Vitamin D: Why it is an Essential Nutrient
Vitamin D, a misnomer, is an essential fat-soluble nutrient classified as a hormone. It is a key player in gut health, the immune system, and the growth and maintenance of bones. Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium more efficiently, and it helps to produce important hormones.
Vitamin D is a hot topic for a reason, and the best ways to get it have been long debated. The sun comes out on top as the most effective means because it aids in other bodily processes as well. Other vitamin D sources include sun lamps, supplementation, and food. Before starting any of these courses, consult with your healthcare provider.
Adequate levels of vitamin D can act as a preventative agent for developing certain diseases. Yet, many people have low levels of vitamin D which is negatively affecting their health.
The Importance of Adequate Levels
Having enough vitamin D is essential to your overall health. Adequate levels have been shown to impact these key areas:
It lowers the risk for developing type I and II diabetes.
It increases lung capacity in people with asthma and lessens the severity of asthma attacks.
It enhances estrogen’s protective quality on bones.
There is a higher success rate with in vitro fertilization (IVF).
It protects good bacteria in the gut.
It reduces chronic inflammatory responses.
It increases sperm motility, as well as total, free, and bioactive testosterone levels.
It lengthens telomeres which helps us to look younger.
So, how are we able to get enough vitamin D to help us achieve these amazing benefits?
How to Optimize Your Exposure
The most effective way to get vitamin D is to get outside. On average, it only takes 10 to 15 minutes in the midday sun (11am - 3pm) to get adequate exposure. Sunscreen with an SPF greater than 15 will block the production of vitamin D in the skin. So, it is best to forgo the sunscreen in this instance. Make sure your upper body sees the sun as there are more vitamin D receptors here. Do not worry about vitamin D toxicity from the sun because the skin is able to convert it to a non-toxic form.
The vitamin D from the sun supports other processes in the body such as sulfation. This process helps to protect the gut wall, as well as it prevents the blood from becoming too thick.
Keep in mind that the amount of time in the sun will depend on your skin tone, the time of year, and your location. In order to better understand the amount of vitamin D you are getting from each sun exposure, download the free app, D Minder.
Your body is able to store vitamin D, so it can carry you through some of the winter months if adequate levels were reached during summer.
Sun lamps have gained popularity in recent years as it is a great option for those long winter months. Your body is unable to synthesize vitamin D from the sun during this time. In some places, the need for alternative sources can go from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
The Sperti Vitamin D Lamp is a great sun alternative. It is backed by the FDA and is a safe way to ensure adequate levels of Vitamin D during the winter months.
If the sun or sun lamp isn’t available, then supplementation is an option for replacing low levels of vitamin D.