The Deal with Vitamin D



Written by: Sarah Lawrence

Vitamin D is an overachieving, jack of all trades, hands-into-everything Casanova. D’s relationship with your body is complicated, but full of love.  

“Vitamin” D isn’t actually a vitamin at all, but rather, a fat soluble hormone that directs processes in the body rather than just supporting them.

6 Reasons You Can’t Live Without Vitamin D:

1. Proper levels of vitamin D are needed for your cells to use the thyroid hormone.

2. It helps cells form correctly and cleans up any misbehavers.

3. It facilitates the absorption of calcium.

4. It regulates insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity and balances blood sugar.

5. It’s critical to the success and function of your immune system.

6. Therapeutic doses of vitamin D are helpful in managing chronic pain and depression.

Get the picture? Vitamin D is an inside operator. The big deal about the big D is,  without it, your body tanks in a myriad ways. We’re talking about increased risk of autoimmune disease, colon and breast cancer, depression and chronic pain.

The Bad News:

According to this article from 2012, an estimated 50% of all people worldwide are deficient in Vitamin D. Whoa! 1 in 2 people lack enough of the stuff that directly modulates almost every single cell in the body. Where the thyroid is concerned, inadequate Vitamin D impacts thyroid hormone production in the pituitary gland and is often found in people suffering from autoimmune thyroid conditions, such as Hashimoto’s or Graves Disease. The biggie, though, is what a 2010 study published in the Archives of Medical Research showed that vitamin D deficiency is a major factor in thyroid cancer.

The Good News:

That same 2010 study also found that Vitamin D is protective of thyroid cells, such that they are prevented from becoming cancerous. Plenty of vitamin D is a sunbeam away!  Bikini and speedo clad bodies exposed to enough UVB sun rays just to pink you up a bit can manufacture enough Vitamin D to reach an equivalent of 25,000 IU. What’s amazing is, not just that your body is a Vitamin D factory when exposed to enough sun, but also the Vitamin D that you make lasts at least twice as long as supplemented Vitamin D in your bloodstream.

How Do You “Make” Vitamin D?

Want to be the best D-maker you can be? Of course you do! There are a few things you need to know. When UVB rays hit the surface of your skin, your skin converts a cholesterol derivative in your skin to vitamin D3. The problem is that the D3 that’s formed on your skin doesn’t immediately make it to your bloodstream. The absorption process takes up to 48 hours and requires that you don’t scrub or soap it off (you’re thinking about stinking, I know).

The thing to do is this: Get your blood level of 25-hydroxy so you have a baseline number. Then, make an effort to catch some rays every day. In the shower, wash the pits and private bits and just rinse off the rest. Re-check your levels in a few months and see if you’re making a difference.

How Much Do You Need?

The Institute of Medicine recommends 600 IU daily for adults through age 70 and 800 IU daily thereafter. Intake doesn’t really do much for you if you don’t know your blood level though, so ask your doctor for that 25-hydroxy test. Blood levels about 30 ng/mL are considered adequate, however, for people with chronic illness and autoimmune disease, many integrative doctors recommend blood levels of 60-80 ng/mL.

Talk to your doctor about a good starting amount for supplementation if your numbers aren’t in range with sun exposure or if you can’t sunbathe because of a history of skin cancer or if you’re at high risk for melanoma. A good Vitamin D supplement will be oil based Vitamin D3. You can choose liquid drops or capsules.  Re-check your levels every other month to avoid toxicity. Should you struggle to raise your levels above 30 ng/mL, you may need to add Vitamin K2 to enhance absorption or get tested for a VDR defect that could be prohibiting your body from absorbing the D.

One of the few great sources of Vitamin D as far as food goes is mushrooms. Add a handful of ‘shrooms to a beautiful miso broth, or make a tall glass of your favorite juice or smoothie and go enjoy it while lounging in the sun under a gorgeous blue sky. They’re also great in omelets or scrambles, or sauteed in a stir-fry with plenty of other veggies!

For more info, check out these sources:

unnamedrrrAbout the Author

Sarah Lawrence is a Certified Holistic Health and Integrative Nutrition Coach, Speaker and Reiki Master based in Southern NH. Sarah creates lifestyle transformations by coaching her clients to shift from their current habits into healthier ones. Her philosophy is that small changes, over time, can yield big results. By developing a technique that leverages the benefits of whole foods nutritionals, seasonal detoxification, reiki, aromatherapy, meditation and life coaching, Sarah artfully combines her knowledge from years of study in the fields of chemistry, nutrition and energy healing. Sarah leads clients from frustration due chronic health issues to elation by attaining and sustaining balanced health. Her intuitive style supports true healing on all levels. Sarah studied at Fairfield University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; she is pursuing her Masters in Clinical Nutrition and is dedicated to continuing her studies so she can provide the best support for her clients.

Connect with Sarah: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

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: The techniques, strategies, and suggestions expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author, Drew Canole, and the associated are not rendering medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. It is imperative that before beginning any nutrition or exercise program you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician. Drew Canole and claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented here.

Drew Canole

Drew Canole

CEO at
Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.

As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
Drew Canole

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