of all this:
What happens when we get out in the sun?
When UV rays hit the skin, and by skin I mean, naked skin, the prohormone is released, but, “it is biologically inert and must be metabolized to 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the liver and then to 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in the kidney before function. The hormonal form of vitamin D3, i.e., 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, acts through a nuclear receptor to carry out its many functions, including calcium absorption, phosphate absorption in the intestine, calcium mobilization in bone, and calcium reabsorption in the kidney.”
Vitamin D has been classified as a vitamin for far too long when it is a prohormone. Hence it isn’t a vitamin at all. D is probably one of the few vitamins that cannot be derived from plants or animal sources in abundance. Plants don’t have them, but animal sources do in low proportions—seafood, eggs, and meat specifically.
Vitamin D is a more recent discovery. D is young, as young as 1913, so the process of learning and relearning about this important prohormone is a continuing cycle. Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis. Human beings on the other, don’t quite suck the sun in and strut around like breezy green leaves. We need plenty of sunlight if we are dark toned or light, but how much of it depends on this color spectrum. If you get fried like sardines in the sun, then you know you’ve had way too much of it.
What happens when you are below average levels?
If you are deficient some symptoms will include:
- Bone and joint pains (dietary calcium supports the needed serum calcium concentrates, but when this is missing or insufficient, the mobilization of calcium happens from the bones, so you can imagine how depletion affects everything else)
- Back problems
- Falls (in geriatrics)
- Depression (the hippocampus, involved in regulating your mood contains vitamin D receptors, so if you are deficient, your ability in these regions to function normally might be affected)
Inhibitors of the D absorption: clothes, sunscreen, and adipose tissue inhibit the absorption process. So if you want to benefit from baking in the sun, get the sun directly on the skin as much as you can or move bag and baggage to a seaside location ☺