The subject of vitamin D is fast becoming a question on everyone’s mind in terms of really understanding its importance for our wellbeing. Here are my findings and links below from trusted sources to give us a view on how we may make informed decisions on what we really need and what steps we may take to ensure we are getting enough in our diet. Data research on the study of vitamin D show that almost every tissue and cell type in the body has receptors for vitamin D. As a result of this discovery, much higher doses are required for optimal functioning. This discovery has radically changed how we understand the role of vitamin D in the body.
Unless your body is at optimal levels, you can be prone to a whole host of disorders, ranging from heart disease and Alzheimer's to weak bones and diabetes.
In fact, even if you have normal blood sugar today, a vitamin D deficiency makes you 91% more likely to progress to insulin resistance, or “pre-diabetes,” and it more than doubles your risk for progressing to active, type II diabetes.
An Globally an estimated 1 billion people do not have adequate vitamin D levels. Therefore we don’t have enough vitamin D to keep all of our tissues operating at their highest capacity.
The results of this deficiency are catastrophic. Studies have now shown that vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk of a long list of diseases that can affect all systems in the body. In fact, low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of general problems with memory, reasoning, and even behaviour.
You will realise from reading this blog that assessing vitamin D status is one of the most important health-protecting steps you can take. Fortunately, achieving optimal levels of vitamin D is easy, inexpensive, and highly protective against a range of lethal diseases.
Why is Vitamin D is so Vital?
While we can make some vitamin D in our bodies, most of us require additional amounts from our diet and the sun.
Once vitamin D has been ingested in the diet or produced in the skin, the liver and kidneys convert it to its active form, called dihydroxy vitamin D, or vitamin D.
Virtually every tissue type in your body has receptors for vitamin D, meaning that they all require vitamin D for adequate functioning. The very presence of specific receptors define vitamin D as a hormone, rather than a vitamin. It interacts with receptors throughout the body and has a number of different effects.
Vitamin D is important for a wide range of functions. For example, it helps to regulate the amount of Calcium as well as Phosphate in the body, these nutrients are important in keeping the bones and teeth healthy. Chronically low levels of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children as well as bone pain and tenderness as a result of a condition known as Osteomalacia in adults. Deficiency in vitamin D has been shown to be connected to the effects of Obesity, diabetes, some forms of cancer, osteoporosis, possibly MS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases like crone’s disease and ulcerative colitis, heart disease and increased incidence of heart attacks and strokes as well as a Variety of other chronic degenerative diseases.
Vitamin D being such a important Nutrient for such a wide array of health conditions, or more accurately so important in staying healthy vital and balanced. I feel its about time I tackle this subject as I am always finding ways of adding vitamin D in my family’s diet, especially as my son detests mushrooms, a great source of vitamin D I will touch on later. My mission with this post is to help bring complete ease to the whole thought of Vitamin D, to make it so simple to get enough, no matter where you are that its truly a non-issue.
As with anything I would recommend doing your own research, to gain peace of mind from your own facts and findings.
According to mainstream medical standards, there are three levels of vitamin D status: sufficient, insufficient, and deficient. It is important to know and correct this.
Those considered “insufficient” (meaning their bodies aren't at optimal vitamin D capacity) have levels between 21 and 29 ng/mL.
And those who are “deficient” are defined as having levels at or below 20 ng/mL.8
When we find ourselves deficient It’s hardly any wonder we are plagued with so many chronic diseases.
Most sufficient sources of vitamin D ‘The Sun!’
The sun is the safest most effective, Natural and age old supply of Vitamin D. We can produce all that we need with zero chance of overdosing by getting adequate sun exposure. Vitamin D is produced by our skins interaction with UVB light when it interfaces with a form of Cholesterol in our skin called 7-dehydrocholesterol. A series of Complex steps proceed that we do not need to go into it here.
One important thing I have researched is that the actual first step of the production of Vitamin D occurs on the skins surface and takes hours to develop and absorb. I have heard as long as 24 hours after exposure for full absorption. What this means is that directly after sun exposure it is to your benefit to refrain from hot showers or using soap all over your body. If you feel dirty and sweaty and wish to rinse off with cool water and soap your body that would be better for Vitamin D absorption in my opinion than a hot shower and full body soaping. Another important note to consider is that most Sunscreens, despite being toxic and cancer causing, hormone mimicking substances it also blocks up to 95% of Vitamin D production, even at as little as 8 SPF. A much better alternative in my opinion, from what I have learned is using raw organic coconut oil, being a 4 SPF its mild but can help a bit as a pre-sun exposure or after-care for light burns.
