Sunshine helps us produce vitamin D.
Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay – Sunshine helps us produce vitamin D.

Vitamin D is produced in the body from exposure to the sun, food, and supplements. Vitamin D has two forms – vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D has to undergo chemical reactions in the body before it becomes activates at calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxycholecal-ciferol). Calcitriol is particularly essential in the preservation of several organ systems.

Calcitriol primarily oversees the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from our food and enables bone development. We cannot digest calcium without adequate amounts of vitamin D3. That is why vitamin D3 is highly recommended when taking calcium supplements. Calcitriol works with preserving normal functions in the thyroid, neuromuscular system, immune system and assists in reducing inflammation.

For many reasons, our population is vitamin D3 deficient – nearly at epidemic proportions. Vitamin D3 deficiency can result or attribute to obesity, diabetes, depression, chronic fatigue, kidney stones, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and may also lead to cancer, particularly breast, prostate and colon cancers.

Vitamin D3 deficiency comes from reduced exposure to the sun (especially during the winter), low dietary intake, liver and kidney diseases, malabsorption in our systems and certain medicines can block vitamin D3 absorption.

Vitamin D3 is considered by many scientists to be vital in strengthening the immune system, particularly by reducing the risk of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The best source of vitamin D3is sun exposure. Twenty minutes exposed to sunshine daily is recommended to maintain optimum levels of calcitriol in your body.

Expose forty percent of your body to the sun, but do not allow yourself to get sunburned. People burn at different rates and it is important not to increase the risk of skin cancer from overexposure to the sun. Tanning beds do not provide the right wavelength of the sun for vitamin D3 production.

Foods high in vitamin D3 include salmon, mackerel, sardine, egg yolks and beef liver. Vitamin D3 supplementation is best. The Food and Drug Administration has recommended 400 IUs per day for dietary intake. Twenty minutes of exposure to the sun will produce 5,000 to 15,000 IUs in the body. The definitive amount to take should be based on the results of a vitamin D3 test called 25-OH vitamin D test, sometimes called the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test.

If you are deficient in vitamin D3 you should increase your daily intake and test again in three months. A test value less than 50 nanograms/milliliter is considered deficient. I take 5000 IUs in the summer and 15000 IUs a day in the winter time. For me, it yields an optimal value in the range of 65-80 nm/ml.

MS patients have been put on a regimen of 50,000 IUs a day and have seen remarkable improvement. Start slowly with 1000 IUs a day and retest periodically to determine if you have reached an optimal range. Recent studies indicate that 10,000 IUs a day is a safe upper limit.

Vitamin D3 deficiency is a major problem that most of us do not even know about. A lot of us avoid the direct sunlight to reduce the risk of skin cancer. We apply liberal amounts of sunblock to affect the same result. Sunblock is incorporated in many cosmetics. We tend not to eat foods rich in vitamin D3. The result is a severe deficiency in vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 supplementation is very inexpensive. Testing is also inexpensive.

As always, choices have consequences. When in doubt, consult your physician, especially if you are already on a pharmaceutical regimen.

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