WHAT IS VITAMIN D?
Vitamin D is actually a prohormone (a substance that is a precursor to a hormone) but everyone refers to it as a fat-soluble vitamin. It is produced in the body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin. At least 75 per cent of the body’s supply comes from conversion in the skin. Therefore, lack of exposure to sunlight is the main cause of vitamin D deficiency.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SUNSHINE?
Since 1971, the public has been urged to avoid the sun and use sun-blocking agents to reduce the risk of skin cancer and melanoma. But, using sunscreen to shield you from the sun’s harmful rays is not a good trade-off.
WHAT ABOUT SUNSCREEN?
Sunscreen doesn’t defend against melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Also, using a sunscreen with as little as SPF15 cuts the skin’s vitamin D production by 99 percent, leading to a deficiency (remember that Vitamin D helps protect you from cancer).
Besides blocking your production of vitamin D, sunscreen contains toxic chemicals which can contribute to the development of cancer. Note: We carry an organic sunscreen in our online store. Look for Aubrey Organics Natural SPF 30 118ml/4oz.
HOW MUCH IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT?
No one knows for sure. There are varying recommendations from 400 IU to 10,000 IU daily. There is so much to take into account, particularly the amount of sun exposure you get, your weight and your age.
Vitamin D deficiency appears to be more prevalent among overweight people and as you get older, the less efficient your body is at making vitamin D3.
CAN YOU TAKE TOO MUCH?
Toxicity is rare and has only been noted in very high doses. Vitamin D toxicity (hypervitaminosis D) induces abnormally high serum calcium levels (hypercalcemia), which could result in bone loss, kidney stones, and calcification of organs like the heart and kidneys if untreated over a long period of time. Hypercalcemia has been observed following daily doses of greater than 50,000 IU of vitamin D. Overall, research suggests that vitamin D toxicity is very unlikely in healthy people at intake levels lower than 10,000 IU/day.
There has never been a reported case of vitamin D toxicity from sun exposure.
SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
You can make 10,000 to 12,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D in just half-hour. So whenever possible get daily, direct sunshine for 10 to 20 minutes, and make sure you don’t completely cover your body whenever you’re outside. Keep in mind that wearing sunscreen pretty much kills the ability of your skin to produce vitamin D from sunlight — meaning, the more you cover up and/or use sunscreen, the more you need to supplement.
Only use sunscreen when you will really need the protection (and preferably use an organic sunscreen). Burning your skin is not healthy for you either.
When you aren’t getting direct sunlight, then you should supplement with a minimum of 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. You can take more if you desire. We carry tablets and liquid in the One Stop Health Shop. The liquid is more easily absorbed and works out to be more economical in the long run, but either work! For more details on these two products go to the FAQ under Vitamins/Minerals/Product Manual.
Each total health packet contains 500 IU of vitamin D3. This means you are getting a steady supply of vitamin D3 whether there is sun or not. There is also 100 IU of vitamin D3 in each tablet of our Osteo (preferred calcium/magnesium bone formula) and 400 IU of vitamin D3 in each capsule of our opt-cal/mag complex (bone formula for people who prefer capsules).
Notice I keep saying vitamin D3. That is because you should never use the synthetic D2 referred to as ergocalciferol.
YOU CAN BE TESTED
My best analysis is that you would want serum 25(OH)D level, at all ages beyond infancy, of not less than 55 ng/ml.
Yours in Total Health,
Brenda and Megan
Brenda Eastwood is a holistic health expert who specializes in Women’s Health Issues. Her expertise stems from over 35 years’ experience as a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner. This includes ongoing research, 17 years running a successful private practice, presenting hundreds of seminars and workshops, as well as coaching clients through her unique online Inner Circle program. Today she is reaching out to even more women through her regular article contributions to HANS (Health Action Magazine) and her book “Get off the PMS and Perimenopausal Roller Coaster, Learn 9 Natural Fast Track Solutions to Balanced Hormones”. For more information on Brenda Eastwood please visit www.BrendaEastwood.com or for information on her Total Health Packs visit www.TotalHealthPack.com