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Deep Dive: Vitamin D

If you’re one of those people that loooove to sit in the sun and are obsessed with getting that sun-kissed glow in the summer, you’re probably aware of what’s happening; your body, more specifically your skin, is not only giving you the perfect tan, but it’s using those sun rays to synthesize vitamin D!

Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that everyone knows your supposed to take, but nobody really knows why. That’s exactly what you’re going to learn.

What is vitamin D?

 

As one of the four fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin D is readily stored in fat cells within the body, which means while you should be taking it daily, if you forget for a few days, it’s nothing to lose your cool over. 

The receptor for vitamin D is found in many different cells and regulates the expression of more than 900 genes involved in a wide variety of physiological functions [1]. Let’s repeat that: 900 genes—a whole lot more than you probably thought possible and it should denote just how important it really is.

Where can I get vitamin D?

 

When it comes to food sources of vitamin D, it’s a bit of a challenge to get adequate amounts if you follow a plant-based diet. Because mushrooms are about the only plant food that contains D3, your next best bet is to rely on fortified foods, which shouldn’t really be a main staple of your diet, or through direct supplementation—the preferred method for vegans.

Whole foods are obviously the best source of vitamin D and if you eat animal products, you’re in luck. Vitamin D is abundant in all sorts of them, including egg yolks, butter (dairy), meat, and fish/seafood.

D2 versus D3 – what’s better? 

 

When it comes to taking vitamin D, there are two options for you to choose from: ergocalciferol, also known as D2, and cholecalciferol, known as D3. The main difference between the two lies in, of course, their chemical structure, but also that D2 is limited to plant sources, while D3 is found in animal foods and fortified foods. D3 is also the form synthesized by the skin.

However, what you should understand is that while both are absorbed, D3 appears to be more effective at raising serum levels of vitamin D than D2, hence why most people will opt for the D3 form and is what’s also found in our Vegan D3 and B12 gummies and our Calcium with Vegan D3 gummies!

Benefits of vitamin D

As we alluded to earlier, vitamin D is a pretty powerful vitamin. You can think of it as the superman of vitamins. Here’s why:

Keeps your immune system strong

 

Now would be a good time to get your vitamin D gummies out. With the lack of sun we’re getting (thank you winter) and the seemingly non-stop spread of colds and flus, maintaining your vitamin D level is critical to keeping those bugs well outside of your social distancing 6’ bubble.

That’s because it modulates both the adaptive and innate immune system, specifically antimicrobial activity and antigen presentation (innate) and T and B lymphocyte function (adaptive) responses.

A deficiency of vitamin D has been linked to the development of autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), MS, diabetes, and IBD, as well as an increased susceptibility to illness and infection.

Maintains bone strength 

 

Vitamin D plays a huge role in keeping your bones healthy and strong. It is responsible for regulating the uptake of calcium and phosphorus from the gut, but also for stimulating osteoclast differentiation and calcium reabsorption in the kidneys, as well as promoting mineralization of the collagen matrix in bone that maintains strength.

When you’re deficient in vitamin D, parathyroid hormone (PTH) stimulates calcium mobilization from bone. It triggers osteoclasts to reabsorb bone minerals, thereby liberating calcium into blood and drawing it out of your bones.

Regulates your mood 

 

The whole thing about lack of sunshine and mood (aka seasonal affective disorder) may actually have some merit behind it. Turns out that vitamin D is a powerhouse for treating depression due to its role in synthesizing serotonin, your happy hormone, but also because vitamin D receptors are present in areas of the brain responsible for regulating mood.

Want to stay happy throughout this winter? Supplement with vitamin D.

Checks your glucose levels

 

There’s a lot of things we do that can contribute to glucose and insulin imbalances. Things like high sugar diets, refined carbohydrates, exercise (yes, it’s good but it mobilizes glucose), lack of sleep, and a whole lot more. And even as you age, glucose levels start to get a little whack.

As it stands, vitamin D can improve insulin sensitivity through its effect on its muscle cell receptors by increasing insulin receptors or increasing the sensitivity of the insulin receptor to insulin. Also, it plays a role in the modification of the function of β-cells of the pancreas, the cells that produce and secrete insulin [8]. Insulin resistance and high circulating insulin are both risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

An important part of pregnancy 

 

Ladies, if you’re looking to start a family now or anytime in the future, you need vitamin D. It plays an important role in fertility by acting on both the ovaries and the endometrium. In the ovaries, vitamin D can enhance ovulation by altering AMH (anti-Mullerian hormone) signaling, increasing FSH sensitivity, and increasing progesterone production.

 

 Get Herbaland Vegan Gummies for all your D3 needs

 

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