Posted Saturday, August 20, 2011 by Mark Philippi
By Tracey Philippi, BSN, RN, FLP, AFPA, NASN
Vitamin D3 is a crucial nutrient in optimal health. It is known as the sunshine vitamin because exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light will convert a form of cholesterol under the skin into vitamin D. It regulates 2,000 of the 3,000 human genes. This nutrient is best known for its role in helping to facilitate the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, thus helping to promote bone and joint health. In addition, vitamin D plays a number of roles in promoting healthy immune function. Recent studies reveal that vitamin D also plays important roles including its effects on the cardiovascular system, mood, cognitive function, environmental sensitivities, and blood sugar metabolism. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
Vitamin D deficiency has become alarmingly widespread. Even in summer months, vitamin D deficiency can occur because of sunscreens, as it blocks out the UV rays. Studies also support an up rise in deficiencies due to long hours spent at the office or school. We are spending less time outdoors than in generations gone by. (12)
A healthy adult should have levels greater than 30 ng per ml of the vitamin D indicator 25 - hydroxyvitamin D. However, the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) published in 2009, that prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (defined as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels less than 30ng/ml) in the US population increased from 55% in 1988-1994 to 77% in 2001-2004. What is more concerning is the latest statistics indicate 41.6% of the population has vitamin D deficiency (defined as serum 25 – hydroxyvitamin concentrations less than 20 ng/ml). If you are deficient in Vitamin D, you will not be efficient in absorbing enough calcium to satisfy your body’s needs. Bone health, joint function, immune function are compromised as well as other health concerns. (9, 10) Nutrient deficiencies are usually the result of dietary inadequacy, impaired absorption and use, increased requirement, or increased excretion. A vitamin D deficiency can occur when usual intake is lower than the recommended levels over time, exposure to sunlight is limited, the kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form, or absorption of vitamin D from the digestive tract is inadequate. For all of these reasons, measuring vitamin D levels is imperative as there can be significant variation in the dosages required to achieve sufficient serum levels. (11, 12)
Philippi Sports Institute recommends having vitamin D levels tested to ensure you are getting the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D. We offer blood testing at our facility.
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12. Vitamin D Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin D Supplement Fact Sheet. Last accessed November 1, 2010