Have you ever questioned whether there was just one nutrient that may help prevent Heart Disease, Cancer (especially breast, prostate and colon), Osteoporosis, Alzheimer's Disease, Depression, Diabetes, Obesity, Renal Issues, High Blood Pressure, Metabolic Syndrome and much more? Well, there may be that one nutrient. Join me as I bring to light little known facts about Vitamin D.

Given the optimum advantages of Vitamin D, it is not surprising that this nutrient is constantly in the news. New research emerges every day showing the important role Vitamin D plays in our lives. This micronutrient is one of the most useful tools we have for creating optimum health.

Vitamin D is really both a vitamin and a prohormone. The two forms of Vitamin D are Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is the most absorbable and thus, the most effective. Vitamin D2 is not as absorbable due to the synthetic nature of it. Vitamin D is not obtained by food to any significant degree (best sources are liver, egg yolks, and fish) and it was not meant to be taken orally. We are, however, meant to receive the benefits through sunlight. The human body manufactures Vitamin D from sunlight (UVB Rays) when the sun's rays reach the skin. But due to fear of skin cancer, we are applying sun screen and staying indoors away from the sun. These two actions alone have created a deficiency epidemic of Vitamin D in North America. Additional reasons for Vitamin D deficiency are: living above the Northern latitudes (at 51 degrees latitude and above), obesity, color of your skin (darker skin), your age, pollution and the season (Summer vs. Winter). It has become increasingly clear that the majority of Americans are deficient in this vital nutrient.

There is ample research showing that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with Inflammation, Obesity, Type-2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Psoriasis, Fibromyalgia, Osteoporosis, Cancer, Kidney Stones, Alzheimer's Disease, Common Cold and Influenza. Vitamin D is thought to have a part in regulating the immune system.

To obtain enough of this vitamin, first ensure that you are deficient. You can do this by asking your doctor for a simple standard blood test called 25(OH)D. If your test results indicate you are below 80nmol/l, you are indeed deficient and need additional Vitamin D3. The current recommendation is oral supplementation of 400 IU per day and this is very outdated. This recommended doasage is based on a disease referred to as Rickets - an abnormal bone disease, not based on the amount needed to promote optimum health. The recent updated recommendation through physicians, health organizations and researchers for Vitamin D3 is 1,000 IU - 2,000 IU per day. Vitamin D is considered very safe up to 10,000 IU per day. Food supplemented with Vitamin D is not very effective due to the use of synthetic Vitamin D2. Spending 20 minutes in the morning sun every day with 40% of your skin exposed is an alternative to oral supplementation.

It is very clear that in order to promote optimum health and to prevent major disease and illness, we need to ensure that our level of Vitamin D3 is adequate. By doing so, we can help create a long and healthy life.

Could it be that this tiny vitamin can do all that? Research indicates yes.

Lori L. Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC

Author's Bio: 

Lori L. Shemek is Founder and President of DLS HealthWorks, LLC. At DLS HealthWorks we truly care about our clients. We strive to create optimum health through motivation, guidance and gentle support. Lori also utilizes the process of Co-Active Coaching to further ensure success for her clients. Lori has had much success guiding clients throught many health, nutrition and weight loss issues at every level of health.