Here Goes the Sun… D, D, D3!

Unfortunately… it’s coming. I don’t even want to say it out loud, for fear that it will get here more quickly if I say it… like saying Bloody Mary or Candyman too many times in the mirror…. but I really have no choice if this article is going to happen… Winter. Winter is coming!!! Here in upstate NY, we’ve already had our first utility-crushing snow storm and now that the clocks have fallen back, it’s dark by the time I get home from work. So why does it matter? Because with the sun goes the D. For those of us that are stuck at desks all day, it is nearly impossible to get outside during the sunny hours in the first place, and winter makes it even more difficult. The sun isn’t as strong and it’s not in the sky as long. So with the shortened light-hours, goes the D. At least the free, easy to get D. And possibly the only form that can go through the proper channels to become totally USABLE D. This is something that I will probably talk about a lot (maybe even more than my hatred for high fructose corn syrup) – soluability. usability. bioavailable-ness-ity. Whatever you want to call it. If you take a vitamin that isn’t in a form your body can use, you’re not only wasting your money – you might even be hurting yourself. This is a huge topic that would take much more than a Monday night blog post to cover – so let’s just start with D.

How to get D when it’s not sad and snowy and dark: go out in the sun. A form of cholesterol in your skin reacts with UVB light to synthesize vitamin D. This D is transported to the liver where it is converted into calcidiol. The calcidiol then passes to the kidneys where it is converted again – this time into calcitriol. Calcitriol is the active form of vitamin D that most refer to as D3. Some researchers consider this form of vitamin D the only truly active form – so it’s important that the rays you absorb make it all the way through this process.

This is where I meet my first tiny wall… what about sunscreen? We’ve all been trained that sunscreen is important, but if you need UVB rays to get vitamin D… you see where I’m going with this… I like to use sunscreen if I’m going to be exposed to a ton of sun during the hottest part of the day. Otherwise, I opt-out for maximum D-absorption. But that’s a choice that each person has to make on their own.

So back to what got me here in the first place – what about winter? If I can’t get sun, what is the next best option? Last year my doctor told me I was D-ficient and that scared me. I was a sad mess by the end of winter and I don’t want that to happen again. So I have to supplement. But what form? What about brands?

There are two forms of Vitamin D supplements – some derived from plant sources and others from animal sources – and the two are not created equal. As previously discussed, when UVB rays interact with cholesterol in your skin, the vitamin D process begins. Since plants lack cholesterol, the plant versions are already a step behind. While the plant-derived D can be used, it doesn’t seem to have all of the same functions as the cholesterol based D3. This is why the animal-derived D supplements are recommended and preferred.

[Time to plug my Shaklee business – the Shaklee D3 supplement is derived from the natural fat found in lambs wool. Go to wrnhc.myshaklee.com for more info.]

There’s so much more to know about vitamin D – I just decided to make it my November topic. So I’ll be back to address all of the functions, uses and requirements of vitamin D as well as signs of deficiency and toxicity. See below for links to more info on D, and as far as the upcoming dark days are concerned…. Don’t get sad – get D!

NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements D Page – http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind

Dr. Andrew Weil D Page – http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02812/vitamin-d

Shaklee D3 – http://wrnhc.myshaklee.com/us/en/products.php?sku=21214

Want a book instead? I like “Staying Healthy with Nutrition” by Elson M. Haas, MD.

Until later, I’m off to get a good night’s sleep – it is only Monday after all.

**This post was re-blogged from my original, free Wild Rose NHC blog. The original post was dated November 7, 2011