10 SURPRISING VITAMIN D FACTS
It has been an undisputed fact for centuries that sunlight is vital to all life. Even so, over the last two decades there has been an increasing push to get humans out of the sun. Thousands of studies over the last 30 years have consistently told us that this is a misguided campaign. Recently, the impact of Vitamin D of the human body has begun to be recognized. From a list of more than 100, here are 10 Vitamin D facts that deserve attention.
1. Vitamin D is actually a hormone, not a vitamin. This is why it is very difficult to obtain enough Vitamin D through food sources. The skin absorbs Vitamin D via UVB rays. The kidneys, prostate gland, breast, colon, brain, parathyroid glands, and immune cells convert Vitamin D into the active hormone in the body.
2. Vitamin D is not just for bone health. It has been known for some time that the kidneys convert Vitamin D into the active hormone in the body. This is essential to the body’s ability to properly use calcium and the maintenance of bone and muscle health. Research regarding Vitamin D done over the course of the last 30 years by Dr. Michael Holick proved that other organs also convert Vitamin D into a usable form. It then plays a significant role in metabolism, regulation of inflammation, and muscle, cardiac, immune, and neurological functions.
3. Vitamin D is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Although foods can be fortified with Vitamin D, often the amount listed on the label is not the amount actually in the food. With Vitamin D occurring naturally in so few foods, it is difficult to obtain the full amount needed by the body.
4. Vitamin D deficiency is the number 1 medical condition in the world, affecting more than 1 billion people. As we moved into the information age, people began working indoors more than outside. There is a correlation of the increased numbers of people suffering a Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency as more and more careers took people indoors.
5. 3 out of 4 Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. This number is up from 1 out 2 when measured 20 years ago. In the last 20 years there has been a push from industries that make more than a billion dollars a year on products that prevent the skin from absorbing Vitamin D from the sun. Fifteen minutes of sun exposure a few times a week will not produce the harmful effects that these products are meant to prevent. Moderate exposure is necessary for the human body to function properly. Over exposure should be the focus of these campaigns.
6. A FDA study revealed that fortified milk does not contain the amount specified on the label. It is difficult to regulate the amount of Vitamin D in fortified foods. Vitamin D must first be diluted before going into foods. Some of the milk tested had less Vitamin D, while fewer had more. Even so, an 8 ounce glass of milk only provides 5 to 10 percent of the body’s daily requirement.
7. 200 million Americans are diagnosed with disorders that are linked to a Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. It is commonly known that Vitamin D is linked to bone health disorders. Lesser known is its impact on cellular, organ, muscular, autoimmune, brain, and mood-related disorders. Vitamin D is crucial to preventing many types of cancer, such as prostate, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, and colon cancers.
8. Vitamin D made Time magazine’s list of top 10 medical breakthroughs in 2007. It is surprising that Vitamin D was considered a medical breakthrough in 2007 when milk has been fortified with it since the 30s. It is also surprising that there is still a focus in America on blocking all sun exposure.
9. 80 to 90% of the body’s Vitamin D requirement is met by casual exposure to the sunlight. A little goes a long way. The fairest skin can be exposed to the sun for 15 minutes during peak hours (between 10 am to 3 pm) without burning. Allowing your skin to be exposed for this short time a couple of days a week is sufficient for the body to receive proper amounts of Vitamin D.
10. Eating your way to Vitamin D sufficiency is not possible. The chart below shows how much you would need to eat daily in order to fulfill the Vitamin D requirement.
More information about Vitamin D and its impact on health may be found in “The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problems” written by the world leader in Vitamin D research, Dr. Michael F. Holick.