Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin,” and has many wonderful benefits. There are two forms of Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Both offer benefits, yet only D3 is more readily absorbed and utilized by the human body while D2 is more than 50 times more toxic than D3.
Vitamin D is obtained naturally from two sources: sunlight and dietary consumption. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the form of Vitamin D produced in the skin and consumed in the diet. Vitamin D3, is the most biologically active form of Vitamin D found in humans and animals. When sunlight hits the skin, it converts cholesterol into an active form of Vitamin D3. This form is involved in a multitude of biological processes and is crucial for promoting calcium absorption in the bones.
What we currently know about the many roles and benefits of Vitamin D may still be the tip of the iceberg, but we know enough to state with confidence that D deficiency is a major contributor to our current epidemic of chronic diseases. For instance the winter flu season may be the result of our reduced exposure to sunlight and resulting lack of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is a factor in all of the following conditions: chronic infections, tiredness, psoriasis, sweaty head, chronic kidney disease, crankiness, muscle weakness, reduced endurance, chronic pain, bone pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, diabetes, inflammation, musculoskeletal disorders, neurological problems, autoimmune diseases, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, metabolic syndrome, migraine headaches, cervical dysplasia, thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease, Grave’s disease, osteoporosis, mental depression, polycystic ovary syndrome, epilepsy, the management of Type 2 diabetes, women’s health issues, and the prevention of cancer and Type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D appears to modulate neurotransmitter/neurologic and immune function as well. Vitamin D may even reduce the severity and frequency of infectious diseases, for instance constant respiratory problems in children.
Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in the developed world, particularly among people of color, people in the northern hemispheres (because the sunlight is too weak) and people over 50. Vitamin D requirements are highly individual, and the amount that your body needs may depend on numerous factors, including the color of your skin, your location, and how much sunshine you’re exposed to on a regular basis.
Additionally, we now know the previously defined upper limit for safe intake of Vitamin D was set far too low, and the physiologic requirement is significantly higher than previously believed. While many nutrition scientists advise that adults take 5000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily, others suggest up to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily is safe for most adults. Based on the most recent research, the current recommendation is 35 IUs of Vitamin D per pound of body weight. The only way to know for sure though is to get your blood level tested.
Food is not a significant source of Vitamin D. For instance, I don’t recommend orange juice, breakfast cereals or milk that is fortified with Vitamin D. They’re not appropriate foods and most use Vitamin D2 that is not very biologically active.
Vitamin D supplements are often the best source for many people suffering from Vitamin D insufficiency. It’s easy and removes the guesswork. While most Vitamin D supplements offer Vitamin D3, check to make sure that it isn’t Vitamin D2. Shaklee Vita D3 is derived from lamb’s wool and found to be the purest and safest of all natural sources. Make sure to choose a company that manufactures their supplements according to pharmaceutical standards.