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Vitamin D

Vitamin D

by Ms Melanie White 17/10/2018

What you didn’t know about Vitamin D: Everyone knows Vitamin D (cholecalciferol (D3) & ergocalciferol (D2)) comes from sunlight exposure and that it is required for bone health and osteoporosis prevention but did you know it is also required for brain, immune and microbiome health, amongst other things. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin (cholesterol-like), steroid hormone with a primary function of regulating calcium (main calcium regulator) and phosphorous and bone remineralisation. Food sources: Sunlight is by far the best source of Vitamin D however animal products and fish oils (wild caught fish; salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil (Rosita)) contain D3 and D2 is found in supplements and fortified foods, the latter having 50-80% bioavailability. D3 however is produced predominantly via sunlight (ultraviolet B), through the sebaceous glands of the skin, is cholesterol based and takes approximately 2-3 days to convert into D3. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and the parathyroid hormone are also involved in Vitamin D regulation. It is stored in adipose tissue (fat cells) and may be released during weight loss. Elevated phosphorus levels found in red meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products can reduce vitamin D production. Immune system: Vitamin D may increase and regulate the immune systems response, immune cell production and reduce inflammation. Microbiome: Bacteria (dysbiosis) can affect vitamin D status and composition and trigger autoimmunity. Pathogens can down-regulate the VDR by binding to the VDR’s with bacterial lignands as a defence mechanism. Mood/brain: Vitamin D may modulate neurotransmitters and is commonly deficient in neurological conditions such as depression and other psychiatric disorders. Growth inhibition may occur in prostate, breast, lung, and melanoma. Diabetes: Levels below 20 ng per ml have shown an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Fibroids: People with sufficient vitamin D levels may be less likely to have uterine fibroids. Vitamin D may reduce the size of fibroids. Cancer: Vitamin D may help regulated cellular proliferation and differentiation, inhibit angiogenesis and induce apoptosis. Inflammation: Inflammation is thought to be an important contributing factor to many chronic diseases. Risks associated with low vitamin D: Vitamin D may be associated with auto immune diseases, cardiovascular disease, skin disorders, cancer, cognitive decline, depression, pregnancy complications, brain development, allergies and fetal epigenetics. Genes: The vitamin D receptor (VDR polymorphism gene) may result in high 1.25 (OH)2D and low 25 (OH)D and an increase in certain diseases. How much sunlight do I need per day? The sun smart app is a useful way to track the highest daily UV factor to aim for the required daily sunlight exposure and to use care and protection such as sun cream and light clothing for prolonged sun exposure in summer time. The best time to receive sun exposure to maintain vitamin D levels is mid-morning and mid-afternoon. It is unlikely to be able to maintain vitamin D levels during the winter time especially in areas further from the equator (higher latitude) therefore only under the direction of a health care practitioner, supplementation is recommended. During summer sun protection is still required, for example Melbourne. Factors that affect vitamin D levels: Latitude, seasons and time of day: In summer time between 10-3pm only a few minutes is required per day. In areas further from the equator such as Melbourne 2-3 hours of sun per week may be required. Darker skin pigmentation: Those with darker sun may require 3-6 times the sun exposure than those with lighter pigmentation. Please note: Herbs and supplements must not be taken without professional instruction. Please contact a health care provider for further information prior to taking the mentioned supplements. To provide any suggestions of topics you would like covered by Melanie White natural health solutions contact me at https://www.mwnaturopath.com