5 REASONS YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR VITAMIN D LEVEL
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, can be produced in the body with mild sun exposure or consumed in food or supplements.
You need to know your vitamin D level the lab value range is 30 to 80; this number is just as important as your cholesterol. You do not want your level to be at the low end of normal.
Vitamin D is known more to the body as a hormone rather than a vitamin. This is because the body is capable of producing its own vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin, while vitamins are nutrients that cannot be synthesized by the body and must be acquired through the diet or supplements.
Adequate vitamin D intake is important for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption, maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, and is suggested to supply a protective effect against multiple diseases and conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body, helping to:
- Maintain the health of bones and teeth
- Support the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system
- Regulate insulin levels and aid in diabetes management
- Support lung function and cardiovascular health
- Influence the expression of genes involved in cancer development.
Vitamin D is important for our immune system (flu prevention), healthy bones, influences on mood and PMS, also reduces risk of diabetes and cancer prevention.
Vitamin D is extremely important for regulating cell growth and for cell-to-cell communication. Some studies have suggested that calcitriol (the hormonally active form of vitamin D) can reduce cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, increasing cancer cell death and by reducing cell proliferation and metastases. Vitamin D has an influence on more than 200 human genes, which can be impaired when D status is below optimal.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma severity and the swine flu. Many studies are still in process to prove these associations.
Most people in the northern states need to be on Vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D supplements are best absorbed when combined with a fatty acid, and a Vitamin K, in addition magnesium is needed to convert the Vitamin D into its active form.
Consuming the nutrient from a whole food is always best.
The foods highest in Vitamin D are:
- Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon: 1,360 IU
- Herring, fresh, raw, 4 ounces: 1,056 IU
- Swordfish, cooked, 4 ounces: 941 IU
- Raw maitake mushrooms, 1 cup: 786 IU
- Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 4 ounces: 596 IU
- Sardines, canned, 4 ounces: 336 IU
- Fortified skim milk, 1 cup: 120 IU
- Tuna, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces: 68 IU
- Egg, chicken, whole large: 44 IU
Remember to get 20 min of sunlight prior to applying SPF sunscreen and remember to always use a clean chemical free sunscreen approved by the EWG.
I personally use Sun Bum SPF 15 and at your next doctor visit request your Vitamin D level and know your number – aim for 70!
Cindy Crandell R.N., C.N.
Forum Health Clarkston