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Vitamin D: Get Your Sunshine!

The D does not stand for deficiency! Get your vitamin D and be strong, be healthy, be happy.

Vitamin D is often referred to as the Sunshine Vitamin. Yet even though sunshine is a pretty common daily occurrence, many people are deficient in this vitamin. Medical researcher, Dr. Michael F. Holick Ph.D., MD. recently stated, “We estimate that vitamin D deficiency is the most common medical condition in the world.” Some experts have concluded that more than one-third and even up to half of the world’s population is D deficient. What does that mean? Is it really that big of a deal? What are the signs of a person with a vitamin D inadequacy? Though there can be a number of other reasons for some of the following conditions, any that are from unexplained causes may signal the need more vitamin D:

Sadness or Depression

A supplementation of Vitamin D should be tried before resorting to Prozac or Zoloft. It is particularly helpful with Seasonal Affective Disorder and the dreaded Winter Blues when sunny days are rare.

Cardiovascular Issues, such as High Blood Pressure

Some studies have found that Vitamin D can often improve hypertension better than many prescription pharmaceuticals.

Chronic Muscle Pain and Weakness

Vitamin D has relieved many people's muscle pain better than anti-inflammatory and pain medications; even proving effective for some cases of fibromyalgia.

Brittle Bones, and Stress Fractures

Adequate levels of vitamin D is more effective for osteopenia and osteoporosis than many pharmaceuticals.

Daytime Sleepiness, and Lethargy

Recently I was napping on a lounge in our backyard when my wife called me lazy. I told her I was actually just getting the Vitamin D I needed in order to clean out the garage. The truth is that vitamin D increases energy levels.

Grouchiness and Irritability

I’m not saying it will change a lifelong grumpy personality, but it's well worth a try. Your family and friends may thank you.

Diminished Physical Endurance and Aerobic Capacity

Some studies found that supplementation with vitamin D increased oxygenation, protecting lung function by 49%, and improving some forms of asthma by up to 70%.

Weakened Immune System

Supplementation with vitamin D was found to be as, or more, effective than vaccines for some conditions, including the flu.

Brain Fog and Fuzzy Thinking

Not just that which we suffer when we're fatigued or the occasional senior moment, it actually improves cognition and even has been shown to slow dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

There are studies that have shown that maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D decreases the risk of mortality from almost all sources and actually contributes to a longer life. Dr. David Servan-Schreiber MD, Ph.D. agreed when he said, “Vitamin D is possibly the single most important thing you can do to improve your health and save yourself from many chronic diseases, including cancer.”

It's called the Sunshine Vitamin for a reason. Your skin takes the UVB rays of the sun and synthesizes them into the most usable form of Vitamin D called Cholecalciferol (D3) which the body then converts into Calcitriol. This form of Vitamin D can be stored and is important to muscle, nerve, and immune system functions, as well as operating as a hormone promoting calcium absorption. As little as 15–30 minutes of sunlight exposure per day on head and arms will do the trick for most people, actually supplying 80–90% of the body's needs. The darker the skin tone, the more exposure that is necessary. Sunblock, window glass, the angle of the sun, and atmospheric conditions can block these important rays. The trendy sun-phobia that exists now is the reason many are deficient in this important nutrient.

There aren't many foods, especially plant-based, that are rich sources of Vitamin D. Foods that are natural sources of vitamin D are fatty fish oils, eggs, orange juice, some specific mushrooms, fortified dairy, almond and soy milks. For the vegetarian/vegan population supplementation is usually recommended. The vitamin D3 form has been shown to be much more bio-available than D2.

In short, Vitamin D does a body good. Many sources recommended daily intake for adults of 800 IU. However, an increasing number of experts recommend 1,000–3,000 IU. After all, you don't want your doctor to report to you that your blood test shows that your salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, and grated cheese levels are fine, but your Vitamin D is low.

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