Aren’t you amazed at how the nutrients inside our body work?
They function hand in hand to bring out the best in us, especially at midlife! One thing that I found out about vitamin D is its uniqueness compared to other vitamins — IT IS ACTUALLY A HORMONE. Vitamin D is also a natural “team player”, working best with the company of other vitamins!
Are you intrigued enough? Let’s start digging into details!
Vitamin D as an Essential Vitamin and Hormone
Vitamin D is famously known as the “sunshine vitamin”. Do you directly get it from the sun? Nope! It’s your body that produces it. You just need enough sun exposure for vitamin D to be activated!
Vitamin D comes in 2 forms — vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). The difference between them is their chemical structure and the way they’re made.
Vitamin D2 is the form of vitamin D that can be taken mainly from plant-based sources. On the other hand, vitamin D3 is the type that our body produces when exposed to the sun! Vitamin D3 can also be derived from animal sources. When choosing a supplement, many studies find D3 more beneficial since it is better absorbed by your body!
Furthermore, vitamin D’s primary job is to help the body absorb calcium effectively. It also aids in the uptake of phosphorus. You see, these minerals are vital for building and maintaining strong bones! Getting an ample amount of these nutrients is critical for fighting conditions like osteoporosis, osteomalacia and rickets in children!
Another thing that makes vitamin D distinct from other vitamins, as mentioned, is its function as a hormone. That means your body produces it, and it gets activated with the help of sunlight! Once activated, vitamin D can positively affect your overall metabolism! It can support EVERYTHING － from weight management to bone health and better organ functioning! Sounds splendid, right?
It is reported that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. Generally, the most common vitamin D deficiencies are; getting sick more often, fatigue, depression, bone loss, hair loss and muscle pain.
The catch? IT IS PREVENTABLE! So, sit back and keep learning as you read further because we got more things to talk about! ?
Factors That Might Get in the Way of Vitamin D Absorption
Wise one, always remember this: It is never about the loads of amount you take.
In fact, you can take as much as you want and yet experience vitamin D deficiency! — and I’m not kidding! Among the possible factors that can affect vitamin D absorption, the health of our kidneys, liver and gut can hugely influence the absorption process.
The natural stomach juices, secretions from the pancreas, bile from the liver and the integrity of the intestinal walls… They all play a part in how vitamin D is absorbed in our body! Therefore, health conditions linked to gut, digestion and metabolism can reduce vitamin D absorption!
Furthermore, Dr. Berg elaborates about other possible factors that can slow down or interfere with vitamin D’s absorption process:
- Genetic issues
- Lack of vitamin A and vitamin K2
- Lack of minerals such as zinc, omega 3, magnesium and boron
- Low cholesterol and fats
- Inactive lifestyle
Watch his video below and learn how to deal with these factors to increase your vitamin D absorption! How to Increase Your Absorption of Vitamin D
Vitamin D Works Best as a Team Player
Apparently, there’s an ongoing belief about vitamins and minerals:
“The higher the amount or dosage you take, the better”. The truth is, it is never good to take something “too much”! And in the case of vitamin D, it thrives best with the natural support of its partners, vitamin A and vitamin K. Some studies show magnesium’s significance to make vitamin D more effective too!
“So, I can’t take vitamin D alone?”
Well, both vitamin A and vitamin D are needed to activate hormones involved in our gene expression. Consequently, it was found that without vitamin A, certain molecules in our body can stop vitamin D from functioning effectively. This whole process also shows how vitamin D helps prevent vitamin A toxicity, since vitamin A usage is maximized!
Quite adorable how inseparable they are, right?!
Now, what about vitamin K2? If you don’t get enough K2 from the food you eat, the unabsorbed calcium will be deposited in your soft tissues and arteries. That sounds like a heart problem. ?
Moreover, studies show that vitamin D can’t be metabolized without sufficient magnesium levels. In that case, vitamin D remains stored and inactive! For that reason, it is essential to ensure that you are also consuming the recommended amount of magnesium to achieve the optimal benefits of vitamin D!
