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Are Your Bones Getting Enough Vitamin D in Winter?

There's little doubt: Vitamin D is vital to bones and the immune system,  and most adults don't produce or consume enough Vitamin D in the winter months. Amazingly, estimates of vitamin D deficiency in the United States are currently 25-50% for adults (1)!

But why? Has this always been a problem that we're only learning about now? Or, do modern lifestyles lend themselves to vitamin D deficiency?

It's likely a little of both. Here's how you can get enough vitamin D this winter, and how it will boost your bone and immune function health!

VITAMIN D: The Basics

Vitamin D is actually not technically a vitamin in the body, but a fat-soluble hormone. It is synthesized naturally in human cells when we get enough direct sunlight, and it is also absorbed through the digestive tract.

Two forms of Vitamin D exist: D2, which is plant synthesized (ergocalciferol), and D3 (cholecalciferol) which is animal-synthesized.

Humans can actually make and utilize the active hormone form of vitamin D with either vitamin D2 or D3. However, it's much more effective to consume D3 than D2 when it comes to bone health and immune function.

What is Vitamin D Deficiency

There's not always been a consensus on what constituted vitamin D deficiency.

In years past, any level less than 10 ng/mL was deficient. However, in 2011, a new report from the Endocrine Society encouraged a higher deficiency minimum of 30 ng/mL based on their research (2). This means that more people were now considered deficient.

But, the changes didn't stop there. Based on their research, the America Heart Association petitioned for higher deficiency levels. They cited data which found a correlation between many degenerative diseases and Vitamin D status. At the same time, they wanted an upper level to be defined as 100 ng/mL since higher blood amounts were linked to arterial fibrillation.

Currently, there's still no definitive consensus or optimal number. Most experts recommend 40-60 ng/mL, which is a level that shows immune enhancements and overall health benefits.

Are you at Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency?

There are many reasons modern adults are deficient. They include:

  1. Living where direct sunlight doesn't hit your skin for months.  If you live in a more northern latitude than Atlanta, Georgia, the Earth's winter tilt reduces the number of UV rays that directly hit you.
  2. Life indoors. Work, play, relax, and sleep indoors? Modern life means less time in the sun.
  3. Not much vitamin D in usable food sources. Unfortunately, there simply aren't many great natural food sources of vitamin D. And, while seafood is a good source, pollution threatens them as a viable option.
  4. Dark-pigmented skin. Have darker skin? The melanin in dark skin actually decreases vitamin D production from sunlight.
  5. Getting Older? Each year we age, our kidneys convert less Vitamin D to its active form.
  6. Poor digestion. Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and poor digestion can decrease Vitamin D absorption. These are getting more and more common.
  7. Obesity. Did you know? Obese individuals make less Vitamin D and are more likely to be deficient.
  8. Using Sunscreen. It's important to use sunscreen to decrease the risk of skin cancer and damage. But, it does also decrease Vitamin D production by the skin.

If you're concerned get your Vitamin D levels checked. Ask for the measurement of 25-hydroxy vitamin D for the most accurate results. A good target is 40-60 ng/mL. Discuss it with your doctor (3).

How to Get Enough Vitamin D this Winter

If these factors decrease Vitamin D levels, do the opposite to increase yours:

  • Get Outside!
  • Eat wild fish when possible.
  • Eat cage-free eggs.
  • Lose weight if overweight.
  • Supplement with 1000 IU Vitamin D through Autumn and Winter using the Silical System. It provides 1000 IU per serving!

How Vitamin D Affects Immune Function

Vitamin D directly supports the immune system (4). It’s been shown to:

  • Increases the production of disease-fighting cytokines
  • Amplifies the recognition of viruses and bacteria
  • Improves the body’s anti-microbial activity
  • Supports the disruption of bacterial membranes and virus replication

How Vitamin D Affects Bone Health

Vitamin D is simply required for strong bones and muscles. It allows the bones to absorb and utilize calcium, which is vital to strong bones.

Without enough vitamin D, there is an increased risk of osteoporosis, low bone density, poor posture, bone weakness, and more.

BOTTOM LINE

Vitamin D is often low, but vitally important in winter months. But, you can get enough vitamin D in winter. Use our tips along with your  Silical System this year!

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