We regularly hear something that sounds like: “Watch out for the sun! It can give cancer and kill us.” We therefore protect ourselves with cream containing an SPF (sun protection factor). Unfortunately, our bodies don’t make vitamin D when we put on an SPF of 15 or higher. Why, you ask? Well, with an SPF of 15, the sun’s rays are 97% blocked! However, we know that vitamin D is produced in our skin by the sun, by ultraviolet B rays, also called UVB rays. We, who live north of the 45th parallel therefore have a “manufacturing” problem, because these ultraviolet rays arrive between 10-11 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. only during the summer season.
It all depends on where we live
Our relationship with the sun greatly depends on where we are. Obviously, a person who lives in the Congo will have fewer problems since the sun and ultraviolet B rays are present all year round. When you go on a trip to the South, it is very important to protect yourself with a proper sunscreen, as the sun is stronger there.
It’s not the same here! We make vitamin D between the March equinox and the September equinox; so basically, during the summer. On the other hand, we do not really know when we should start to expose ourselves to the sun. Is it in March or rather, in April? From year to year, that can change due to the seasons and global warming. What we do know is that the sun does not change its inclination, however.
For those like me who work indoors, you probably use your dinner hours to soak up the summer sun and get a healthy dose of vitamin D. But when the weekend comes and we take advantage of it to stay all day outside, where we put cream so as not to burn.
It can quickly be concluded that we do not have enough vitamin D and that the vast majority of us are deficient.
An important vitamin for our health
Vitamin D is useful for several things and has a real impact on hormones, calcium, the immune system and the nervous system. While vitamin D deficiency is linked to:
- No more depression
- No more seasonal affective disorder
- Neuronal plasticity
- Cognitive decline
This list could be even longer… In fact, even pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D increase the risk of schizophrenia in their baby boys. It’s starting to have an impact.
Can we meet our vitamin D needs with just food? Briefly, a glass of milk contains 100 units (IU) and a salmon steak contains 300 units. For people with inflammation-related problems, it is recommended to consume 75 IU per kg per day, while for others, it is referred to as 50 IU per kg per day. These amounts are massive compared to what we’ve been told, “Don’t overdo it because it just builds up; you’re going to have toxicity”. This fear is unfounded, because below 10,000 IU per day there is no toxicity. Therefore, 10,000 units a day is not a danger for the average adult. We are going to start talking about toxicity at the threshold of 100,000 or more. We are very far from that!
In addition to not making this essential vitamin, it is difficult to get enough from our diet. You still have to make sure you don’t run out of vitamin D.
What about supplements?
On the market, we find two types of vitamin D.
On one hand, we have D3 which is of animal origin. This is made from sheep lanolin. Know that these animals do not suffer at all since the lanolin is taken from the wool that has already been shorn from the sheep. It’s easy, inexpensive, and cruelty-free.
On the other hand, it is D2 which is of plant origin. This source of vitamin D is made from yeast and fungi. What you should know is that the D2 is 30% less efficient than the D3.
But how do you choose from all the brands available? Well, I advise you to take the private label brands. I know I’m probably going to make enemies with this advice, as some people are suggesting a particular brand due to it being in oil. But, for vitamin D, you can simply eat fatty foods on the side and that should be enough. In terms of absorption, there is no difference between the little white pills and the high-end product.
In closing, let me list some interesting cofactors to keep in mind:
- Vitamin K2 goes well with D3,