To widen your understanding, watch this video from Root Cause Medical Clinic about what makes sunshine vitamin the ultimate team player! [Must Know Data on Vitamins D3 and K2]
Where to Get Vitamin D for Your Midlife Health
1. Food Sources
Here are the healthy food sources for vitamin D, according to the National Institutes of Health:
- Beef liver
Additionally, Chris Kresser suggests that you must get adequate amounts of vitamin K2 and vitamin A in your diet to support vitamin D absorption! He is a renowned expert in the field of Functional Medicine and recommends the following best sources for vitamin A:
- Organ meats
- Cod liver oil
Cod Liver Oil has gained its fame among health enthusiasts for over hundreds of years now. You can get it from eating fresh cod liver or by taking supplements. For a rich source of vitamin A, D and omega-3 fatty acids, cod liver oil better be on top of your list!
My go to Cod Liver oil is Rositas. Nothing synthetic, wild caught, unproccessed with 100% natural ingredients. Products I like!
The best sources of vitamin K2 include:
- Hard cheeses (Gouda and Edam among the highest in vitamin D)
- Egg yolks and butter from grass-fed cows
As mentioned, the place where you live can influence your vitamin D absorption. For those who live near the equator, people are walking in sunshine almost every single day! As a result, autoimmune diseases such as infections, osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases are rare in those areas!
Be outside as much as possible all year round!
My tip? Get some sun for 20-30 minutes when it is most effective. That is between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Remember, it is not enough to just sunbathe your face and hands — dress less as much as possible! Take advantage of that free dose of vitamin D! Not to mention how the sun makes you naturally release your “happy hormones” too. ?
For Nordics and other populations who barely get enough sun in their region, you can get an extra boost of your vitamin D needs by supplementing! The most ideal way to pick the right dose is to have your vitamin D levels checked first with your doctor.
Other Valuable Offers from Vitamin D
Did you know that studies show how vitamin D can effectively regulate insulin secretion and sensitivity? The same research supports as well that the sunshine vitamin can help balance your blood sugar!
This leads us to Dr. Axe’s video below about why vitamin D deficiency could be the culprit to your sugar cravings! Check it out! [Craving Sweets? This Vitamin Deficiency May Be to Blame]
Moreover, here’s another pretty exciting fact, especially for us women at this time of our lives: Studies prove that vitamin D is associated with better survival rates among breast cancer patients! Research showed that patients with high levels of vitamin D in their bodies were twice as likely to survive the disease than women with low levels.
Thoughts About Vitamin D Supplements
“Mega-dosing” is not a magic spell. This doesn’t only apply to vitamin D supplements but to ALL! Many experts agree that any supplement should only be a part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle — and not taken as a stand-alone solution. In fact, you could be putting yourself at risk of possible health conditions if you become too dependent on supplements.
Dr. Erin D. Michos, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, encouraged 3 powerful things:
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight － because obesity is associated with low vitamin D levels.
- Get some sun.
All you have to do is practice these 3 game-changers! Let them be the good soil where you can grow and flourish your midlife health. As soon as you do, you’ll start seeing any supplement as a “fertilizer” that will help you have a more thriving overall health!
Now, you see how all the vitamins and minerals inside our body could influence each other? We also have to bear in mind that less is bad, but too much can be just as harmful to our midlife health. Therefore, we must pay extra attention to what we put in our mouth — PLUS, the lifestyle we live! Take extra care of yourself as you walk your midlife journey. As for vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin wants us to be outside more often! So, make sure you do. It’s the universe’s way of reminding you to glow up! ?
Did you know that recent studies support that vitamin D can reduce ICU admissions for COVID-19? It was seen that vitamin D had a variety of actions on cells and tissues involved in COVID-19 progression! Calcifediol (vitamin D) also showed promising results in reducing the severity of the disease. You can check out the study here, published last October 2020! Another study from Boston University straightforwardly claimed that Vitamin D can help reduce coronavirus risk by 54%. See the findings with your naked eyes here!
Vitamin D overdose, which is commonly experienced from supplements, can cause the blood to take up too much calcium and lead to “hypercalcemia”. Vitamin D toxicity symptoms include nausea, poor appetite, thirst, constipation or diarrhea, muscle weakness or pain, confusion and calcification of the tissues. Excessive vitamin D can lead to poisoning too because it is a fat-soluble vitamin that accumulates.
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