What is vitamin D?
A fat soluble vitamin that is produced in the skin when exposed to ultraviolet sunlight (see caveats below).
What are the claimed benefits?
Improves bone health
Improves immune function
Decreases risk of autoimmune diseases
Decreases risk of cancer
Decreases risk of heart disease
Decreases risk of premature death
What the science says
Yes to all!
While vitamin D research is constantly emerging, we know that it has critical functions in many body systems. Its role in bone health and osteoporosis are well documented.
Regarding heart disease, research shows that men who are deficient in vitamin D are twice as likely to have a heart attack as their adequate vitamin D counterparts. Low vitamin D levels are also associated with an increased risk for certain cancers including prostate, colon and breast cancers.
Vitamin D also regulates the immune system by activating T-cells that fight foreign pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Without adequate vitamin D, the immune system is slow or inadequate in its response. The invader then gains headway and sickness ensues.
As most cells in the body have vitamin D receptors, including muscle cells, research is constantly emerging about novel functions of this ubiquitous vitamin. This running tally of benefits further emphasizes the importance of adequate vitamin D for all around optimal health and disease prevention.
The Apeiron Life perspective
First, consider where you live and how much time you spend outdoors with >50% exposed skin. If, like most modern people, you spend most days indoors, wear sunscreen or protective clothing when outdoors and/or live above the 37th latitude (e.g., San Francisco, Denver and New York), then you are not getting adequate vitamin D synthesis in your skin most days of the year.
For more information on the sun exposure to boost vitamin D vs skin cancer risk debate, see the Harvard Health links below. Public health guidelines suggest 15 minutes of sun exposure per day, more for darker skin tones and less for fair skin. Always use skin protection for prolonged exposure.
Select foods also contain vitamin D such as salmon, sardines, eggs and cow’s milk, although it is difficult to consume these in adequate amounts to get enough vitamin D without consuming excess calories.
Will a supplement benefit you?
Most likely, especially if your vitamin D levels were low at your last blood draw, and definitely during the winter months.
If you try a supplement, here’s what to keep an eye on:
Since vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, a supplement is best absorbed when taken with a meal that contains some healthy fat. Keep in mind, there is added risk for accumulation and toxicity through supplements, although rare. Work with your Apeiron Life Client Advocate for a quality product, the right dose, and to monitor your vitamin D levels in your blood.