How important is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that has properties of BOTH a vitamin and a hormone.
Vitamin D is more important than many people realise. Not only is it required for utilisation and absorption of calcium and phosphorus, but it is also necessary for growth and development of bones and teeth in children. It protects against muscle weakness and is involved in regulation of heartbeat.
Vitamin D is also important in the prevention and assistance in the treatment of many autoimmune disease. Some of these include breast and colon cancer, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, hypoglycaemia, thyroid disorders, abnormal blood clotting, prostate cancer, diabetes as well as depression, schizophrenia, obesity, etc.
Chronic vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia because the symptoms are similar – muscle weakness and aches and pains. Vitamin D requires activation by the kidneys and liver to be utilised in the body. People with liver or kidney disease will be at more of a risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
A recent study has showed that at least 1 in 5 people in Australia are Vitamin D deficient. This may be because we are taught to cover up, use sun protection and block UV rays with sun cream. It is interesting to note that a person with skin cancer will have a faster progression of the disease if they are Vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D can be tested through a blood test. It does not form part of the Full Blood Count so it is important to talk to your doctor about it. I have been surprised with the number of people with vitamin deficiency and even people who do have some exposure to sunlight. Research is indicating that the range level in Australia is way too low, so even if you are within the range, be sure to check whether you are on the lower side.
Exposing the face and arms to the sun 15 mintues three times a week is an effective way to ensure adequate amounts of Vitamin D in the body. However, the healing rays of natural sunlight that generate Vitamin D in your skin cannot penetrate glass, so you do not generate Vitamin D when sitting in your car or home. If you are deficient then a supplement would be recommended.
There are several forms of Vitamin D, but D3 is considered the natural form of Vitamin D and is the most active. Ideally, it would be best to have a product in a base of hypoallergenic rice bran oil. Beware of sodium benzoate preservative in liquid vitamin D.
Fish liver oils, fatty saltwater fish, dairy products and egg all contain Vitamin D. It is also found in butter, cod liver oil, dandelion, greens, liver, oatmeal, salmon, sweet potatoes, tuna etc. Household people and fair skin people are at higher risk and parents, please sure your children are getting plenty of sunlight and fresh air, especially with the advancements in children’s technology.
It is also important to note that Vitamin D is antiviral and immune enhancing so it is an important supplement to take to prevent the common cold and flu. Recent research is also indicating that it is effective in treating colds and flus.
DISCLAIMER: This is not to replace medical advice. Please speak to your Medical Practitioner if you have any concerns. Please contact your Naturopath if you would like to do a supervised detox.