10 things you need to know about vitamin D
1. Vitamin D helps to balance the immune system
The key word here is balance. This means that vitamin D strengthens the immune system in its action against infectious disease, while helping to keep inflammation and overshoot reactions under control.
2. Bone health
From supporting calcium absorption in the gut to calcium re-uptake in the kidneys, vitamin D is involved all the way. Vitamin D plays a major role in several processes vital for bone metabolism and bone protection.
3. It is possible to overdose vitamin D
Because vitamin D is stored in the body, it is possible to increase levels too much with supplementation. An overdose of vitamin D can be toxic and interfere with many important processes in the body. Don’t just supplement high doses long term without testing your vitamin D levels.
4. Your genes and your whole body health impacts your vitamin D levels
There are individual differences in how you metabolise and how you receive vitamin D. When it comes to natural vitamin D production from sun exposure, a multitude of factors affect its synthesis. This includes skin pigmentation, time of day, season, latitude, altitude, and sunscreen use.
From there onwards there your genetics impact how you deal with vitamin D. And the genes involved can be switched on and off with lifestyle. You can see how the vitamin D story is not just a vitamin D story.
5. Vitamin D is involved in muscle health
Vitamin D helps to regulate the communication between nerves and muscles. It also helps you gain muscle mass and muscle strength.
6. Heart and blood vessel health
Vitamin D is a heart health all-rounder. It strengthens the heart muscle, helps to keep blood pressure levels on a healthy-low, helps to prevent blood clots from forming and supports the lowering of free fats (triglycerides) in the blood.
7. Thyroid health
Production and release of thyroid hormone is influenced by vitamin D. Low levels are often seen in auto-immune thyroid disease, where the immune system gets confused and attacks the thyroid (such as Hashimoto’s thyreoiditis and Grave’s disease).
8. Sun exposure increases your vitamin D levels
On a sunny day your body can produce between 10 000 and 20 000 IUs of vitamin D. Supplements are typically between 1000 IUs and 5000 IUs. Healthy and sensible sun exposure has many other benefits other than raising vitamin D levels, so get out there on a sunny day!
9. Blood sugar regulation
Your pancreas is responsible for blood sugar regulation. Vitamin D helps to protect the pancreas cells and supports their function when it comes to keeping your blood sugar stable.
10. If you need to supplement, choose a good one and check your levels
If you know you don’t get much sun exposure or if you are suffering with health problems, check your vitamin D levels and supplement accordingly. It is best to get guidance for this by a health practitioner. Supplementation of 1000 IU of vitamin D3 daily should not be of concern, but certainly don’t supplement 5000 IU long term without testing.
Go get some sun and embrace life!