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Vitamin D – What You Should Know
“Get enough sun to keep your vitamin D levels in shape", - say various health magazines in their spring issues. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because our bodies produce it naturally after exposure to the sun.
How exactly? Both its forms, D2 or D3, are considered biologically inactive until they undergo some reactions in the body (liver is the main office) and become biologically active hormones that contribute to the local cell generation and maintain calcium balance in the body. It’s pretty interesting, isn’t it?
Vitamin D also plays a role in healthy immune function, mood, energy production, pain prevention and relief, and the ability to heal from injury. It supports a healthy immune system, helps maintain strong bones, and contributes to overall health.
Back in the days (like when we were hunters-gatherers) we spent most of the time outside in a sunny environment. Today we’ve become largely indoor mammals that don’t see that much sun or use sunscreens on the beach to protect our skin. Lack of sun leads to deficiency of vitamin D and therefore, to health issues. Bone loss, depression, muscle and back pain, fatigue and tiredness are among common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
Foods that provide vitamins D are fatty fish (tuna, salmon), beef liver, cheese, egg yolk. If you are on a plant-based diet like I am, you have to take D supplements (or sunshine). Most of vitamin D supplements on the market are not vegan-friendly and they are made from sheep’s wool (lanolin). I take Yuve Vegan D3, which is sustainably made with lichen (yay!) – small unique plant species consisting of a natural symbiosis between fungi and algae.
There is a good chance that most of us need to take vitamin D but it is not a foregone conclusion. Do not just fall for general supplement recommendations as many factors can influence YOUR personal needs. The best way to see if you need it is to get your blood test done to check your vitamin D levels. Listen to your body!
In the US, the daily suggestion is 400–800 IU (10–20 mcg) of vitamin D and this should meet the needs of 97–98% of all healthy people. However, your vitamin D needs depend on many factors like age, skin tone, current blood vitamin D levels, location, sun exposure and more. I hope after reading my post you know exactly what you need to do about your D situation, right?