The Sunshine Vitamin
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The Sunshine Vitamin

The Sunshine Vitamin

10 Sep, 2019 0

Dear Readers,

It has been a slow day today. The weather’s a tad bit gloomy and endless cups of coffee have been at my disposal since morning.

I had just reviewed some blood results for patients due for bio-identical hormones. It is our standard preliminary assessment whereby the whole range of hormones are evaluated. Much rightly so, since all the hormones are connected in uncountable ways.

What I have discovered amidst sheets and sheets of test reports, is that almost everyone appears to be deficient in vitamin D. This has come as a bit of an eye opener to me, 9 out of 10 people seem to be lacking in this suave hormone cum mineral entity. There is no statistical evidence to that data, just an observation on my side. Men and women alike, differing age groups and ethnicity – all share the patriotic similarity of being short of vitamin D. Talk about unity at a micro-nutrient level.

This has prompted me (in addition, to all the caffeine that has gone in), to write an article on Vitamin D and its “playing hard to get” status quo. Especially, when it has been offered to us in its abundance: sunlight.

I think it’s only fair to assume that all of us get plenty of this sunny vitamin.

Apparently not.

Vitamin D attributes

So lets just briefly discuss the attributes of this molecule:

  • Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements is biologically inert and needs to be activated by the liver & kidneys;
  • Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations. This is highly important for bone health and remodelling;
  • Vitamin D has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation. Many genes encoding proteins that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis are modulated in part by vitamin D.


Causes of Vitamin D deficiency

  • Nutritional deficiency – inadequate intake. Vitamin D-deficient diets are associated with milk allergy, lactose intolerance, ova-vegetarianism, and veganism;
  • Limited exposure to sunlight;
  • People with dark skin – increased skin melanin reduces Vitamin D synthesis;
  • Elderly people – reduced rate of synthesis that comes with aging;
  • Prolonged breast feeding of infants;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease or poor gut health – leads reduced vitamin absorption;
  • Compromised renal function;
  • Obesity – greater amounts of subcutaneous fat sequester more of the vitamin and alter its release into the circulation;
  • Excessive application of sunscreen;
  • Northern latitudes – where sunlight is scarce;
  • Air Pollution; and
  • Anti-Epileptic or HIV medications

Vitamin D benefits

The grand role of Vitamin D cannot and should not be underestimated. Vitamin D plays a key role as an agent of:

  • Anti Aging
  • Anti Cancer
  • Anti Diabetes
  • Anti Infective
  • Anti Depressant
  • Anti Hypertensive
  • Cardiac Protection

Vitamin D tips
Get your dose of sunlight from 10am to 3pm, about 15-20 minutes daily – a little longer if you are darker skinned.

Eat foods that can increase your levels naturally like: salmon, cod fish, eggs, fortified milk & cereals, cheese, mushrooms, apricot, squash, broccoli, liver and others.

Supplements both oral and sublingual are available for those with severe deficiencies. However, I strongly recommend a doctors consult prior to starting these.

Keep your gut healthy with balanced foods, adequate fibre and probiotics. A well oiled gut will aid in vitamin D absorption.

Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dysfunction of the kidneys.

Maintain a healthy weight so that there is no sequestration of vitamin D in the excess visceral fats.

Perform regular blood checks to ensure all hormones are functioning at their optimum.

Vitamin D Rocks!!

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