The phrase “make sure you get your vitamin D” is something many of us grew up hearing – and for good reason. But do you know what this much talked about “vitamin” is or what exactly it does for your body? Lucky for you, we will be unpacking just that in this blog!
What Is Vitamin D?
Contrary to popular belief, vitamin D is not, in fact, a vitamin. It is actually a nutrient that can be found naturally in many foods. Vitamin D is also a hormone that can be synthesized in your body when UV rays from sunlight hit your skin.
What Is the Difference Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3?
There are two main forms of vitamin D – vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, comes from plant-based sources and yeast. Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, comes from animal-based sources. Vitamin D3 is also the form produced in the body.
Research indicates that vitamin D3 is more potent than vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 has been shown to be far more effective at raising vitamin D levels in the body, and it is also more important for disease prevention than vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is typically used to treat calcium disorders and parathyroid disorders.
Technically, vitamin D refers to both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3, but in this blog we will be using vitamin D to reference vitamin D3.
What Does Vitamin D Do For the Body?
Vitamin D is essential for many bodily functions, one of the most important being the absorption of calcium. Your body can only absorb calcium, which is the primary component of bone, if enough vitamin D is present. As such, it is needed to maintain healthy, strong bones.
Vitamin D also has antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that help support immune health and brain function.
What Are Good Sources of Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3 can be found in oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, and dairy products. Regular sun exposure, however, is the most natural way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D. For many individuals, that is much easier said than done.
Factors such as the season, lifestyle, time of day, and your skin pigmentation can all affect the amount of vitamin D your skin synthesizes. For many of us, our vitamin D production may decrease or stop altogether during the winter months. During the summer months, we wear sunscreen, which is needed to prevent skin cancer. However while wearing sunscreen is advisable, doing so also decreases vitamin D production, leaving many of us deficient in this essential nutrient and hormone.
What Are the Risks of a Vitamin D Deficiency?
There are many health issues that can be caused by a vitamin D deficiency. You may be deficient in vitamin D if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Anxiety and depression
- Bone and back pain
- Frequent illness
- Impaired wound healing
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
- Weight gain
How to Prevent a Vitamin D Deficiency
Since dietary options for vitamin D are limited and infrequent, and direct sunlight is not safe for skin health or always feasible, the best way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D is by taking dietary supplements. Ideally, you should be taking anywhere from 2,000-5,000 UI per day of vitamin D3 in order to prevent nutritional deficiencies and the development of disease states. But this is best determined by having a vitamin D blood level done.
Now that you know just how important vitamin D is, we hope you will make sure to get your vitamin D going forward! At Revivele, we are currently in the process of developing comprehensive supplement stacks that have been specifically created to optimize women’s health, and vitamin D3 is one of the ingredients in our stacks. For more health-related information and to find out when our product is released, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn!