Vitamin D3 – The Sunshine Vitamin

We have been blessed with an Indian Summer here in Ireland this year. Last Friday, on the 28th of October we drove south to Wexford where the temperature ranged from 15 to 18 degrees throughout the day. Unbelievable at this time of year!

Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin at it is stored in the body and replenished by sunlight. However, sunblock can interferes with the amount of vitamin D that we are taking in. Also, here in the northern hemisphere, we are not always guaranteed sunshine and therefore if we are not supplementing Vitamin D optimally, we are often deficient.

Some important facts about Vitamin D:

  • It is produced in the body by the action of the sunlight on the skin and therefore many scientists refer to Vitamin D as a hormone.
  • Every cell in the body had a receptor for Vitamin D that then sends messages to our genes. This is how vitamin D controls so many different functions from reducing inflammation,  protecting against cancer, easing muscle pain, boosting mood and supporting bone health.
  • Vitamin D3 improves metabolism by influencing the genes can prevent and treat diabetes.
  • Deficiency of vitamin D has been linked to colon, breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
  • Research has shown a link to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes from vitamin D deficiency.
  • Food sources of Vitamin D include: kippers, wild fish like mackerel, herring, cod liver oil, canned sardines, raw milk and eggs however you would have to eating a huge amount of these foods to reach optimal levels through food alone.
  • The most common types of vitamin D are vitamin D2 and D3. However vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the active form that you want to supplement with.
  • Vitamin D plays a key role in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorous and is therefore essential for bone health
  • It is also essential for the absorption of minerals such as calcium, phosporous, magnesium, zinc, iron and more.
  • Vitamin D along with exercise, nutrition and hormone support is an important contributor to muscle mass, strength and quality of life in post menopausal women.

Signs of Vitamin D deficiency include osteoporosis, tooth decay, premature aging, muscular weakness and spasm, bone pain and osteomalacia (softening of the bones). However, it is not a case of more is better as it is fat soluble as are vitamins A and E. In other words, if you take too much Vitamin D it is stored in the liver and can lead to toxicity issues. Therefore it is essential to get your doctor to test your Vitamin D levels and supplement accordingly. Have them retested again in 3-6 months time and your doctor will adjust the dose accordingly if necessary.