VITAMIN D The Vitamin that’s a Hormone by Dr. Melissa Miskell, August 2015.
Vitamin D is misnamed, since it’s technically not a vitamin – it’s a hormone. Vitamins have to be ingested because your body can’t produce them, but your body can produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D is your body’s first line of defense against inflammation, and inflammation is now being seen as the beginning of just about every disease process.
As a society, we are universally low in vitamin D. The reason for this stems from the fact that we’ve become an inside society, and from wearing sunscreen when outside. In order to get the proper amount of sun exposure to maintain good vitamin D3 levels, you would need to expose your torso and back for thirty minutes per day – and most of us don’t even come close to this amount of exposure daily.
There are only small amounts of vitamin D in a few foods, and it’s not easily absorbable, making it nearly impossible to get what you need from food. Most of those foods also aren’t part of a vegetarian or vegan diet – fatty fish, egg yolks, beef liver, cod liver oil, mushrooms.
If you want to achieve optimum health and wellness and you regularly avoid sunlight or use sunblock, it’s a good idea to supplement your diet with liquid vitamin D3 daily. Supplementing with vitamin D3 may help maintain healthy bone density and teeth, and also provide the following benefits:
- Promote efficient utilization by the body of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc.
- Aid healthy immune system function.
- Promote healthy cognitive function and mood, preventing depression. (Don’t you feel better outdoors, on a sunny day?)
Vitamin D testing. Testing should be part of a normal visit for hormone tests, and involves a simple blood draw. It’s a relatively inexpensive supplement, available through healthcare providers or health food stores, in gelcaps or as an easily absorbable liquid.
D is essential to good health, working in conjunction with other hormones to provide a higher quality of life and a feeling of wellbeing – and they all work together much better than they do separately.
Dr. Melissa Miskell is a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist specializing in bio-identical hormones, anti-aging, and overall wellness at Focus Women’s Health, providing vitamin D testing and supplements. Austin, San Antonio, New Braunfels, Boerne. (512) 470-7200, www.FocusTotalHealth.com