Summer time known for happy days, and bronze tans are a common pleasure of summer. Before we hit the beach, we make sure we have an amour of suntan lotions, protecting us from the harmful rays, but are we also blocking out a vital vitamin that protects are bones?
What is Vitamin D? Vitamin D, calciferol, is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is found in food, but also can be made in your body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. Vitamin D exists in several forms, each with a different activity. The liver and kidney help convert vitamin D to its active hormone form. The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. It promotes bone mineralization in concert with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones. Without vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, soft, or misshapen. Vitamin D prevents rickets in children and for adults weaken bones. There is a growing awareness that the prevalence of low levels of vitamin D. Recent findings showing the importance of vitamin D and how low levels are more common then ever.
So what exactly can vitamin D do for you? And why would you want to supplement with it, if your protecting your self from those harmful rays?
Although best-known for supporting bone health, Vitamin D3 is thought to have a number of additional roles in your body. A recent document on vitamin D attributes these roles . . .
- Helps regulate levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
- Promotes bone formation and mineralization.
- Essential in the development of a strong skeletal system.
- Regulates cellular integrity.
- Promotes healthy immune function.
- Plays a role in healthy blood sugar levels.
- Helps improve mood.
- Helps promote a healthy heart.
- Helps regulate proper weight.
- Helps maintain a healthy reproductive system.
- Helps promote healthy tissue.
- Helps contribute to a sense of well-being.
There is indication that certain groups of people have greater needs for vitamin D than others, according to age groups. Vitamin D requirements increase as we age. Obese individuals appear to have lower levels of vitamin D too, possibly due to reduced bioavailability. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with insulin deficiency and insulin resistance. In fact, last year it was shown that vitamin D deficiency is likely to be a major factor for the development of type one diabetes in children. Fortified foods are the major dietary sources of vitamin D. Prior to the fortification of milk products in the 1930s, rickets (a bone disease seen in children) was a major public health problem in the United States. Milk in the United States is fortified with 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D per quart, and rickets is now uncommon in the US. Supplementation through diet is challenging because few foods contain vitamin D, especially the vitamin D3 form of vitamin D which is most similar to sunshine. This vitamin D3 form is found only in animal sources.
Obviously, I recommend you continue to put on your sunscreen and before you start supplementing yourself with vitamin D, to check with your Doctor to check your vitamin D levels.
If you do need to supplement your levels of vitamin D, a fine source would be Cod liver oil, an old fashion remedy that now even comes in different flavors or perhaps you can take the pill form, be sure it’s Mercury free, be wise and ask a professional which is best.