Do I Need Vitamin D3?

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Do I Really Need To Take Vitamin D3? | Menopause Woman

You absolutely need Vitamin D3. In fact, it’s a critical part of maintaining good health.

To begin, vitamin D3 is essential to bone health.  Without it, the body can’t absorb calcium efficiently. If you are low on vitamin D3,  your body can only absorb a tenth to a fifteenth of the calcium you take in.

In addition, vitamin D3 naturally combats cancer. Optimal vitamin D3 levels are thought to reduce the risk of many types of cancer including: colon, prostate, and breast cancer.

Vitamin D3 is also an anti-inflammatory agent that protects the heart. Researchers have found that patients with low levels of vitamin D3 demonstrate a 60% percent increased risk of heart disease. In addition to this, studies have shown that inadequate levels of vitamin D3 may triple the risk of hypertension.

And that’s just the beginning of vitamin D3’s abilities. It even helps to stave off diabetes, depression, multiple sclerosis, and the flu. Pretty amazing, right?

The difference between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3?

However, make sure you are taking the correct vitamin D. Often  milk and other foods are fortified with vitamin D but unfortunately, it is of the synthetic form, and is known as ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2. On the other hand, vitamin D3, known as cholecalciferol, is produced in the skin with sunlight exposure – making it natural to the human body, and a perfect match. To emphasise! Make sure to choose vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). You should avoid vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) at all costs. I can’t stress this enough.

The reason? Because vitamin D2 is not natural to the human body. Vitamin D2 is a compound produced by irradiating yeast with ultraviolet light – it is not natural! The body does not recognise it, and therefore, works only half as well! In fact, vitamin D3 is at least three times more potent than vitamin D2, is more stable, safer, and more useful in the body. And importantly, vitamin D2 has been linked to various health issues, one of which is irritation of the lining of the blood vessels.  

Why deprive your body of true D3 when you can get it so easily? From the sun, through supplementation, and from certain foods! Vitamin D3 however, can not be found in many foods, in fact, just  about 10 percent of the vitamin D3 we get, comes from the foods we eat.

Remember this when you’re shopping: look for the top nine vitamin D rich foods: sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, raw milk, caviar, eggs, mushrooms, and cod liver oil. And don’t forget sunlight promotes the synthesis of vitamin D from cholesterol. Also, an authentic, high quality, vitamin D3 supplement enables your body to recognise, understand, and use it appropriately. Basically speaking… let your body do what it does best with what it knows best! In short, give your body what it recognizes. Always, always follow nature.  

However, beware of prescription vitamins, they are, more often than not, vitamin D2 rather than vitamin D3, and are therefore, not the best for your health.

Did you know that vitamin D3 isn’t really a vitamin?

Strange concept, interesting fact.

The truth is that vitamin D3 is a steroid hormone. It can’t be a typical vitamin because the body can – and does – make it on its own.

As mentioned previously, sunlight promotes vitamin D3 synthesis from cholesterol. But let’s take a closer look at this miraculous feat!

When sunlight meets your skin, the body undergoes a symphony of sorts. It produces a substance called 7-dehydrocholesterol. You might not have heard of it, but it is the start of an incredible process undertaken by your body.

7-Dehydrocholesterol then turns into cholesterol (yes, you heard that right), which converts into a healthy supply of vitamin D3. All you have to do is spend about twenty minutes in the sun without sunscreen- et voila! Your body has naturally supplied itself with this essential nutrient. However, vitamin D3 synthesis declines with age, mainly because the concentration of 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin declines. This is where supplementation is important.

I personally advocate the use of supplements if you’re vitamin D deficient. If you’ve read my books, you’ll definitely understand why.

Is vitamin D deficiency rare?

Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is not rare. Recent official figures show that in the UK, 23% of adults, 21% of the elderly and 22% of teenagers have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. Astonishing, and deeply troubling figures that highlight how big an issue vitamin D3 deficiency is.

Some experts have suggested that nearly half of the global population is deficient.  And because of a decrease in production with age, your risk of deficiency is even higher. Maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D3 is essential to your overall health and wellbeing.

Is vitamin D3 linked to osteoporosis?

The answer is yes.

Vitamin D3 is required for the absorption of calcium into the bones and to help keep them strong. Again, production of vitamin D3 declines with age, without sufficient vitamin D3 the bones will become soft and weak. Taking professional-grade supplements may help protect against osteoporosis. Other nutrients that may also help are magnesium, calcium, vitamin K2 (as menaquinone), zinc, selenium, collagen, and silicon.

Will my vitamin D3 levels fluctuate with the seasons or based on location?

This depends on how far you live from the equator. Here are some rather interesting vitamin D3 statistics:

  • If you live in the UK, your body will struggle to produce sufficient vitamin D3 from October to March.
  • In the Southern Hemisphere, the schedule flips. For example, citizens of Buenos Aires won’t produce much vitamin D3 in June.
  • Scotland is particularly vulnerable to vitamin D3 deficiency. This is why experts recommend supplements throughout the year – especially during autumn and winter months.

Is there anything I should know about vitamin D3 and the menopause?

Ensuring that you have optimal vitamin D3 levels is one of the most important steps towards managing the menopause and staying healthy. Think of it like this: bones need calcium for strength. After menopause sets in, the body can’t make vitamin D3 as easily so it often needs a little assistance to reach optimal vitamin D3 levels. Doing this now can help prevent osteoporosis and other menopause-related health issues in the future.

What should I do next?

You owe it to yourself to get your levels of vitamin D tested. A doctor can perform a very quick and easy procedure to help you find out your levels. The best possible strategy you can employ is to be proactive and help prevent a vitamin D3 deficiency.  

Note: Always supplement with magnesium when taking calcium – magnesium is a natural calcium blocker, therefore is heart-healthy. Magnesium has the ability to block the channels by which calcium enters the cells; when magnesium is low, intracellular calcium rises. Magnesium can help avoid a buildup of calcium in the arteries.

References:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/2/491S.full

www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/

www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/vitamin-d-and-your-health

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002405.htm

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/128762-overview

www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/176941.php

www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2010/1/startling-findings-about-vitamin-d-levels-in-life-extension-members/page-01

www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/vitamin-d-and-osteoporosis/

www.prevention.com/health/symptoms-vitamin-d-deficiency

www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/vitamin-d-and-osteoporosis/

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/%23!po%3D1.18110&source=gmail&ust=1481664140371000&usg=AFQjCNFqbC9sm6NZ3B2f_lHGqjWCfO8OtQ

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/vitamin-D-sunlight.aspx

www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/Healthy-Living/Food-Health/vitaminD

www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3945536/From-preventing-flu-helping-live-longer-doctor-reveals-follow-Government-s-advice-pop-vitamin-D-winter.html