VITAMIN D -- THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN
One of 13 vitamins our bodies can make - Vitamin D is one of our most important vitamins for optimal health and functioning.
Uniquely, Vitamin D is the only vitamin that can be made by exposing the skin to sunlight.
Popularly thought of as being responsible for skeletal maintenance and bone health...recent evidence suggests it even plays a role in cellular processes that underly many illnesses like cancer, hypertension, and diabetes.
However, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is staggering -- over 50% of the world's population suffer from a clinically significant lack of vitamin D, despite its bioavailability in the sunshine.
The evidence is clear -- we need more Vitamin D in our lives.
Here comes the kicker: vitamin D exists in many forms, the most abundant in our diet being vitamin D3 and vitamin D2.
Today, we'll be digging into the mystery surrounding vitamin D and the best ways to compare versions D3 and D2.
Here's a brief overview of what we'll be talking about:
- What Vitamin D is …
- Why Vitamin D is good for you …
- How Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2 differ...
- How to increase your daily intake of Vitamin D…
Let’s look at what Vitamin D and what it actually does for your body…
WHAT IS VITAMIN D?
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin for a reason -- direct skin exposure to the sunlight can make abundant Vitamin D. You can ingest vitamin D-rich foods, as well.
It exists in two different types: D2 and D3
The Vitamin D receptor (VDR) is found throughout the human body -- in almost all of our tissues and cells.
This is why vitamin D’s fat solubility works well in the body -- it can be stored in fatty tissues for an extended period of time. It facilitates calcium absorption in the body and ensures dietary phosphorus is properly absorbed into our organs and bones.
The type of vitamin D we get from our diet and from the sun is biologically inactive and our bodies need to process it in a systematic way.
IF YOU EAT OR ABSORB VITAMIN D:
- The vitamin is distributed into Chylomicrons [small packs of fat found throughout the bloodstream].
- These packs are absorbed into the lymphatic system and then introduced into the blood.
- Vitamin D is processed [hydroxylated] in the liver, then in the kidneys, where it forms its biologically active variant -- vitamin D 1,25(OH)2D.
Vitamin D facilitates crucial bodily and cellular processes like...
- Stimulating Insulin Production
- Inhibiting Angiogenesis [the process by which blood vessels form, often implicated in cancerous tumor formation]
- Creating Immune Cells
WHY IS VITAMIN D GOOD FOR YOU?
Vitamin D regulates important biological functions across your body.
It is involved in stabilizing bones by regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption in the gut -- which also ensures your teeth remain healthy.
In fact, the importance of Vitamin D and its role in bone health was discovered in 1928 when doctors were examining children who had developed rickets. What they found was that a Vitamin D deficiency in children caused a softening and weakening of their bones
Beyond that, it is involved in most of your body’s systems including your immune system, cardiovascular system, and even your nervous system.
ADEQUATE VITAMIN D INTAKE HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH:
FIGHTING THE FLU - Flu season correlates with a seasonal drop in vitamin D. A randomized clinical trial concluded that supplementation with Vitamin D3 reduced the rate of flu during winter months.
FIGHTING HEART DISEASE - Vitamin D3 has been shown to protect the cardiovascular system by providing anti-inflammatory benefits and regulating the creation of new blood vessels.FIGHTING DEPRESSION - A Norwegian study based on the correlation of Vitamin D levels and depression showed that high dosages of Vitamin D has shown to mediate depressive symptoms in adults.
We can also see the benefits of vitamin D3 and D2 when we see the flipside. Specifically, the kind of harm a deficiency in vitamin D can cause on our everyday functioning.
VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY [VDD] - HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH MANY HEALTH ISSUES INCLUDING:
OBESITY - Low amounts of vitamin D in the blood are associated with an elevated risk of obesity in adults; there is a direct inverse relationship between concentrations of serum vitamin D and BMI.
HYPERTENSION - A national health survey found that low levels of vitamin D in the blood were inversely related to high blood pressure in over 12,644 American adults.
COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT - Vitamin D deficiencies in Italy were associated with cognitive decline in older adults -- followed over 6 years.
Let’s look at the differences that separate them...
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VITAMIN D3 AND VITAMIN D2
Also known as cholecalciferol.
Vitamin D3 differs from other forms of vitamin D by the fact that direct contact with sunlight produces it.
The interaction with ultraviolet B radiation from the sun catalyzes the synthesis of vitamin D3 in the skin. It is also found in abundance in animal products such as oily seafood, egg yolks, butter, and dairy.
Known chemically as ergocalciferol -- vitamin D2 is derived from plants.
