They call it the sunny vitamin. During the summer days, you can get plenty of vitamin D. However, during the winter months, there are not many sunny days. And that means there is no good source for vitamin D. Vitamin D is a proven booster for your health, so it is important to get loads of it. How can you source it? And which health conditions are related to vitamin D?
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, you must first understand that vitamin D is not, in fact, a vitamin. Instead, vitamin D is a neuroregulatory steroid hormone that has a key role to play in your overall health. Getting enough vitamin D can reduce the risk of several diseases by 50%. Just so you know, vitamin D affects 3,000 of 24,000 genes in your body. That being said, let’s take a look at several conditions affected by the vitamin.
As mentioned, vitamin D affects 3,000 of your 24,000 genes. That is 1/8 of your total genes. One of those genes is the gene that fights chronic inflammation and infection. This gene enhances the production of 200 antimicrobial peptides. And vitamin D regulates its production, which is the reason the vitamin helps with the common cold and influenza.
Just to name a few conditions that vitamin D can help with:
– Reduces pregnancy risk
– Reduces the risk of diabetes 1 and diabetes 2
– Reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease
– Reduces the chances of getting a viral or bacterial infection
– Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and similar brain disorders
It all comes down to the gene activity. Patients with the disease have low serum vitamin D levels. Studies showed out of seven DNA sequence variations, two were associated with vitamin D levels. That means that depending on your level of the sunshine vitamin, the symptoms can either worsen or improve.
Pain and Depression
You do not need many studies to know this. When the sun is shining, you feel better. Once the winter months hit, you instantly feel depressed, or at least melancholic.
Now, while you cannot get much vitamin D during the winter months, or when it rains, you can source vitamin D from food or supplements.
One study, in particular, showed that vitamin D supplements can reduce symptoms of depression in women.
During the study, women were examined for neuropathic pain and sensory pain. At the beginning, 61% reported neuropathic pain, and 74% reported sensory pain.
They were given vitamin D2 supplement once a week for six months. By the end of the study, all participants experienced lower levels of depression. According to the lead scientist, vitamin D can help treat depression, as well as pain caused by type 2 diabetes.
Difference between D3 and D2
People think that there is no difference between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. In fact, there is a huge difference. Let’s explain it.
According to many studies, D3 is the best form of vitamin D for the body. Vitamin D3 is called cholecalciferol, and it is the naturally occurring form of D vitamin. Our body produces the vitamin when our skin comes in contact with direct sunlight. Vitamin D2, on the other hand, is a derivative of ergosterol. This is the form found in most vegan and vegetarian vitamin D supplements.
Simply put, vitamin D3 is far superior. Studies have shown the superiority of D3, and the inadequacy of D2.
Can vitamin D reduce the risk of breast cancer?
Professor Kefah Mokbel is a famous breast cancer surgeon. He is one of the leading cancer researchers and scientists in the area of breast cancer. He believes that women should take vitamin D supplements on a daily basis. According to his research, doing that can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
In his estimates, taking daily supplements would save about 1,000 lives per year. And he goes a step further. Professor Mokbel recommends women above 20 should be given free vitamin D supplements as a form of prevention.
Breast cancer is not the only type of cancer vitamin D can prevent. According to different studies, the vitamin has protective qualities against other forms and types of cancer. This includes pancreatic, skin, ovarian, lung, and prostate cancer.
What is the optimal vitamin D level?
Maintaining an optimal level of vitamin D is crucial for your overall health. We mentioned how many conditions and diseases are linked to vitamin D deficiency. But the question is, what is the optimal value?
According to many studies, the minimum is 40ng/ml. However, if you want to be sure, the ideal is between 60 and 80ng/ml.
How can you check? There are two vitamin D tests. If you have never tested your vitamin D levels, it might be a good time to do it now. The two tests are 1.25(OH)D and the 25(OH)D tests. According to many, the 25(OH)D is the better marker for the overall status of vitamin D in your system. This is the marker associated with overall health, making it better for testing.
A simple lifestyle change, which will increase your vitamin D from 40 to 60ng/ml will prevent more than 50,000 new cases of colorectal cancer, and more than 60,000 new cases of breast cancer. A healthy dose of vitamin D is what can reduce the case-fatality rates of people with cancer. So, test your levels, and if they are below the minimum, do something.
How to consume vitamin D supplements?
In addition to getting vitamin D supplements, you must follow some other guidelines. For starters, you also need to get proper sun exposure to boost the levels of the sunshine vitamin. And when you consume vitamin D supplements, source vitamin K from your diet, as it bonds great with the sunshine vitamin.