You might be surprised to learn that Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but actually a hormone that affects nearly 3,000 of your 25,000 genes, making it a star player in your immune response.
People who suffer from cancer, depression, bone diseases and more can look to Vitamin D deficiency as a probable cause. Those of us who live in apartments, or who haven’t been uncovered in the sun for years, might want to have a health provider test for Vitamin D.
Several years ago, there was a big push from the medical community to test middle-aged women and women on Medicare for just such a deficiency. Almost everyone tested came back so low in this vital hormone that doctors were prescribing Vitamin D like crazy—a series of five tablets. Then, nothing. There was no follow up to determine if a supplement might be in order.
Dr. Ron Hunninghake, Chief Medical Officer of the Riordan Clinic in Wichita, and a frequent speaker at GreenAcres’ popular “Breakfast With” seminars, says that Vitamin D needs a chaser to get it where it does the most good in the system, namely K2. (But that’s a subject for a whole ‘nother blog. Today, we’re zeroing in on Vitamin D.)
Vitamin D is produced in the system as a pro-hormone in your skin after it is exposed to sunlight. Then, once absorbed, it is converted to the potent hormone acting as a nutrient to your bones and a miracle nutrient for your immune system.
We have several GreenAcres customers who swear by Vitamin D. They attest to its ability to keep them healthy in the midst of the cold and flu season. But the hormone does so much more. A recent study conducted at Oregon State University concluded: “…one key part of the immune system, the ability of vitamin D to regulate anti-bactericidal proteins, is so important that it has been conserved through almost 60 million years of evolution and is shared only by primates, including humans – but no other known animal species.”
Another study—this one from Japan—showed school children taking Vitamin D supplements were 58% less likely to catch influenza A. Dr. Joseph Mercola, whom we quote often in our blogs, says in one of his newsletters “That’s a higher effectiveness than any flu vaccine can claim, and doesn’t come with a barrage of potentially devastating side effects! There are numerous studies like these, showing the superior effectiveness of natural strategies like vitamin D in the prevention of disease.”
Exposure to the sun is our best source of Vitamin D, and this is where Dr. Mercola explains our “sunless situation” so well: “Unfortunately,” he says, “it’s been suggested that only about 30 percent of Americans’ circulating vitamin D is the product of sunlight exposure, which is an unfortunate byproduct of public health agencies’ misguided advice to stay out of the sun to avoid cancer (when in fact vitamin D from sun exposure will prevent cancer). Another obvious reason is the majority of us work indoors, and when not working, do not spend enough time enjoying outdoor recreation.
Occasional sunlight exposure to your face and hands is insufficient for vitamin D nutrition for most people. To optimize your levels, you need to expose large portions of your skin to the sun, and you may need to do it for more than a few minutes. Contrary to popular belief, the best time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is actually as near to solar noon as possible. Ultraviolet light from the sun comes in two main wavelengths — UVA and UVB. It’s important for you to understand the difference between them, and your risk factors from each.
First there is UVB, the healthy wavelengths that help your skin produce vitamin D. Then there is UVA, which is generally considered the unhealthy wavelengths because they penetrate your skin more deeply and cause more free radical damage. Not only that, but UVA rays are quite constant during ALL hours of daylight, throughout the entire year — unlike UVB, which are low in morning and evening, and high at midday.
So to use the sun to maximize your vitamin D production and minimize your risk of skin damage, the middle of the day (roughly between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) is the best and safest time. During this UVB-intense period you will need the shortest sun exposure time to produce the most vitamin D.
As far as the optimal length of exposure, you only need enough to have your skin turn the lightest shade of pink. This may only be a few minutes for those who have very pale skin.
Once you have reached this point your body will not make any additional vitamin D and any further exposure will only result in damage to your skin. Most people with fair skin will max out their vitamin D production in just 10-20 minutes, or, again, when their skin starts turning the lightest shade of pink. Some will need less, others more. The darker your skin, the longer exposure you will need to optimize your vitamin D production.
If sun exposure is not an option, a safe tanning bed (with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF fields) can be used, or alternatively as a last resort, a vitamin D3 supplement can be taken orally.”
And this is where GreenAcres comes in. We have many Vitamin D3 options for those who have tested deficient or those who believe they are since they never take the sun. Come in and ask our supplement market team which Vitamin D in which price range and pill form might be best for you.