There are actually two forms of vitamin D: vitamin D3 and vitamin D2.
Vitamin D3 is also called cholecalciferol. It is formed in the skin upon exposure to the sun.
Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) comes from food and some types of nutritional supplements.
Once vitamins D3 and D2 have been formed, they are transported in the blood to the liver where chemical transformation occurs to create a molecule called 25-Hydroxyvitamin-D.
This chemical is important as it is the primary form of circulating vitamin D and is one that is most frequently measured in vitamin D Testing, which I’ll teach you about very soon.
There is enormous concern over the occurrence of poor vitamin D status and some prominent researchers have identified vitamin D deficiency as pandemic. ,
The consequences of vitamin D deficiency are also of great concern in healthcare. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with:
- Osteoporosis (as vitamin D is needed for proper calcium absorption from the gut)
- Autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis
- Childhood immune-related illnesses and symptoms, including wheezing (which is extremely common!)
- Poor ability to fight infection (including H pylori)
- Mood and energy levels (especially S.A.D syndrome, where folk suffer with depression and low energy in the winter months)
How Can You Become Deficient In Vitamin D?
Well, there are two obvious reasons why we have such an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency:
Lack of Sun Exposure
In order for vitamin D3 to be formed in our skin, we must have exposure to UV radiation from the sun!
Problem number One is that, at high latitudes, there is not enough sunshine during the year, full stop!
Problem number Two is that even in places where there is enough sunshine, we spend too much time indoors (at work, etc).
Problem number Three is that even when we do venture outside, we wear clothes and we don’t expose enough skin to the UV rays.
Problem number Four is that even when we do get our kit off, we plaster ourselves with large amounts of toxic sunscreen that acts like a thick layer of clothing and prevents the sun’s rays getting through to our skin (largely due to the fact that we are told that the sun is “bad” for us and that exposure causes skin cancer).
Vitamin D Deficiency is a Human Behaviour Problem (& One of Profit-Driven Scare-Mongering)
Of course, if you stay out in the midday sun having not had much exposure, you’re going to get burned!
But this is a human behavior problem, not the fault of the sun! The sun drives life on this planet. The notion that it is in some way ‘bad’ for us is ridiculous.
It is “spin” that has been driven by profit-seeking companies who want to sell sunscreen. Incidentally, these companies often happen to be the very same ones who recommend drugs like antacids for heartburn, even though heartburn is most often caused by low stomach acid already.
Lack of Vitamin D2 In Your Diet
Oily fish (wild-caught, not farmed) are good sources of vitamin D2. Eggs can be good sources as long as they are organic. Beef liver is good for D2 as well.
The list below is copied from Wikipedia:
Catfish, 85 g (3 oz) provides 425 IU (5 IU/g)
Salmon, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz) provides 360 IU (3.6 IU/g)
Mackerel, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz), 345 IU (3.45 IU/g)
Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 50 g (1.75 oz), 250 IU (5 IU/g)
Tuna, canned in oil, 100 g (3.5 oz), 235 IU (2.35 IU/g)
Eel, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz), 200 IU (2.00 IU/g)
A whole egg provides 20 IU if egg weighs 60 g (0.33 IU/g)
Beef liver, cooked, 100 g (3.5 oz), provides 15 IU (0.15 IU/g)
Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil, 1 Tbs. (15 ml) provides 1360 IU (90.6 IU/ml)
The problem is that many of us simply don’t eat anywhere near enough of these foods to get enough vitamin D2 for our bodies to use.
The issue can be complicated even further by the fact that so many people have problems with gut function.
Gluten intolerance, processed foods, chronic digestive infections such as H pylori, fungal overgrowth and parasites can all impact our ability to digest and absorb protein-rich and fatty foods.
Low stomach acid levels (hypochloridia), low levels of pancreatic digestive enzymes and sluggish liver/gallbladder function can all prevent proper absorption of all the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K, CoQ10).
Vitamin D is such an important vitamin that we simply cannot afford to be deficient! Cancer, autoimmune illness, infections, inflammation, mood and energy levels can all result from lower than optimal levels of this vital nutrient.
Lack of sun exposure is a massive problem, even in countries where the sun shines a lot (because most of us work indoors)
Lack of dietary intake and poor digestive function also contribute to Vitamin D deficiency.
In Part Three of this mini series, I will teach you how you can test for your vitamin D levels to see whether you are at risk of vitamin-D related symptoms and illnesses.
As we’re having an “Indian Summer” here in the UK, I am going out to sunbathe!