Statistically, people in countries and states with less sunshine are substantially less happy than those with significant exposure to the sun. This is largely attributed to a hormone sunlight produces that we just so happen to need for survival.
This hormone, better known as vitamin D, influences the function of your nerves, muscles and immune system. It also helps reduce inflammation. Research has shown that without adequate levels of vitamin D, the body is more susceptible to a host of debilitating conditions, including:
- Type II diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Mood disorders (like depression)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Kidney stones
- Neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimer’s disease)
Unfortunately, the majority of North Americans are seriously vitamin-D deficient.
Vitamin D2 vs. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D growth is promoted when the body is exposed to sunlight or consumes particular foods containing the sought-after hormone. Despite this seemingly easy access, more than half the American population is vitamin D-deficient.
The human body stores this vitamin in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. These are used to balance the amount of calcium and phosphorous inside the body.
Vitamin D3 differs from vitamin D2 in that D3 is the exact form produced in the skin. Both can be absorbed through food and are then converted through the kidneys and liver to 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D, (Cancer.org). This is the active form of vitamin D that stays in the body for weeks and is the form healthcare professionals use to measure levels within the body.
Vitamin D helps the body use calcium to fortify bones and may even help improve calcium deficiency. In this active form, vitamin D helps the intestine absorb appropriate amounts of calcium and phosphorus to promote healthy bone growth.
It also continually to inhibit the "pro-inflammatory response and thereby diminishes turnover of leukocytes," (AJA.org). Leukocytes, or white blood cells, have receptors for vitamin D which aid in fighting autoimmune diseases. Ecological studies have shown that vitamin D3 even protects against "prostate, colon, rectal, female breast and ovarian cancer."(1)
Insufficient levels of vitamin D may increase leukocyte telomere length (LTL) which is directly linked to age-related diseases and lessens after each cell cycle or during an inflammatory period.
Best Source of Vitamin D3
People frequently misunderstand the need for vitamin D and seek out immensely harmful and synthetic forms of exposure. Tanning beds and spray tans miss the entire concept of sunlight when they offer a sun-kissed look rather than sun-kissed benefits.
While humans require sunlight for survival, there's still an inherent risk of overexposure that can lead to sun burn and skin cancer. Fortunately, natural vitamin D can be found in several, all-natural food sources.
Foods containing vitamin D:
- Beef liver
- Organic cheese
- Some milk, and dairy products containing milk
These foods provide vitamin D in the form that is most easily absorbed and utilized by the body, but some--beef liver and sardines--do not sound appetizing to the average consumer. The bigger issue is that these foods contain a relatively insignificant amount of vitamin D.
A single serving of sardines offers 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D, which is four times greater than an 8-ounce glass of milk. Milks claiming to be fortified with vitamin D offer negligible, synthetic amounts of this essential vitamin.
While 400 IU sounds like a lot, vitamin D experts recommend 4,000 IU daily to prevent chronic diseases and other sickness. That’s 10 servings of sardines every day. Some recommend as much as 10,000 IU daily to increase sagging levels of vitamin D, which is why leading supplements offer 5,000 IU per serving.
Between scarce amounts in food and indoor jobs that prevent most folks from absorbing the recommended daily levels of vitamin D. Remember, 50 percent of the entire population and 70 percent of children are deficient. Some people are at even greater risk, including:
- People age 50 and older, whose skin cannot make as much vitamin D or whose kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.
- People with limited sun exposure.
- Adults with darker skin.
- People who do not absorb fat well, which is linked to conditions like pancreatic enzymes disease, fibrosis or celiac disease (gluten intolerance), types of liver disease and removal of all or part of the stomach or intestine.
- Children and teens who are not exposed to sun and who do not drink at least 2 cups of fortified milk per day.
- People who are lactose intolerant, allergic to milk, or who avoid milk products for any reason.
- People who are overweight or obese. The more body fat a person has, the more vitamin D is needed to increase blood levels of the vitamin, (Cancer.org).
Vitamin-D deficiency is directly related to the development of type II diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. Natural supplementation can help replenish the body’s levels of this crucial hormone.
Supplementation Maximized Living's Vitamin D3 Complex includes 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 as well as a healthy blend of probiotics. This 100-percent whole-food supplement boosts your immune system, improves digestion while helping supporting the health of your joints, bones, skin and teeth.