Our skin produces vitamin D3 -- the skin of fungi and plants produce vitamin D2.
Humans do not naturally produce vitamin D2 -- making vitamin D3 the more bioavailable and natural type.
WHY D3 IS THE BETTER CHOICE...
IMPROVES EXERCISE PERFORMANCE
In a study on Vitamin D3 and exercise performance, participants were given 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day for two weeks.
The study concluded that supplementing with vitamin D3 decreased cortisol levels and lowered blood pressure.
By decreasing cortisol [which inhibits stress, restricts arteries, and narrows blood vessels] vitamin D3 improved exercise performance by 30% in participants.
RAISES VITAMIN D LEVELS IN BLOOD
Physicians will measure the amount of vitamin D in your blood by running a test for its specific bioactive form derived from both types.
LASTS LONGER IN THE BLOODSTREAM
While you can theoretically supplement with D2 or D3...
Vitamin D3 lasts substantially longer in the body according to a recent clinical research study published in Nature.
LONGER SHELF LIFE
Medical scientists caution that while pharmaceutical-grade formulations of vitamin D commonly use D2 -- they may be of lower quality than those made with vitamin D3.
While it may be tempting and easier to treat both vitamin D3 and D2 as the same thing, it is clear that vitamin D3 confers greater benefits by way of its superior efficacy, metabolism, and shelf life.
HOW DO I GET MORE VITAMIN D?
If you come away from this article with just one piece of knowledge, know that vitamin D deficiency is correctable through small adjustments that maximize your intake of D3. The natural route of sun exposure is a good option, but for many of us who suffer from sunlight sensitivity, baking outside for too long every day may not be the best.
That is why ATH Organics is releasing our Vitamin D3, coconut oil, and Bioperine (black pepper):
- VITAMIN D3: While many over-the-counter supplements only have 1000 IU (international units) of D3, ATH Organics’ vitamin D3 capsules contain 5000 IU.
- COCONUT OIL: Included to improve the absorption of vitamin D3 in your stomach; the two major fatty acids present in coconut oil (lauric acid and myristic acid) have been shown to improve the absorption of different compounds in the gut.
- BIOPERINE: A concentrated extract of black pepper and long pepper, further improves the absorption of vitamin D3.
Increasing your daily intake of vitamin D3 can be as easy as taking a capsule daily, in combination with lifestyle adjustments like eating more D3-rich foods.
COMMON QUESTIONS + ANSWERS
Q: CAN VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN?
A: The link between obesity and vitamin D deficiency is well-documented, but surprisingly, this relationship is conserved across age, gender, and geographical location.
While it is currently unknown exactly how this deficiency leads to weight gain, scientists suggest that lacking vitamin D can cause hormonal changes that promote excessive fat storage.
Q: HOW MUCH VITAMIN D3 SHOULD I TAKE?
A: Toxicity from vitamin D is very rare, and only in individuals who take upwards of 50,000 - 1 million units a day for an extended period of time even approach the danger zone. Subjects who took 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 IU of vitamin D daily showed a systematic increase in vitamin D presence in blood with no adverse effects. This means that vitamin D’s effects are dose-dependent, and greater doses confer larger concentrations in the blood.
If you’re concerned about finding your optimal dose -- or you fear that you suffer from a vitamin deficiency -- your physician can order a full blood panel that will detect vitamin D in your body, and determine the best dosage for your lifestyle, weight, age, and health history.
Q: DOES VITAMIN D3 GIVE YOU ENERGY?
A: In a landmark clinical trial conducted by the University of Zurich, Vitamin D3 supplementation in healthy adults significantly improved scores on a self-report questionnaire assessing fatigue in comparison to adults who received a placebo. This suggests that vitamin deficient adults can benefit from D3 supplementation to improve energy levels.
Q: WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TAKE VITAMIN D? SHOULD I TAKE VITAMIN D IN THE MORNING OR AT NIGHT?
A: Since vitamin D3 has a remarkable impact on improving fatigue, you should avoid taking it late in the day as it could disrupt your sleep cycle by way of reducing melatonin production, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. This effect is still not well understood, however. The most important part of supplementing is to be consistent and doing what works best with your schedule.
The sunshine vitamin has a stellar reputation that is well-earned. Vitamin D is a critical part of achieving and maintaining optimal health across your life, and using the highest quality supplementation available is part of it. ATH Organics delivers quality supplements that improve wellness for all levels of fitness; with vitamin D being so important, we believe everyone deserves the opportunity to get enough and use it to its fullest potential.