Why You Need Vitamin D

In the last 20 years, there has been tremendous research in the field of Vitamin D. 
The findings are amazing, now we know that vitamin D affects almost every cell of every organ system in the body. New scientific research links Vitamin D deficiency to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, chronic fatigue, arthritis, lupus, M.S., asthma, thyroid diseases, dental problems and depression. Whew, kinda makes the case for keeping up your vitamin D. Unfortunately, this exciting new information hasn't reached the radar screen of some physicians, nor has it reached the curriculum of medical schools. Why? Because no drug company is behind it. It's not a drug, but it is a powerful hormone.

It's cheap and you can obtain it over the counter. Unfortunately, most of our medical research, medical guidelines for practicing physicians and medical knowledge in text books is dependent upon drug companies in one way or another. Sad but true. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that the body creates naturally from diet and sunshine. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is available from plants, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is created from exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from sunlight. The kidneys are responsible for turning these forms into calcitrol, the active form of the vitamin. You may know that vitamin D is important for you, but do you also know that you can get vitamin D from the sun? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb and use calcium. Calcium is a mineral that gives strength to your bones and teeth, and helps your nerves and muscles function properly. Vitamin D also helps your immune system function effectively, and reduces inflammation. It is recommended that children and adolescents, and adults get at least 600 IU (international units), of vitamin D each day.
Now believe it or not, like I said, you can get vitamin D from sunshine. The sun's rays cause a chemical change to happen in your skin. This helps change the form of vitamin D in your skin to a type of vitamin D that your body can use. When you are outside in the sun for about 10-15 minutes,daily you are able to get enough vitamin D. Depending on where you live though, the sun may not be strong enough to help your body make vitamin D during the winter months, so you must get it from food or supplements. The best food sources of vitamin D are fortified dairy products and juices. Fish rich in natural oils such as salmon, tuna, and eggs are also high in vitamin D. Although it's great to get vitamins and minerals from food, taking a vitamin supplements is another way to get the right amount, even if it isn't as bio-available as food, it's easier to ingest larger amounts in supplement form. If you do choose to take a supplement, check the bottle and make sure one tablet provides at least 600 IU. You can't get too much vitamin D from the sun or from eating foods that are high in vitamin D. However, taking too much of a vitamin D supplement can be harmful. Research has shown that the maximum amount of vitamin D you should supplement with is 4000 IU daily, and the minimum is 600 IU.

The major purpose of vitamin D is to control normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorous. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium, and therefore is essential for forming and maintaining healthy bones. Without vitamin D, bones can become brittle, soft and misshapen. A recent study from Denmark showed that vitamin D3 greatly increases immunity. When vitamin D deficiency is present, the body's T cells will lie dormant and not react to a harmful invader. The T cells rely on vitamin D to become active and fight an infection, so when you are deficient, your immune system is sluggish. "When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or antenna known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D," claims Dr. Carsten Geisler of Copenhagen University's department of international health, immunology and microbiology, who led the study. "This means the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won't even begin to mobilize." Current research also suggests that vitamin D is crucial for cellular health. It has been estimated that as much as 60-70% of Americans are vitamin D deficient, are you?

So there you have it, keep your immune system strong , with a combination of sun, diet, and supplementation to make sure you get you daily IU's of this "magic" vitamin D. Good Luck...

                         Have A Great Weekend !!

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