This article is about what does Vitamin D do for the body, but before we get in to that, let me explain a little bit about Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, it is something we get through sunlight rather than from food. Actually, some foods do contain Vitamin D but it is nowhere near enough to replace what we get from the sun. The recommended daily allowance is about 600 IU, whereas we can produce more than 10.000IU in about 30 minutes of full sun exposure, which is over 15 times more than the government recommends for us to take.
Scientists have started to realize this, and have recently recognized that the benefits of Vitamin D are not just implicated in bone diseases like rickets, but in a host of other serious disorders and illnesses.
What does Vitamin D do for the body?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, and functions as a steroid hormone. What steroid hormones do is go in to the nucleus of cells, and alter gene expression, that is turning genes on or off, or simply giving them a nudge in either direction (more info on Vitamin D Function here). Other steroid hormones include testosterone, aldosterone and many more. Being deficient in a hormone is pretty serious, and Vitamin D is no exception.
What this implies, is that people who don’t get enough sun year round are probably deficient in a major hormone in their bodies. A hormone, whose lack of has been implicated in some serious illnesses.
What does Vitamin D do for diseases?
- Reduce chances of heart disease
- Dramatically reduce chances of cancer
- Extremely helpful against osteoporosis
- Very good for the immune system
- Helps fight depression
- Reduces acne
- Helps reduce chances of getting Alzheimers
- May also help with weight loss
- Help prevent pathological muscle weakness
- Combat type II diabetes and the metabolic syndrome
The list goes on and on and on… I’m not gonna go dig up all the promising studies on Vitamin D since that would take many days, but if you need proof then take a look at the Vitamin D Council Research section.
I recommend that anyone who lives in the northern atmosphere, or doesn’t get a lot of sun throughout the year, get tested by a doctor as soon as possible. The symptoms deficiency can be very subtle, and you may not ever realize you had a Vitamin D deficiency until it is too late.
Out of the causes of deficiency, lack of sunlight is the biggest factor, but other things such as eating a low-fat diet or making poor use of the little Vitamin D that the body has can matter as well. Getting enough Magnesium and minimizing gluten grains will help with Vitamin D absorption. However, for a lot of people, it may be necessary to take a supplement in order to properly correct a deficiency.
It should be aimed to have a blood level of about 50-80 ng/ml, and someone who has less than 30 ng/ml is most surely deficient and should take action as soon as possible. I recommend taking Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), oil filled gel caps, up to 5000 IU every day and possibly even higher, but it would be necessary to have a blood test done regularly in order to adjust the dosage properly.
There really is no need to worry about Vitamin D Toxicity unless you take insane amounts, but a Vitamin D overdose has been reported after several months of taking 50.000IU per day.