Generally speaking, get exposed to the sun, as much skin as you can but be careful not to burn (face and exposed arms at the least). It’s no coincidence that when you’re eating a diet high in antioxidants, a diet made of mostly of or entirely of fresh raw ripe whole fruits and vegetables, your ability to take sun, heal from burn and/or retain a tan is heightened.
I love being in the sun, but judging on others wanting to be in the sun comfortably for a decent amount of time, not less) are in the morning hours before 10-11 am and after mid-day, or when the sun is the highest. If you can barely see your shadow you run the risk of burning much faster, generally if your shadow is as tall as you or taller this is the best time to take sun, that is if you wish to take it for pleasure rather than purpose.
On the other hand if you have little time and wish to get your Vitamin D from the Sun as fast as possible the exact opposite seems to be true. There have been studies in England, Norway, and the US saying the optimal time to be in the sun for fast and efficient vitamin D production is near to solar noon as possible.
That would be between say 10 am and 2 pm. First reason being, you need a shorter exposure time because the UVB is more intense. I have learned that the second reason is that when the sun heads towards the horizon, the UVB is filtered out much more than the UVA (which is the wave highly correlated with melanoma) while its the UVB is the one that produces the vitamin D, either way you prefer, watch out for burn and enjoy the exposure to the max!
However, Vitamin D is made by your skin when it is exposed to the ultraviolet light of the sun. Sunscreen use, seasonal changes and time spent outdoors can alter vitamin D levels. Darker skin contains more melanin, which equates to greater protection against ultraviolet radiation exposure. Because of this protective effect, people of colour must spend more time in the sun to make vitamin D compared to those with lighter skin colours.
During the summer months and closer to the equator the sun is much stronger, the further from the equator you are and the further from summer generally the lower the vitamin D Production will be. One thing to consider, elevation is a factor, being on top of a mountain up north you would be exposed to more vitamin D than in a valley.
No need for stress, rather do some of your own research, see how you feel and use it all as relevant information alongside the options I provide.
Sun gazing is another way to get Vitamin D from the sun, an ancient practice simply marked by gazing at the morning sunrise and evening Sunset. Also a form of Yoga practiced by virtually every ancient culture. If you think about it who doesn’t naturally feel as ease and peace watching a sunset or sunrise. This brings a automatic meditative state with a wide range of benefits. Even Light boxes, or S.A.D therapy instructs the user to face the light box in order to get the UV in the eyes. If this resonates with you I would highly recommend researching this.
Here’s how to get a good source Vitamin D from a vegan diet!
One of the best sourced are Mushrooms! More accurately Vitamin D2. While Vitamin D3 is what our body produces and is surely a superior Vitamin D source, Vitamin D2 has been shown to be effective in treating Rickets and S.A.D although requiring larger doses more often. To me this is no problem as I love mushrooms and can easily enjoy eating them once or a few times a week as a stew with spelt dumplings, in omelettes, stir fries, with cous cous, you name it I love it! And so versatile. Not coincidentally I find I love Mushrooms even more during the winter months when my Vitamin D needs Increase, and makes for a hearty meal in the colder months, keeping you fuller for longer, that’s also why it is such an enjoyable option.
A banana, an apple, a seeded orange, a peach, apricots, butternut squash, limes, black grapes, watermelon, strawberries, green grapes, kiwi, blueberries, courgettes, figs, honeydew, aubergine, dates, olives, a pear, coconut, pomegranate, a mango, pineapple, cherries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, tangerine, nectarines, raisins, plums, tomatoes, chili peppers, chilis, peppers, avocado, cucumber, summer squash, winter squash, papaya, prunes
Leeks, turnip greens, swiss chard, mustard greens, fennel, brussels sprouts, artichokes, red cabbage, sweet potato, lettuce nuts and Seeds
Nuts and Seeds
chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, nuts, almonds, sesame seeds, walnuts,
Beans and Lentils
Pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils, black beans, lima beans, navy beans, beets, beans, Chick peas,
Flax seed (linseed) oil, Primrose oil, Avocado oil, Grape seed oil.
Seaweed and Kelp.
According to the Vegan Society and in my honest opinion a well-planned vegan diet contains all the nutrients we need to remain strong and healthy.
However see what the Vegan society have to say on the subject of vitamin D here.
It is always best to use your intuition, facts and findings to make the right choice for you.