Have you had your Vitamin D level checked? If not, you should!
Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin at all. It is a hormone, similar to estrogen and testosterone, and it has numerous functions all over the body! Many doctors check Vitamin D levels in elderly patients or those with risk for osteoporosis (thin bones), but in reality Vitamin D levels should be checked in everyone at least once a year! Did you know that over 70% of the United States population is deficient in this all important hormone? Even in people who enjoy a lot of sun exposure or live in sunny climates year round! People with darker skin types are even more susceptible to Vitamin D deficiencies.
Why is this? Because the conditions to support the production of Vitamin D in your skin, rarely exist anymore! Everyone wears sunscreen to protect from cancer, and you can’t make Vitamin D when the sun is being blocked from your skin! You also can’t make vitamin D if you have clean skin! That’s right, you have to sweat to be able to make Vitamin D! In addition, many people don’t get adequate Vitamin D from their diet because of digestive troubles such as heartburn, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and even gallstones or gallbladder removal! You see, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Meaning, you have to be able to absorb fats from a healthy digestive tract, to absorb the vitamin D!
There are many reasons why people can become deficient in Vitamin D and it’s seen commonly in clinical practice. The trick is just to have it tested so you know where you stand!
In clinical research, Vitamin D has been shown to provide the following benefits:
- Reduces inflammation in the brain and the body.
- Lowers blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity in the cells (lowers risk of diabetes and improves blood sugars in diabetics who are already on medication).
- Improves mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, particularly in seasonal affective disorder.
- Supports thyroid function.
- Assists with weight loss.
- Supports the immune system to fight off viral infections like the cold and flu.
- Protects against cancers such as breast, prostate, and colon cancer.
- Protects you against sunburns!
- Helps strengthen bones and prevents osteoporosis.
- Decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes).
So how do I know if my Vitamin D level is low?
Ask your doctor to order a simple blood test. Or go online to Requestatest.com and order a Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy level. The normal range given for this test is 30-100 ng/mL, but in order to achieve the health benefits listed above, most experts will tell you to aim for levels of 60-80 ng/mL. You can achieve this by taking a daily dose of Vitamin D3 between 2000-5000 IU. If you are extremely deficient in Vitamin D (levels less than 30 ng/mL) you should see a health professional for prescription strength vitamin D (usually 10,000IU daily or 50,000 IU weekly) and monitoring of your levels more frequently. There is a risk of developing Vitamin D overload, which can cause high calcium levels in the blood, and this can lead to more medical problems. Bottom line: you should have your vitamin D levels monitored if you are taking high doses!
Where do I purchase Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3 is sold in grocery and drug stores across America. Unfortunately, supplements are not FDA regulated or tested, so you may not always be getting what you pay for. VitaNovu works with pharmaceutical grade supplement manufacturers who do test their products and guarantee quality and potency. If you have any digestive issues at all, Dr. Barry recommends you take a liquid Vitamin D3 so that most can be absorbed in your mouth and stomach. You can find liquid Vitamin D3 from supplement companies like Pure Encapsulations, Thorne Research, and Orthomolecular. These companies also make capsule forms if you prefer. You can see our Supplement page for more info about these companies or you can purchase their products and other quality supplements using our Fullscript dispensary with a 20% discount! Be sure that you are buying Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and NOT Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D3 is the active form of Vitamin D in your body and has the most benefits for health. Vitamin D2 has to be converted in your body which requires extra work and good genetics, so it’s best to take the active form, which is cholecalciferol (D3).
So what are you waiting for?! Get your Vitamin D levels checked today and start supplementing your way to optimal health and longevity!
~ Jenifer L. Barry, MD