Last year I had a blood test thru Athlete Blood Test (ABT) company that showed that I was deficient in Vitamin D. While I was not surprised to some degree, as it was during the winter and that my German/Italian blonde hair and blue eyes, never liked to be in the sun because I always got burned so easily with this type of genetics. With this Blood test, I was able to truly understand the implications of having low or deficient levels of Vitamin D in the body. Some symptoms low levels of Vitamin D include fatigue/tiredness, back pain, depression, bone/hair loss, muscle pain and weak immunity and frequent sickness.
I have been a Pescetarian (fish eating Vegetarian) and for many years and my key sources of Vitamin D include tuna, salmon, minimal dairy and desiccated liver and eggs quite regularly. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, maintains blood pressure and helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Additionally, this vitamin plays an essential role in thyroid function, preserving a strong nervous system, proper cardiac function and immune system.
There are two types of Vitamin D supplements sources, D2 (ergocalciferol) is primarily from yeast and mushrooms and is the cheapest form of this supplement. D3 (cholecaliferol) is derived from fish, carnivorous and omnivores animals and is produced in their skin and oils of the hair/fur. Why while D3 is more expensive, it is more efficiently absorbed in stabilizing/reducing deficiency in the body at approximate 5 to 10 times quicker.
There are several studies that say that over 70 to 90% of individuals in North America are deficient in Vitamin D. This is primarily due to the culture of being afraid of the sun and always being lathered in some type of SPF 50 plus protection. The simplest and most effective way to increase Vitamin D in the body is be in the sun. This requires approximately 15-20 minutes, and this allows the body to manufacture approximately 10,000 international units of Vitamin D. This is a problem for most individuals as we spent approximately 90% of our time indoors, at a computer, office cubicle and lack the outdoor experience on regular basis.
The USRDA for Vitamin D is between 400-800 IUs (International Units) and many health care providers suggest much higher level of this. Once my low levels of Vitamin D were discovered, I added 800 IU twice a day along with 3 Cod Liver Oils in the evening before bed. Post 8-week supplement consumption there was a mild increase in Vitamin D by 33% from 32 to 43.9 (Normal Range is between 30 and 110).
Here are several key factors that influence Vitamin D absorption and they are as follows, eating enough of healthy fats (olive oil, flax seed oil, butter and coconut oil), proper functioning digestion or stomach/small intestine and adequate Magnesium in the diet. Each one of these play an essential role for proper absorption of Vitamin D.
While I am well on my way to improving my Vitamin D level thru some Spring and Summer sunlight, D3 supplementation and continued dietary consumption, the essential importance of this Vitamin in my overall health and athletic performance will continue to improve over time and regular quarterly blood testing monitoring.