There has been lots of discussion regarding Vitamin D for a number of years, and rightly so! Over half of the American population is deficient in Vitamin D! And on top of that Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, depression, muscle pain, bone loss, and autoimmune disease. So, what do you do? Unfortunately, little to no vitamin D is available through food sources AND as we age, our body becomes less efficient at producing Vitamin D from the sun. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to optimize Vitamin D levels with Vitamin D supplementation. This can be a hugely valuable tool for optimizing health and reducing your risk for chronic disease.
Actually, vitamin D is not a vitamin but a steroid hormone made in the skin from cholesterol. A small amount of Vitamin D can be obtained from food, but we are primarily reliant on our skin (and supplementation) to maintain normal/optimal levels. Vitamin D receptors (ie. the body’s ability to produce optimal levels of Vitamin D) declines with age. The average 70 year old person creates only 25% of the Vitamin D a 20 year old produces, thus making monitoring your levels and treating Vitamin D levels under 60 ng/ml extremely important.
Why is Vitamin D so important?
- Provides protection for your bones by preventing and treating osteoporosis/osteopenia. (without adequate levels of vitamin D, only 10%-15% of dietary calcium is absorbed through the intestines)
- Reduces risk of multiple cancers by reducing cellular growth (which promotes cancer) and improves cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state) (>35ng/ml associated with a 20% reduction of breast cancer risk; 82 ng/ml associated with a 50% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer)
- Improves depression and depressive-like symptoms
- Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome
Our goal, based off an extensive review of the literature, is to keep Vitamin D levels at 60ng.ml-90ng/ml throughout the year. Unless you are spending all your time at the beach or eating 30 ounces of salmon every day, supplementation is likely essential for you. It is important to have your levels monitored at least twice per year. Once you begin maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels, you will be very impressed with the results.