85-90% of people are deficient to severely deficient in Vitamin D. This is because we get very little from our diets except for fish and in fortified dairy. Much of this is heightened by the fact that many of our jobs are indoors and when we do venture outdoors, we use sunscreen which blocks UVB radiation that allows Vitamin D production to occur in our skin. Getting our Vitamin D from the sun becomes difficult during winter season, when we spend the majority of our time indoors.
Deficiency in Vitamin D is associated with diseases such as rickets, thyroid issues, numerous autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. Most common, however, are higher risk of the common cold, upper respiratory infections, influenza,childhood asthma and pneumonia.
The health benefits of Vitamin D are numerous, but include bone health, cardiovascular and cholesterol health (there are studies showing a decrease in cholesterol during summer months, when we are more apt to get outdoors in the sunshine). An unknown benefit from Vitamin D, is that it regulates insulin secretion and sensitivity and balances blood sugar. Read here for further information.
As we all know, modern diets in the US are pro-inflammatory due to the large amounts of unfavorable carbohydrates that we eat. Vitamin D can reverse those effects and improve inflammatory response.
There is a large amount of evidence from studies implicating optimal Vitamin D levels and athletic performance – something we all strive for.
If you are deficient from never going out in the sun and never consuming foods rich in Vitamin D, it seems the common recommendation is to have an approximate supplementation of 5,000 IU/day during low-sun exposure season in order to bring Vitamin D levels back to an optimal range. In Utah, this seems to be most definite during the winter months, but even in the summer, it’s quite possible and even common, to have a Vitamin D deficiency. A simple blood test will inform you of your Vitamin D levels. Optimal levels of Vitamin D are 35 ng/mL-60 ng/mL.
Weston A. Price Foundation
Chris Kresser L.Ac
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