Ain’t No Sunshine
Vitamins are nutrients that our bodies can’t make, we need to eat them. Vitamin D however, is the exception. Although we can eat food from vitamin D sources, our bodies are also well equipped to create it from the start.
Bioactive vitamin D or calcitriol is a steroid hormone known for its important role in regulating levels of phosphorus and calcium in our bodies. It’s a molecule group that includes vitamin d 3 cholecalciferol and vitamin d 2 ergocalciferol.
Vitamin D3 Sources
The best sources of Vitamin D3 is the flesh of fatty fish like tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines and fish liver oils. There isn’t a huge variety of vitamin d rich foods and with the best sources coming from a fat fish, they aren’t that big a favourite thing among kids. That’s why food companies are adding vitamin D to juice, milk, yoghurt, cereals, and baby formula etc. Just be aware of the sugar content of these products.
Vitamin D2 can be found in the plant oils of raw mushrooms (either growing wild or treated with UV light), almond milk, rice and soy milk, and fortified orange juice.
Vitamin D2 and D3 perform similar roles in our bodies. Scientists are not sure whether vitamin d2 is better than vitamin d3 although some studies found that D3 is more effective than D2, in raising vitamin D levels in the body.
Vitamin D3 Deficiencies
With low vitamin D blood levels, symptoms can manifest in mood changes, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, involuntary contraction of muscles that causes painful spasms or cramps, painful and brittle bones, and muscle fatigue.
Let The Sunshine In
Our bodies are designed to construct vitamin d from the sun. Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from sunlight powers up vitamin D3 in the cholesterol in our skin from where it gets metabolised in the kidneys and liver to be distributed throughout our bodies.
To maintain a healthy amount of vitamin D3 in our blood levels we would need to spend around 10 - 30 minutes in unfiltered sunlight, at least 3 x per week. If you have sensitive skin though, take it easy. There are other fabulous ways to get your rays.
Saying hello to sunshine through a window is also not the real deal as the glass blocks the UVB rays but not the UVA ones, which are honestly just as bad on your skin.
People living in countries closer to the equator can more readily obtain this sunny vitamin through their skin alone. But in cloudy climates and cooler parts of the northern hemisphere, getting sun-soaked with the right intensity of sunshine, happens only in summer, which is also short in some regions. Even people living below 41 degrees latitude can run out of vitamin D in their system as a sunless result.
And although we may have ample sunshine, our lifestyle keeps us indoors. Most adults and kids simply don’t spend enough time outdoors and when we get outside, we cover ourselves from top to bottom with sunscreen to prevent skin damage, premature ageing, and cancer.
With the pandemic, statista.com reported that during 2020, the global sunscreen market generated a revenue of 9.3 billion USD, 600 million USD less than post pandemic, confirming that people spend more time inside due to isolation anyway.
Below are some individuals at risk of not getting enough vitamin d sun benefits:
- elderly people with ageing skin’s diminished potential to synthesise Vit D from the sun because they’re sick, bedridden, or avoiding the hot sun altogether
- dark-skinned people with melanin in their skin are twice as effective to inhibit UVB from penetrating the skin
- obese people. Although vitamin D is fat soluble and distributed into fat, muscle, and the liver, it needs to be increased in volume in obesity that leads to diluted and low vitamin D blood levels. Obese people also tend to expose less skin to the sun
- people with kidney or liver disease, as these are the organs where vitamin D is stored, and absorption is impaired
- people that are completely covered for religious reasons
- and people using medicines that affect their photosensitivity.
Babies are also at risk when they’re born prematurely or breast-fed exclusively and children may also become deficient and exhibit symptoms of rickets because of their skin colour or living in the northern hemisphere with five to seven months winters and very little skin exposure to the sun.
Vitamin D3 Benefits
Vitamin D3 joins forces with calcium in a class act of human body-building. Even if we’re taking calcium supplements, without sufficient vitamin D in our blood levels, it could be wasted. With calcium by its side, the vitamin D3 benefits boost strong bones and teeth, work beautifully on our nerves and our brains, and strengthen our cardiovascular system.
Calcium and vitamin D work relentlessly in providing us with a feisty immune system too, hence the advice of numerous physicians to soak up some sun in this pandemic time. Studies have also shown that vitamin D reduces the risk of diabetes and helps to prevent strokes.
In this clinical trial with severe symptoms of vitamin d deficiency identified in tired participants between 18 and 50 years of age, the question was asked: does vitamin D3 give you energy. After taking 10 000 IU of vitamin D3 supplements on alternative days for twelve weeks, all participants (including 2 persons from the sunny Caribbean!) were tested with marked improvement.
Catch Your Ray In One Spray
VIIT SCIENCE has developed a highly effective vitamin D3 supplement in the form of a sublingual oral spray in apple flavour, for rapid delivery and absorption. One VIIT Radiance spritz per day for 90 days, delivers 50mcg or 2000 IU vitamin d in spray form.
A blood test could confirm low vitamin d 3 levels or severe deficiencies in someone who needs vitamin D supplements but if you know your dinner table doesn’t see a fat fish frequently and you’ve only heard “here comes the sun”, you can always invite vitamin D3’s wonderful wellness with a touch of sun for a happy and healthy you.