Importance of Vitamin D
Human beings — aka ‘naked apes’ — have evolved during approximately the last six million years. During almost all of that period, until quite recently, our ancestors spent most of their waking hours outdoors, in tropical regions of the Earth — buck naked, like their other primate relatives. And over time they had progressively lost the fur that is believed to have once covered their bodies. Given their lifestyle and their exposed skins, the ultraviolet-light rays from the sun blazing down upon them resulted in their skins producing fairly adequate amounts of Vitamin D for use within their bodies. Vitamin D was, and remains, essential to human health.
Strictly speaking, Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin at all — it’s a fat-soluble steroid hormone. Our bodies have evolved to produce Vitamin D for their own use, from sunlight falling upon our naked skin. Nowadays, wearing civilized clothing and moving into colder-climate regions have short-circuited this natural body process for many of us and darker skin pigmentation, whether it’s from our racial heritage or just from getting a tan, increases the amount of sunlight exposure to our skins that is required for our bodies to produce a given amount of Vitamin D.
Also, getting older, and/or smearing sunscreen compounds onto ourselves, have the same effect in this regard as darkening our skin. Some studies have estimated that 95% of the elderly adults in the United States are Vitamin-D-deficient. And, as for Canadians, who live even further North and inhabit even colder places . . .
Vitamin D Overdosing
Unless we’re Inuit folks feasting upon polar-bear livers. which can lead to fatal Vitamin-D overdose, we’re unlikely to get even an adequate amount of Vitamin D from the foods that we eat — even from those foods that have been artificially fortified with Vitamin D during processing, as milk often is nowadays. And running around naked in urban North America is liable to get us arrested. However, our bodies do appear to have a feedback-control loop that will at least prevent us from overdosing on Vitamin D just from being naked in the bright sunshine — and we’ll get major sunburns if we try to get all of our supposedly-needed 8,000 daily International Units of Vitamin D in that way, even if we do manage to avoid being jailed for ‘indecent exposure.’
For most of us non-Inuits, overdosing on Vitamin D is something that each of us would have to really try to do; it’s believed that a person would need 50,000 International Units of Vitamin D every day, for several months, to reach the point of actually succeeding in overdosing himself or herself.
Can a Person Overdose on Vitamin D?
The form of Vitamin D produced directly by our skin isn’t yet exactly what our bodies need. Our livers and our kidneys have to collaborate in turning it into the form that our muscles, bones, circulatory systems, nervous systems, and brains can use. ‘Vitamin D’ is actually a blend of multiple organic compounds. The most important of these, Vitamin D3, aka cholecalciferol, is converted by our livers into other organic compounds with even longer scientific names that our kidneys then convert still further into yet another organic compound that, unlike the original Vitamin D3 itself, can be directly used by our bodies’ metabolic processes. Vitamin D2, another of the original Vitamin-D organic compounds, undergoes a similar conversion process.
Vitamin D Deficiency
In recent years, fairly simple and inexpensive tests for Vitamin-D deficiency have come into widespread use. Testing results so far appear to show that it’s not just the old folks, but people of all ages and even children, who have scarily-high percentages of Vitamin-D deficiency — as many as half of the folks in any given age group. Vitamin-D-deficient people forfeit many major health benefits: boosting their immune-systems’ operation, reducing high blood pressure and thereby their risks of strokes and of heart attacks, and staving off autoimmune diseases and some bacterial and viral infections.
One direct result of Vitamin-D deficiency can be osteomalacia, which is called rickets when it occurs in children, and consists of poor bone formation resulting in bones that are soft and easily breakable. A similarly-caused bad health outcome, osteoporosis, is common among the elderly, and leads to ailments such as broken hip bones.
Some conditions that you may notice about yourself that should lead you to get your Vitamin-D level tested.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
- You have considerably-darkened skin, for whatever reason — your ancestry, or your tanning habits.
- You’re over fifty years old.
- You feel ‘blue,’ pointing to a shortage of your brain’s cheering-up hormone, serotonin.
- You’re overweight, obese, or a ‘real moose’ of a bodybuilder with massive muscles.
- Your bones ache.
- Your head sweats a lot.
- You have some kind of chronic ailment affecting your digestive system.
If you have the time and the money to do so, you may wish to periodically frequent a ‘tanning salon,’ and lie in a ‘tanning bed’ for a carefully controlled length of time. Be aware, however, that magnetically ballasted electric ultraviolet lights are believed to be one source of carcinogens. These light sources buzz; you should seek out a different ‘tanning salon’ whose ‘tanning-bed’ lights are controlled by pure electronics, and don’t buzz.
CLE Holistic Health offers a Vitamin-D3-supplement herbal product, packaged into convenient 5000-International-Unit gel caps, which also will provide you with several dozen-trace minerals, and doesn’t interact with any prescription medicines that you may be taking. Swallowing one of these gel caps every day, plus eating healthy food and drinking healthy beverages, should carry you forward into safe-Vitamin-D-levels territory. So, try CLE Holistic Health Vitamin D3, and see!