The Sunshine Vitamin
It is estimated that around 90% of the United States population is Vitamin D deficient. Darker skinned people are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency than lighter skinned people. Additionally, people living in northern regions are likely to have more severe Vitamin D deficiency than those in southern regions due to less sun exposure.
With less sun exposure in the winter months, people are more likely to get sick and feel weak due to their Vitamin D levels being so low.
Sun exposure is needed on a daily basis for optimal health. The recommendation is to go outside for around 15-30 minutes between the hours of 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM WITHOUT SUNSCREEN! That’s right! Constant use of sunscreen can cause Vitamin D deficiency as well. Most commercial sunscreens also have toxic chemicals that actually increase the risk of skin cancer. So, check your sunscreen safety ratings at Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen
Difference between Vitamin D2 and D3
Dr. Axe explains the difference between Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3:
There are two types of supplemental Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. The precursor to Vitamin D is found in both plant and animal products, but animal-derived products of Vitamin D3 are thought to be more absorbable and beneficial.
Why? Well, man-made Vitamin D is made one of two ways: D2 is created by irradiating yeast and other molds (known as Vegetarian Vitamin D2), or by irradiating animal oils and cholesterol creating Vitamin D3. The type of Vitamin D our body naturally makes is called cholecalciferol, which is Vitamin D3.
The body is able to convert some D2 to be used for body functions, but prefers and is able to use Vitamin D3 much more effectively.
Unfortunately, most Vitamin-D-fortified foods and dietary supplements mostly contain ergocalciferol, which is a type of Vitamin D2 which is neither as absorbable nor converted by the body into what it needs.
D3 from animal products (specifically from the cholesterol within these products) is closest to what sunlight naturally produces in humans when the skin works to convert UV light.
Vitamin D3 is believed to convert up to 500 times faster than D2 and has been estimated to be 4X more effective in humans than D2.
So what happens when we are Vitamin D deficient?
According to research, a Vitamin D deficiency symptoms can be linked to the following health problems:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Autoimmune diseases
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic pain
Where to get Vitamin D
Some people make the mistake of thinking they get enough Vitamin D in a glass of milk. We need around 5,000 IU of Vitamin D a day! (But you should get your Vitamin D levels tested before determining your unique Vitamin D needs). A glass of whole milk has around 125 IU and 2% milk has a puny 2 IU of Vitamin D.
Furthermore, some studies show that milk can actually cause calcium and Vitamin D deficiency.
This best place to get Vitamin D is in sunlight, wild caught fish, high quality eggs, and mushrooms.
As said before, we need more sun exposure! The recommendation is to go outside for around 15-30 minutes between 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM WITHOUT SUNSCREEN! That’s right! Constant use of sunscreen can cause Vitamin D deficiency as well.
Wild caught carp fish, halibut, mackerel, and salmon have high levels of Vitamin D and are nutrient dense in other ways as well.
The Vitamin D levels in eggs are not as high as fish, but eggs contain good fats that we need for brain health.
Mushrooms are unique plants that have some similarities to human skin. The Vitamin D levels in mushrooms increase as their sun exposure is increased. Some grocery stores offer mushrooms that have been exposed to ultra-violet light, increasing their Vitamin D levels.