It is sometimes known as the “sunshine vitamin” – but vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone that our bodies produce naturally, and it exists in various forms. The two most important ones are: D-3, which is the animal form and D-2, which is the plant form. Our bodies need these vitamins to help regulate calcium and other minerals.
Maintaining Calcium Levels
You might be wondering why? Why is vitamin D so important? The answer is without enough vitamin D in our bodies, dietary calcium cannot be absorbed. Calcium is essential for signaling between brain cells, bone development and tooth formation. Calcium is extremely important during infancy and adolescence. Poor calcium levels can lead to poor bone health and development.
Low levels of Vitamin D can lead to increased loss of muscle strength, increased risk of cancers, low immunity, high blood pressure, the development of neurological disorders, the development of diabetes. Vitamin D levels can also be affected by age and body fat levels. As we age, our ability to make vitamin D is reduced by 75%.
Sources of Vitamin D
Wondering how to increase your Vitamin D intake? Of course, the obvious one is sun exposure. You cannot soak up vitamin D through windows or sunscreen. Being exposed to the sun for 5 – 30 minutes three times a week is the recommended dosage of natural vitamin D. That's if you are lucky enough to live in an area that has sunshine 3 times a week!! After that, sunscreen is recommended. However, Vitamin D can be found in food too! Fatty fish and oysters are a great source of Vitamin D. It can be found in cod liver oil, salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Dairy products such as, egg yolks, cheese, butter and milk.
In a Nutshell
Get outside! Sunlight is the best way for our bodies to make and regulate Vitamin D. It’s up to us to get in the sun and or use a supplement as needed. For more information on Vitamin D, check out precisionnutrition.com - All about Vitamin D. If you suspect a health problem or deficiency in certain nutrients, see your doctor, they can help.