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The “ Hidden Power” of Vitamin D

In this post I’m going to talk about some of the benefits of Vitamin D, as this is an essential vitamin that many people are deficient in.  I’m also going to share a great website that will pretty much give you all of the information you need about this important vitamin.  As a result I won’t go into too much detail, as you can find a lot of great information simply by visiting this website.

But I will begin by saying that a big reason why most people are deficient in Vitamin D has to do with our avoidance of the sun.   While we can take a daily vitamin D supplement, our bodies produce Vitamin D naturally when exposed to the sun.The problem is that many people do everything they can to avoid the sun, fearing that too much exposure can lead to cancer.

This may be true, but keep in mind that I’m not recommending that you should spend hours per day in the sun.  However, many people do everything they can to avoid the sun. And if they plan on spending some time in the sun, many will put sunscreen on, which will prevent Vitamin D formation.  Keep in mind that Vitamin D is more than just a simple vitamin, as it gets converted to a steroid hormone, and it plays a big role in preventing many different types of conditions, including many types of cancer, autoimmune disorders, etc.

For example, if you visit the website www.vitamindcouncil.org, one of the things you will read is that “Vitamin D deficiency can cause 17 different types of cancers”.  This alone should be enough to make you want to do something about this and make sure you’re not deficient in Vitamin D.

But Vitamin D deficiency can do more than just cause cancer, as it can lead to other conditions, including autoimmune disorders, as it plays a big role in immunity.  So for someone with Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, making sure you are not Vitamin D deficient is extremely important.

Getting back to avoiding the sun and how this has led to Vitamin D deficiency, here is a brief summary from www.vitamindcouncil.org that briefly explains how this may have happened:

“Remember, our ancestors lived naked in the sun for several million years. Then 50,000 years ago, some of us migrated north and south to places with less sun. Then we put on clothes, started working inside and living in cities where buildings blocked the sun. Then we started traveling in cars instead of walking, or riding horses, and glass blocked even more of the UVB in the sunlight. Then, only a few years ago, we started actively avoiding the sun and putting on sunblock. All this time we humans have been steadily reducing the tissue levels of the most potent steroid hormone in our bodies, one with powerful anti-cancer properties.”

So how do you know if you are Vitamin D deficient?

The best method to determine whether or not you have a Vitamin D deficiency is to get a Vitamin D test.  The type you want to get is called a 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test.  The website I listed above (www.vitamindcouncil.org) offers a Vitamin D test kit that they will ship to your home.  Or if you prefer you can visit a website such as www.DirectLabs.com, order the test online, and then visit your local LabCorp.  Either way, this test will tell you whether or not you are deficient.

After reading this information, two questions might pop into your mind:

1. How much daily sun exposure should you get? Different healthcare professionals will have different opinions with regards to how much daily sun exposure you should receive.  Of course this will also depend on where you live, as some places are closer to the equator, have more sunny days, etc.  So there obviously won’t be an opportunity to get daily sun exposure every day.

But when the sun is shining, you should get at least ten to fifteen minutes of sun exposure (remember, without sunblock).  Other sources suggest that you should get at least 20 to 30 minutes of daily sun exposure.  A person’s complexion can also play a part in this, as someone who is dark skinned will need a greater amount of sun exposure than someone who is fair skinned.  Either way, the overall point is that everyone should be getting some minimal daily sun exposure to help prevent Vitamin D deficiency.

2. Should you take a Vitamin D supplement daily? For those who are Vitamin D deficient, it probably is a good idea to take a Vitamin D supplement on a daily basis, at least initially.  Supplementing with about 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 on a daily basis (make sure it’s of high quality) is recommended if you are deficient, along with daily sun exposure. As usual, I think it’s wise to consult with a competent healthcare professional, rather than just do this on your own.

But if you decide to do this on your own, I would supplement for about 3 months, get daily sun exposure, and then re-test to see what your levels are.  Someone who is not deficient in Vitamin D might not have to take a daily supplement, as they might be able to get all of the Vitamin D they need from the sun.  On the other hand, some might need to take a small amount of Vitamin D each day, along with getting regular sun exposure.

To summarize what I have posted, Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin/steroid hormone, and everyone should get a Vitamin D test to make sure they are not deficient.  For those that are deficient, daily Vitamin D3 supplementation is recommended, along with regular sun exposure.