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Vitamin D
writes, "Are you getting enough Vitamin D? Here are some tips for getting the right amount for your body."
Vitamin D receptors are found all over the body from the digestive tract, bones, brain, breast, prostate, to our white blood cells. The wide spread presence of these receptors throughout the body's most vital systems gives us a clue as to how indispensible and versatile Vitamin D is in our physiology.

Adequate levels of vitamin D are associated with protection from diabetes, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, auto-immune diseases, colon, breast and prostate cancer.

The populations with common deficiencies include babies, pregnant women and senior citizens. Folks with the chronic diseases mentioned above and particularly those with chronic low back pain should also be tested. Seasonal testing, especially during winter, is appropriate for those of us living in the Northwest, as we live at a higher latitude and don't enjoy as much sunlight in the winter months.

The benefits of vitamin D are becoming increasingly well-known and therefore fortified foods are becoming more and more common. Food sources of vitamin D include milk, fatty fish such as wild pacific salmon, cod liver oil, egg yolks and beef liver.

The best time of day for Vitamin D production is near noon and it takes about between 15-80 minutes to produce 10,000 units, depending on your skin tone. The lighter your skin the faster you make vitamin D. That means dark skin can take up to 80 minutes in direct sunlight with arms and legs exposed to the prime time sunlight (12-2 pm) to make 10,000 units. By staying in the sun until skin just starts turning pink, one can make between 10,000-50,000 units of Vitamin D.

You want to stay in the sun long enough to "pink up," but not burn. Pro-oxidative sun damage can be held in check by antioxidants in body such as berries, nuts, cruciferous veggies, green tea, and olive or flax seed oil. Levels of sun exposure have been shown to reduce cancer risk when combined with sufficient amounts of antioxidants in the diet.

Which form of Vitamin D is best absorbed? D2, a common form of vitamin D, is found in many supplements but does not have much biological action in the body. D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is best absorbed and has the most biological action.

How much Vitamin D should I take? It is important that the level of Vitamin D be tested prior to supplementation to ascertain a personís individual needs and to avoid Vitamin D toxicity. Remember, unlike with oral supplementation, the body regulates Vitamin D from sunlight through the skin and therefore there have been no reports of sunlight related Vitamin D toxicity.

Laura Glenn, ND
Naturopathic Doctor


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