Vitamin D: All That D Can Be

Vitamin D a Hormone?

Vitamin D? Nah, it’s a vitamin. What’s with the hormone thing? Yep, it’s a hormone. Discovered in 1920, Vitamin D is the single most understood hormone in our body, critically important from birth to death. The results of a clinical review printed in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association estimates that up to 85 percent of people have insufficient levels of Vitamin D and are unaware of their deficient state.

  • “I can’t be low in Vitamin D because I drink milk.”
  • “I can’t be low in Vitamin D because I take D3 every day.”
  • “I can’t be low in Vitamin D because I take a multivitamin as well as a calcium tablet that also contains vitamin D.”
  • “I can’t be low in Vitamin D because I live in Southern California and bake at the beach.”

With hundreds of vitamin D studies being published on a weekly basis, it has become more difficult than ever state up to date with the latest evidence-based information on Vitamin D. But are you deficient?  Probably.

(Let’s drop the Vitamin D moniker here, and starts calling it like it is-a hormone.)

The Sun Conundrum

Hormone D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Really the sunshine hormone. Human skin can make large amounts of Hormone D when lots of skin is exposed and the sun is high in the sky. Your body is designed to get the Hormone D it needs by producing it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight. But your exposure to sunlight is limited. If you’re like most working Americans, you more or less drag yourself out of bed in the dark, trudge your way to work, then sit in a fluorescent-lit office space for 10 hours, after which you make the same grudging trek back home… in the dark. So when the sun shines, you glow. And we’re not just talking tan here. Among other things, sun is good for your mood. So how much sun is enough? It is believed that short daily periods of sun exposure without sunscreen (about 10-15 minutes for lighter-skinned people) during the summer months is enough for most people to make enough Hormone D. Without sunscreen. Yes, without. Even SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, the type our bodies use to make D. (And you’re slathering on SPF 50?) Evidence suggests that the most effective time of day for Hormone D production is between 11am and 3pm. The larger the area of skin that is exposed to sunlight, the more chance there is of making enough Hormones D before you start to burn. Burning is bad. Tanning beds won’t do the trick. You want enough D to be beneficial? You have to be smart about it.

The Good, the Bad, and Who Knew?

Being deficient in Hormone D (keep thinking hormone, not vitamin) can be a real downer when it comes to our health. Maybe a list will put it perspective for you. A hormone D deficiency can lead to:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor sleep
  • Getting sick repeatedly
  • Getting infections more easily
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone and back pain
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss (Both men and women)
  • Depression
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Cognitive impairment in older adults
  • Erectile dysfunction (What guy wants to hear that?)

Hormone D can play a role in the prevention and treatment of the above chronic conditions. Research suggests that it could also have a positive effect on other more serious conditions including diabetes, hypertension glucose intolerance, multiple sclerosis and even breast cancer in women. Nope, Hormone D isn’t just about building strong bones.

It’s All in the Balance

Because Hormone D plays such a crucial role in your life and overall health, a deficiency needs to be treated as a hormone imbalance. Can your primary doctor address it? The question is, what do they know about hormones? Most likely, not much. Not in their treatment realm. What you need, is someone with serious hormone replacement experience. Someone who understands how delicate trying to balance the hormones in your body is. An expert who knows hormones inside and out, able to make you feel better inside and out. That would be the hormone specialists at Denver Hormone Health. With simple tests, all the doctors at Denver Hormone Health can determine whether you have a D deficiency, and how serious it is. Then they can develop a unique and integrated treatment plan that would include bioidentical hormone replacement therapy plus diet and lifestyle changes. Call Denver Hormone Health now and feel the best you can be. No bones about it.

The D Dilemma: Is Vitamin D a Vitamin or a Hormone or what?

The Little Known (yep) Hormone – Vitamin D

If we put this little pop-quiz out there, anywhere, chances are the majority of people would flunk out. It’s kind of complicated how D gets to be a hormone, so to eliminate the “huh?” factor, let’s just keep referring to it as Vitamin D, or just plain “D”.  Vitamin D is a hormone the kidneys produce that controls blood calcium concentration and impacts the immune system. It is also known as calcitriol, ergocalciferol, calcidiol and cholecalciferol. (Why, why do they have to create these names no one could even venture to pronounce?)Vitamin D manages calcium in your blood, bones and gut and helps cells all over your body to communicate properly. Understanding this hormone and the role it plays in the body will help you make informed health decisions that don’t include ziplining it to your pharmacy for buckets of D supplements.

D’s Duties

Another misconception is that D is all about building strong bones. Oh, but as a hormone, when it’s in balance, it does some pretty amazing other things. On the other side, Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to play a role in almost every disease. This includes:

  • Osteoporosis and Osteopenia
  • 17 varieties of Cancer (including breast, prostate and colon)
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Gout
  • Infertility and PMS
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Pain
  • Periodontal disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Oral health
  • Type 2 diabetes

You didn’t know? Who did. But before you start hyperventilating, read on.

Soak This Up

Another fact; only about 10% of D comes from food-even if you scarf sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, caviar (how high is your credit card limit?) and, we have to say, YUK, to cod liver oil. Ok, so pass on the food.

IU’s (that’s how D is measured) out the roof won’t do it.

So here comes the sun…

This is the most natural way to get vitamin D. Your body is designed to get the vitamin D it needs by producing it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight. The part of the sun’s rays that is important is ultraviolet B (UVB). But how much sun is enough? Another conundrum. It can be an Einstein-worthy calculation that requires a multi-page spreadsheet.

Being a “worshiper” can do nothing but make your skin wretched and wrinkly and ah yes, lead to skin cancer. Slathering on SPF’s will only keep you from getting good rays. Cloudy days figure negatively into the picture. As does altitude, skin type, and the time of year and time of day. And no, you can’t get Vitamin D through a window.

Where on Earth?

Vitamin D deficiency remains the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, affecting nearly 1 billion people. It’s epidemic. A global problem in all age groups, male and female. Generally, it’s found most where there is limited sun exposure. Which makes it surprising that even countries with plenty of sun have a high number of people with Vitamin D deficiency. For example, Vitamin D deficiency soars in sunny Australia, one of the sunniest places on earth. In the Caribbean, there’s no shortage of sunshine, but again, there’s a huge Vitamin D deficiency. The same goes for sunny states in the US, like Arizona, California and Hawaii. From Pakistan to Iceland, the D deficiencies would shock you. So where are you going to go?

The Best D Can Be

Your body contains hundreds of hormones circulating within your blood or stored within various tissues of your body. Maintaining a proper level of each hormone is absolutely key to your overall health; too much or too little of a single hormone can lead to a hormonal imbalance. And a Vitamin (hormone) D imbalance can do a boatload of damage to your whole body. So what can you do? You call Denver Hormone Health. They specialize in what your regular doctor doesn’t; hormones, and nothing but hormones. Every one of their experienced doctors can help determine if your D is deficient and exactly what to do about it. A few simple tests will tell them what they need to develop a treatment plan that targets your individual needs. So what you really need to do is make an appointment at Denver Hormone Health right now. Of the nearly 1 billion people worldwide with likely vitamin D deficiency, you don’t have to be one of them.