The Sunshine Vitamin
With the seasons changing it's finally that time of year again, it's time to start increasing your Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is important. We all know that. Nearly every tissue in the body absorbs vitamin D. Without enough of it in the body, we cannot absorb calcium. Calcium is essential for your brain, bone development and tooth formation.
Although we know it's important to have Vitamin D, a large percentage of the population is deficient. Vitamin D levels can also be affected by your age and body fat levels. The older you are the harder it is for your body to absorb and the more fat cells you have the more you need to absorb.
What You Should Know
1. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which means the vitamin is absorbed through your digestive process. While you are digesting, your intestines absorb it and it is then stored in your liver and fat cells for later use. It is also important to note that it is difficult for your body to rid itself of excess fat-soluble vitamins so don't over consume them when supplementing.
2. The animal form of Vitamin D is found in fish, eggs and cheese, and is absorbed in the skin. The plant form is found in mushrooms and is the form most often used to prepare milk.
3. Vitamin D must be processed by your body in order for it to be used effectively. Vitamin D has been commercially made and appears to be effective in maintaining healthy levels in the body.
Vitamin D isn't a true vitamin. We do not need food to attain it. Natural sunlight allows our body to create Vitamin D and even destroys excessive amounts when needed.
There are 2 types of Vitamin D:
1. D3 which comes from food such as fish and meats. This is also the same type that comes from the sun.
2. D2 which comes from the supplements that you find at the grocery store.
So, do you think you can get enough Vitamin D through your office or car window? The correct answer is, no. Glass blocks most of the UVB preventing Vitamin D from being made naturally. Sunscreen has a similar effect. Applying it will decrease the amount of Vitamin D made in the body by about 99%.
Vitamin D is extremely rare in foods. It can be found in fish, cod liver oils, mushrooms, liver and eggs in limited amounts. It is important to know that the farmed variety of fish contain very little Vitamin D compared to the wild varieties. The only reason we even get Vitamin D from foods like milk and cereal is because these foods are processed with it.
Therefore, you will not get enough Vitamin D from whole foods. It is a sunlight vitamin.
Should You Supplement?
Always talk to your doctor first! Low vitamin D levels can also be associated with other key nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin K, Magnesium and Vitamin A. Getting advice from your doctor on what supplements are right for you is the safest way to balance your body.
Get outside! We know it's not always ideal in the Saskatchewan winters, but it is the best way for your body to make and regulate Vitamin D.
Andrews, R. (2018). All About Vitamin D [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-vitamin-d
Walsh, B. (2018). Vitamin D Supplements: Are Your Helping or Hurting You [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.precisionnutrition.com/stop-vitamin-d