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Vitamin D – Not Just for Bones Anymore

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, has long been recognized for its role in keeping bones and teeth strong and healthy but did you know that is only one of its many roles.  Research is uncovering many of the health benefits of Vitamin D leading to its increased popularity and utilization.

Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining a strong, healthy immune system.  Vitamin D helps your immune system to fight infections, such as colds and the flu and also enhances your immunity, which helps to inhibit the growth of cancer cells!

Vitamin D is also essential in preventing and helping people with autoimmune disorders (a condition where the immune system attacks you own body tissue).  In autoimmune conditions, Vitamin D has been shown to regulate or calm down the over working immune system.  It has also been shown that many individuals with autoimmune conditions do not respond adequately to normal amount of Vitamin D and may require greater amounts.

Where does this miraculous vitamin come from and how do I get more?  Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is made in your body when sunshine comes in contact with your skin.  Then with the help of your liver and kidneys your body converts this initial form of vitamin D into one that can be used by your body.

Many factors promote adequate Vitamin D levels including – exposing your skin (without sun block) to the sun for at least 15 minutes per day 3x/week (make sure you don’t burn).  Also, eating plenty of oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), eggs and through supplementation.

With so many Vitamin D supplements on the shelf, knowing which one to choose can be overwhelming.   There are a few things to consider when choosing your Vitamin D supplement.  Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin (meaning it dissolves in fat, not water) therefore you supplement should be in an emulsified form (meaning it is found in a form that also contains fat).  Optimal dose for vitamin D is 2000-5000 IU/day.

Taking the right form of Vitamin D and in the right amounts and still having trouble getting you levels up to optimal range?  If this is the case, you may consider your body’s overall health.  There are a few conditions that can promote Vitamin D deficiencies including intestinal inflammatory disorders and high cortisol (stress hormone) levels.  If these conditions are present you may not be optimally absorbing your vitamin D.  As well, ensure you gallbladder is in tip top shape, as Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and relies on your gallbladder to ensure optimal absorption.

Getting adequate levels of vitamin D through sunshine, food and the right supplementation is key to enjoying a long healthy life – full of strong bones and a good healthy immune system!!

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