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Vitamin D - The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy - you are undoubtedly enjoying some sunshine!  As you should be.  But hopefully, you are also lathering on the sunscreen.  This is because according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), too much sun exposure can put you at risk for skin cancer.  Other risk factors for skin cancer include:

·       A lighter natural skin color.

·       Family history of skin cancer.

·       A personal history of skin cancer.

·       Exposure to the sun through work and play.

·       A history of sunburns, especially early in life.

·       A history of indoor tanning.

·       Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun.

·       Blue or green eyes.

·       Blond or red hair.

·       Certain types and a large number of moles.

The CDC recommends staying indoors, wearing protective clothing, avoiding indoor tanning and using sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection in order to protect you from skin cancer.

But all of this protection from the sun begs one question: how am I supposed to get enough vitamin D?

As you may or may not know, individuals who are not exposed to sufficient sunlight due to reason of geography, shelter, clothing or atmospheric pollution/sunscreen may not achieve sufficient levels of vitamin D.   This is because sunlight is required for the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol, a vitamin D precursor found in the skin, to cholecalciferol (inactive vitamin D) which is then converted to the active forms of vitamin D by the liver and kidneys.  Without sunlight, your body cannot activate vitamin D in the body.

So why do I need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for health and can be critical for:

·       Maintaining adequate calcium levels within the body

·       Maintaining adequate phosphorus levels within the body

·       Supporting optimal bone health

·       Enhancing muscle strength

·       Supporting immune health

Vitamin D is also being studied for its role in:

·       Promoting cardiovascular health

·       Supporting cellular health

·       Lifestyle conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity

·       Neurological health

In fact, a brand new study published on August 6, 2014 revealed a link between vitamin D deficiency and the prevalence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  The authors discovered that individuals with moderate deficiency in vitamin D had a 53 percent increased risk of developing dementia.  This risk increased to 125 percent for those who had severe vitamin D deficiency. The most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s, was 69 percent more likely to develop in moderately deficient adults, while the severely deficient had a 122 percent increased risk. (Littlejohns TJ, 2014).

How much vitamin D do I need?

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) introduced new recommendations for vitamin D based on their review of years of high quality research.  The IOM now recommends 600-4000 IU/day of vitamin D for healthy individuals depending on their life stage. However, if vitamin D deficiency (<20 ng/mL) or insufficiency (<30 ng/mL) is present, then a doctor may suggest even higher potencies ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 IU/daily or more.

Where can I get vitamin D?

Bluebonnet Nutrition offers vitamin D in several delivery forms and potencies to fit your daily needs.  Bluebonnet’s Vitamin D3 400, 1000, 2000 & 5000 IU are available in softgels, drops, Vcaps and chewables.

REFERENCES:

Bendik I, Friedel A, Roos FF, et al.  Vitamin D: a critical and essential micronutrient for human health.  Front Physiol. 2014; 5: 248. PMCID: PMC4092358.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Skin Cancer.  Accessed from http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/prevention.htm on 8/4/2014.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Fat-Soluble Vitamins & Micronutrients: Vitamin D. Accessed from http://www.cdc.gov/nutritionreport/99-02/pdf/nr_ch2b.pdf on 8/4/2014.

Littlejohns TJ, Henley WE, Lang IA, et al.  Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. Neurology. Published online August 6, 2014. DOI 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000755.

 

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