With my patients I refer to Vitamin D3 as a “non-negotiable” supplement just about everyone should take daily. This much-hyped vitamin (which actually behaves more like a hormone in the body) is probably as close to a “rockstar supplement” as you can get. Most people know two things about D3: 1) You get it from the sun and 2) you need it to for healthy bones -- yes, these are true, but there’s so much more to this vitamin/hormone which makes it critical for a healthy body. Vitamin D is essential for our mental and physical health as well as a healthy immune system and cancer prevention.
One of the more amazing aspects of vitamin D3 is our skin produces an inactive form when exposed to UV rays. Unlike other hormones in the body produced through specific organs (such as thyroid hormone, estrogen or testosterone), D3 is created by three organs working synergistically. Vitamin D3 needs to be activated by the liver or kidneys to become useable by the body. Once activated, it interacts with vitamin D receptors which are located in tissues all over your body. Vitamin D allows us to regulate our blood levels of calcium which keeps our bones and muscles healthy. Even now we continue to learn about the many different biochemical processes in which this vitamin/hormone plays a role.
Deficiency in this vitamin/hormone can show up as a myriad of conditions or symptoms: thinning or soft bones, muscle weakness or aches, autoimmune diseases (i.e. Crohn’s Disease, MS, Type 1 Diabetes), metabolic syndrome, breathing problems such as asthma, increased infections, depression, increased incidence of many cancers. You could probably say this vitamin/hormone does a little bit of everything for us.
Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common worldwide, but especially in northern latitudes (such as here in cloudy Washington state).
Here are 5 reasons you may not be getting enough D3 in your life:
So what can you do to help improve your D3 levels? First, get your Vitamin D tested via an easy blood test. Although labs vary, I like to see Vitamin D3 levels at least at 50 ng/dL in my patients for optimal health!
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