Vitamin D is absolutely critical to health and most Americans are deficient if they don’t take a supplement. Technically, it is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body converts into a hormone and every cell in the body appears to have vitamin D receptors. For millennia, Vitamin D was produced in the skin with exposure to sunlight, but only a rare person receives enough sunlight on their skin today to produce enough vitamin D to meet their needs. There are two forms of Vitamin D that come in supplement form, Vitamin D2 and D3, with D2 having 20% of the activity of D3. The discussion below refers to the Vitamin D3 form.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with:
- Osteoporosis fractures, loss in bone density, and bone pain
- Increase risk for cancer (especially breast, prostate, colon, and pancreas).
- Increased risk for autoimmune disease, (especially multiple sclerosis).
- Increased risk for cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s, and depression
- Elevated blood pressure and increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other forms of cardiovascular disease.
- Increased risk for diabetes.
Unfortunately, unless people take a supplement with Vitamin D, most people in American today have low vitamin D levels and are at elevated risk for these major problems.