Vitamin D3 is unique when compared to other vitamins. It is both a vitamin and a hormone. When your body gets vitamin D3 it turns it into a hormone which is commonly called “activated Vitamin D” or “calcitriol.” Unlike other vitamins, your body can make its own vitamin D3 when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Dermatologists commonly tell us to stay out of the sun or to use sunscreen. This increased use of sunscreens in recent years may be a contributing factor to the widespread vitamin D3 deficiency we are experiencing. Additionally, unlike other vitamins, it is difficult to get sufficient vitamin D3 from food sources. There are trace amounts of vitamin D2 in very few foods including egg yolks, beef liver, fatty fish, and a few fortified foods. (Food is fortified with D2.)
The amount of D in the skin from sunlight varies, it depends on the time of day, the color of your skin, and where you live in the world. The more skin that you expose to the sun the more D is produced. If you are worried about exposing your skin to sunlight or can’t get enough sunlight to increase your vitamin D3 levels than supplementing is necessary. Remember to supplement with D3 rather than D2 because D3 is the type produced by the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
Ideal levels of Vitamin D3 are needed for the absorption of calcium from the intestines helping to build strong bones and teeth. Together with calcium, vitamin D3 can help prevent osteoporosis in older adults. It is estimated that 40 million older adults have or are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Researchers are now discovering that Vitamin D3 may be important for many other reasons outside of good bone health including, immune system, muscle function, cardiovascular function, respiratory system, brain development and even anti-cancer effects.
According to Harvard Public School of Health it is estimated that worldwide 1 billion people have inadequate blood levels of vitamin D3. Deficiencies can be found in all age groups and all ethnicities. The levels of vitamin D3 found in most multivitamins (400IU) is too low. When was the last time you had your blood levels of vitamin D3 tested? Please don’t let this all important vitamin go untested.
The team of providers here at 25 Again can help guide you through the process of necessary testing and supplementing to get you going on the right track.