This vitally important vitamin is necessary for the optimal functioning of many crucial biochemical processes in the body! In fact, Vitamin D3 is a steroidal hormone.
Where Do We Get Vitamin D?
When we expose our skin to sunlight the cholesterol (fat under the skin) makes Vitamin D. Sun exposure is the most important and main source of Vitamin D. It is imperative to bare the skin and spend a few minutes a day in the sun to maintain adequate levels.
We can also get Vitamin D from dietary sources. Foods that provide vitamin D include fish (mackerel, sardines, salmon, trout), legumes, eggs, liver, beef and extra virgin cod liver oil.
Vitamin D shortage is very common, even in very sunny places like Cape town! I do a lot of lab testing and if the patient has not supplemented before I have not seen a level that is higher than 40ng/ml. Although many Allopathic Doctors are complacent with a level of 29 ng/ml, the Functional Medicine recommendations are generally above 60 ng/ml! However, one size does not fit all. Some people will need higher levels. It's about considering the whole picture.
Lack of sun exposure. You need to bare the skin. People typically spend the whole day in air conditioned offices or at home wearing long sleeves. When outdoors they use sun blockers, rather than coconut or sesame oil to avoid sunburn.
Dark skinned people are less efficient at making Vitamin D. Some people have a genetic condition that disables them from producing Vitamin D despite adequate sun exposure.
A poor diet with high fast food content exacerbates Vitamin D deficiency, which is worsened by the consumption of fortified foods containing Vitamin D2.
Why is Vitamin D3 So Important?
It is essential to note that Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means levels of this vitamin can build up to levels that are too high. The levels need to be monitored by an integrative health practitioner. Three months after starting supplementation is a good time to test. Substantially elevated levels of Vitamin D will have a toxic effect on the body. Your health practitioner may recommend that you add Vitamin K2 at higher levels of Vitamin D. This is for cardiovascular protection.
Please note that some conventional Doctors will offer Vitamin D2 (plant based) instead of Vitamin D3. We need the mammalian form of Vitamin D, as we are mammals. NOT plants!
You may order Vitamin D3 from my online shop.
Prolonged low levels of Vitamin D are associated with serious diseases like cancer, depression and autoimmune diseases. Learn more about the adverse effects of Vitamin D insufficiency in the body.
Plaxy Gühr is the founder of Functional Vitality, a functional health practice located in West Beach, Cape town. She is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (IFM) SA, a certified Nutritionist with a Diploma in Advanced Nutrition (SNHS UK), and a Body Control Pilates certified teacher.
If you'd like to learn how to significantly improve your nutritional well-being and physical fitness, consider getting in touch with me, Plaxy Gühr, for a consultation. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more articles on Gut Health, Functional Medicine and Body Control Pilates.