Vitamin D

6 Jan

So here we are, soldiering through the darkest part of the year.  Drab weather and limited sunlight can not only lead to a lack of pep but also a serious deficiency in vitamin D.  No wonder they call it the sunshine vitamin.

Darker regions of the world look to UVB sunlamps that naturally create vitamin D in the body to see folks through SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and boost their immune systems.  Besides taking in actual sunlight each day, many common processed foods are fortified with vitamin D.

There are actually 2 forms of vitamin D.  Vitamin D2 is manufactured by plants and fungus.  Vitamin D3 is formed when the body synthesizes sunlight through exposure of the skin to UVA and UVB rays. Vitamin D3 can also be obtained by consuming animal products.  For example, the vitamin D3 I take each day comes from fish liver oil.

Care should be taken in the use of vitamin D3 supplements, so check with your physician for proper dosage specific to your needs.

A recent visit to a Rheumatologist with a dear friend of mine got me thinking about this simple vitamin.  My friend had suddenly begun to have stomach upset, vision problems, swelling in her hands and feet, and severe pain on waking, more so than when she lay down at night.  A simple blood test showed that she was healthy across the board, except for a severe vitamin D deficiency.  We were so glad it wasn’t rheumatoid arthritis or some debilitating digestive disorder.  Just one simple deficiency that is easily remedied through supplementation.  Still, all that pain and all that trouble was caused by the lack of a very easy to acquire and inexpensive vitamin.

My friend works from sun up to sun down in an office under flourescent lights with nothing more than a sliver of a window for sunlight each day.  Obviously, it’s not enough sun exposure to keep her healthy but then again, even those out in the sun each day still run the risk of being deficient in vitamin D.

5 Benefits of Vitamin D

Weight Loss: Some exciting new research has shown that folks supplementing with 1000 IU of vitamin D3 each day lost 300% more weight overall than those using diet and exercise alone.

Immune Booster: Vitamin D builds our immunity against heart disease, diabetes and influenza.  Dr. Cannell, a physician at a maximum-security hospital in California found that early in 2005, the hospital had a severe flu epidemic. In Dr. Cannell’s ward, however, no one got sick, even though they had been exposed. The difference was that Cannell’s patients had been taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily for several months.

Eases Depression: Vitamin D3 supplements and UVB sunlamps have been used successfully in balancing emotions, increasing serotonin levels and relieving the symptoms of clinical depression.

Cancer Prevention: According to the Vitamin D Council, research has implicated vitamin D deficiencies in the pathologies of 22 cancers.  One study specifically showed that women who took vitamin D supplements had as much as 77 % lower risk of cancer than women who didn’t take it.

Prevents Osteoporosis: Vitamin D is necessary for the growth, development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth as it regulates the production of phosphorous and calcium in the body.  Studies show that taking vitamin D3 supplements decreases the likelihood of developing bone density-related conditions like osteoporosis and rickets.

2 Responses to “Vitamin D”

  1. Marilyn Arnold Machen Harding January 6, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    What an excellent article! Very informative. Extremely important to our health.


    • Lynn Van Noy January 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

      Thanks Marilyn! I’m still amazed at all that I’m learning about this nutrient. Was told today that it stops hot flashes. I’m hunting up research now! =D


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