With spring around the corner and the sun peeking out from behind the clouds, I thought now would be the right time to explore Vitamin D: Every Naturopath’s Favorite Vitamin. Prior to moving to rainy Seattle, Washington from sunny Orlando, Florida I was completely unaware of Vitamin D supplementation. In fact, I had never even heard of such a thing. I was warned that too much sun could cause more damage than anything, and as a result spent most of my time in Florida lathered up in SPF 45 sun block. Upon my arrival in Seattle, the first thing recommended to me was Vitamin D supplementation.
Why? Vitamin D has a number of important roles in the body; it is a component in modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function and also aides in the reduction of inflammation. In my Macro and Micro Nutrients class, I learned that sunlight exposure can provide an individual with a dose of Vitamin D – the actual amount taken in by the body is regulated through biochemical mechanisms. On the other hand, individuals who live in sunny climates but regularly apply sunscreen reduce production of Vitamin D by 95%! Sufficient to say that despite the cloud cover and sunlight where you live, lifestyle can also affect the amount of Vitamin D in your body.
As part of our immune system, Vitamin D receptors have been identified on T-cells. T-cells are lymphocytes in our body that are involved in the recognition of foreign pathogens and the initiation of the immune response. A deficiency of Vitamin D can interfere with T-cell mediated immunity. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin; therefore, its absorption can be hindered in individual with any condition that might cause malabsorption. A deficiency in the diet can cause osteomalacia in adults or rickets in children.
Where can you get Vitamin D? Unfortunately very few foods actually contain Vitamin D. It can be found in fatty fish and fish oils, as well as in small amounts in beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. In America, fortified foods are the most common source of Vitamin D. Americans fortify milk with 100 IU/cup whereas Canadians fortify milk with 35-40 IU/cup. Historically, this was done to combat rickets in America, which was a major public health concern in the 1930’s. Although the Recommended Daily Allowance for an average adult (male or female) is 600 IU/day, at Bioclinic Naturals, research has shown that an individual requires at least 5000 IU/day for optimal health. For this reason, it is important that Vitamin D supplementation is undertaken, especially in areas where sun exposure is low.
I believe the best way to get your Vitamin D is a little bit of nature cure combined with a high quality supplement. My personal favorite is Bioclinic Natural’s Vitamin D3 Drops in Olive Oil; not only are they easy to take but also convenient to travel with. My advice: Relax, breathe in some fresh air, enjoy the sunlight and use a high quality Vitamin D supplement. You’ll boost your immunity and overall wellbeing!