If vitamins could gain celebrity status, then vitamin D would be the new “It Girl.” Vitamin D, the elusive sunshine vitamin, has quickly become one of the most talked about vitamins in the health world. The good news is its fame is well deserved, with countless research studies backing its stardom. Vitamin D is a very important vitamin that is required by the body for a host of functions, which is why it is one of the most intensely studied vitamins today.
First off, vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption. Many people don’t realize this, but without vitamin D, calcium cannot do its job properly. This leads to weakened bones – and ultimately to osteoporosis and osteopenia. Vitamin D is also a main source of fuel for our white blood cells, our body’s first line of defense against pathogens (whether bacteria, virus, or fungus). So in order to prevent illness, we need vitamin D. Vitamin D also supports healthy blood sugar levels, which has been correlated to a lower risk of diabetes.
If those were not enough reasons to start ramping up your vitamin D levels, then here are a few more: vitamin D supports a healthy cardiovascular system, as well as colon, breast and prostate tissue, and may prevent a preterm delivery. The most astounding fact, however, is that a vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk for a stroke, cardiovascular disease, several forms of cancer, depression, schizophrenia, and some autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis.
But why is there so much concern about vitamin D levels when we get it from the sun?
Researchers have found out that in every age and gender group, the average American is deficient, with less than 5% meeting the normal levels. That is because there are many factors that prevent it from being made by the body. These include everything from your skin color, sunscreen use, the latitude in which you live, to the weather and the season. For example, using a sunscreen with as little as a 15+ protection cuts the skin’s vitamin D production by a whopping ninety-nine percent! Even if you get proper sun exposure, vitamin D still needs to be made with the help of the kidneys and the liver. Without proper liver and kidney function, your chances of metabolizing vitamin D from the sun is lowered. That is why supplementation is necessary for so many people, if not everyone. Don’t worry though – not only is vitamin D quite affordable, we have made sure to take the guesswork out and find the best sources for you. Just remember, always purchase vitamin D3, which is the form of the vitamin that is best utilized by the body. Take your pick from the best vitamin D sources we’ve picked and begin to enjoy its sunny benefits…
High: Vitamin D3 VESIsorb by Pure Encapsulations
This is one of the most unique vitamin D3 supplements on the market, in that it utilizes a patented system (nano-colloid) to maximize absorption. The supplement can easily transport across the intestinal tract, making it to the blood to be metabolized. Because the full absorption of vitamin D is so important to reaching healthy levels of vitamin D, we recommend taking Pure Encapsulations’ version, especially to those who have had trouble with other supplement forms.
Midpoint: D3 Serum by Premier Research Labs
When choosing a liquid form of vitamin D3, this supplement is the best. Made through the extraction of lamb’s wool and suspended in olive oil, it has an extremely pleasant taste. The tiny bottle is also the perfect size to carry around in your purse or pocket for easy access. A little goes a long way, so reordering frequently is not an issue – and with a price like eleven dollars, it’s a happy purchase indeed!
This list would not be complete without the inclusion of good old fashioned sunbathing. While sunbathing is not a viable option in some parts of the world, if you do happen to live in a place with ample rays, take advantage! Make sure to go bare-skinned, and to get direct light. In order to determine how much sun you need (because each person is different), use this vitamin D calculator or download this app. They will both determine how many minutes or hours you have to clock a week. Just remember, for the majority of people, sunbathing alone won’t cut it – so consider also supplementing with one of our other choices. You can always get a blood test done to see where your levels are, then act accordingly!
TCM note: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it is digested and transported like dietary fats. As a result, reaching optimal blood levels of Vitamin D requires the ability to digest fats properly. Fats are digested with the help of bile from the gallbladder. Poor gallbladder health can lead to low Vitamin D levels despite supplementation, so make sure to concurrently support the gallbladder if needed.