“Why wouldn’t you take vitamin D3”, should be your answer to the title above after reading this article.
First of all let’s answer a few fundamental questions and find out what vitamin D3 actually is where it comes from and is it actually a vitamin?
Vitamin D3 is not a vitamin it is actually a pro-hormone
I can hear you gasp in shock at this but it is actually true, vitamin D3 is a pro-hormone and not a vitamin. Ok smarty pants what’s a pro-hormone, I hear you say.
Let’s use cholesterol and testosterone as an example; cholesterol can be considered a pro-hormone that can be converted in the body to make the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone is a powerful anabolic steroid that is made from the pro-hormone cholesterol.
A vitamin on the other hand cannot be converted into a hormone….like ever!
Ok we get that vitamin D3 is a pro-hormone but how is it made? Vitamin D3 is made naturally in your body by the action of sunlight contacting your skin (hence the term ‘the sunshine molecule’). Cholesterol in your skin reacts with sunlight’s energy to produce vitamin D3. So in this example we have the pro-hormone cholesterol making another pro-hormone vitamin D3. For ease of discussion I will refer to vitamin D3 as a vitamin for the rest of this article.
That’s all very well and good but why should we supplement with vitamin D3?
Unless you can access sensible ‘full body’ daily sun exposure there is a good chance you are going to be vitamin D3 deficient. Maybe it’s time to move to Florida!!
Almost every tissue and cell type in the body has receptors for vitamin D, this means almost every tissue and cell type in our body has a way of interacting and utilising this vitamin in a positive way.
Why does vitamin D3 have a positive impact on our health?
Let’s have a look at what a lack of vitamin D3 can do to our health so that we can better understand why having optimal levels can be such a positive thing.
- Vitamin D3 deficiency is common in people with cardiovascular disease and there’s no shortage of compelling human studies that show a correlation between low levels of vitamin D and cardiovascular health/risk.
- A vitamin D3 deficiency makes you more likely to develop and progress to insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes.
- Optimal vitamin D3 levels can drastically slash your risk of cancer.
- Age related macular degeneration, chronic inflammation and dementia are also very real risks factors associated with low Vitamin D3 levels.
- The occurrence and severity of the common cold, flu, pneumonia and epileptic seizure can be reduced with optimal vitamin D3 levels.
So how would we know if we have enough vitamin D3 in our system?
The simple answer to this is you need to run a blood test to find out what your levels are. Thankfully this is easy to do and inexpensive for those of us in the UK. You can visit https://www.medichecks.com/vitamin-d-tests/vitamin-d-25-oh and they will send you out a home sample kit that is very easy to use, results normally take 2 days to receive. If you get your vitamin D3 levels checked make sure to use ‘TRUEWEALTH10’ for an immediate 10% discount on your test (every little helps).
According to Dr Mercola (www.mercola.com) the optimal vitamin D3 levels are as follows:
I would tend to agree with these levels despite what your doctor may or may not say as a whole lot of research is pointing towards optimal vitamin D3 levels being in this range. Also, if your results do show you as having low vitamin D3 it is common practice for doctors to prescribe high doses of vitamin D3 in the absence of taking vitamin K2 which is not best practice as vitamin K2 activates Osteocalcin and matrix gla protein which are two key proteins that are up regulated by vitamin D3 and are responsible for the correct placement of calcium in our human systems.
How to optimise your vitamin D3 levels
The simple answer to this (for us in the UK) is to supplement with a well dosed good quality vitamin D3 supplement. I would recommend starting at a dose of 5000 IU a day and re-testing your levels after 3 months and then increasing the dose if your levels are still bellow 50mg/ml (125nmol/litre for us in the UK). If your levels are above this range then just stay as you are with 5000 IU vitamin D3 a day….there is no hard and fast rule here as everyone is unique and different so just concentrate on your vitamin D3 levels.
If you want/need to take a vitamin D3 dose of 10,000 IU and above I would recommend adding 100mcg of vitamin K2 to your daily protocol.
Another way to increase your Vitamin D3 levels is to use a sun bed that is UVB and not UVA. UVB sun beds will produce vitamin D3 where as UVA do not.
And last but not least good old fashion sun bathing is the natural way to get your vitamin D3 levels up but for most of us that don’t live in a sunny climate this is unfortunately unrealistic.
It has been said that if everyone in the UK optimised their vitamin D3 levels then the NHS waiting list would be cut in half! How accurate this is it is hard to tell but I would imagine it’s not that far from the truth. That’s pretty impressive for one small vitamin/pro-hormone wouldn’t you say?