So we recently chatted (well, I rambled on) about fat-soluble vitamin A and how if you want your body to absorb all of the brilliant benefits this vitamin provides, then you had to consume it with fat. Fact!
Do you remember?
Missed it – never fear, just click here!
Today, I’m moving onto fat-soluble vitamin No. 2.
Did you know that over 30% of adults in Australia have a mild, moderate or even a severe deficiency in vitamin D? (1)
Did you also know that vitamin D is actually made in our body when we expose our skin to ultraviolet rays from the sun?
Often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, it would seem that our busy (indoor lifestyle) and/or worry about skin cancer, has seen a major increase in the deficiency of vitamin D - a vitamin that is essential to the health of our endocrine system and our immune system function. Some of the other health benefits of vitamin D include:
Bone Health | Vitamin D is essential for calcium to be absorbed into our bones, and a deficiency in vitamin D can result in a softening of the bones. Additionally, a deficiency increases the risk for developing osteoporosis and experiencing fractures
Blood Sugar Balance | Vitamin D helps to regulate insulin secretion and sensitivity and balance our blood sugar levels
Heart Health | A growing number of research points to the fact that a vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risks of cardiovascular disease, since it is involved in regulating blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation
Immune System | Vitamin D helps with healthy cell replication and may play a big role in protecting against the development of autoimmune conditions, along with less serious common colds and the flu
Improved Mood | Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk in mood disorders including depression, seasonal depression, insomnia, and anxiety
Things that can hinder vitamin D absorption, according to Dr Kresser:
Inflammation and Leaky Gut | Since vitamin D is absorbed in the small intestine, an inflamed GI tract (extremely common in those of us with low thyroid function) actually reduces the absorption of vitamin D. Highlighting the need to get your “guts” in good health
High Cortisol Levels | When the reason spikes in cortisol levels are caused by stress - this is often associated with low vitamin D levels. Our bodies ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight depends on cholesterol, and as our stress hormones are also made from cholesterol, when our body goes into stress mode, most of the cholesterol is used to make cortisol and not vitamin D
Not eating fat | Or not digesting fat properly, reduces our absorption of vitamin D. This is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires fat to be absorbed
Vitamin D and Hashimoto’s
According to Dr David Clark, vitamin D is a critical regulator of our immune system and research has already established that Vitamin D deficiency is highly associated with autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Type I Diabetes, and da da daaaa….. Hashimoto’s. Based on a scientific study back in 2011, which looked at the link between Hashimoto’s patients and Vitamin D, it showed that 92% of these patients had a vitamin D deficiency.
So how Much Sun is Enough?
According to Osteoporosis.org.au, in Australia during the Summer months, just a few minutes per day of sun exposure (without sunscreen), and just a few hours per week during May-August, is all we need to make enough vitamin D.
If you are worried about not wearing sunscreen, then perhaps try applying sunscreen to your face and hands, but not on your limbs. This will potentially leave enough unexposed skin to properly create the vitamin D that you need.
The only way to know if you are deficient in vitamin D is to have your doctor perform a test. This will tell you if, and how severely, you are deficient.
More reading on vitamin d
- Article 1 by Livestrong.com
- Article 2 by Osteoporosis.org.au
- Article 3 by Hypothyroidmom.com
- Article 4 by Chris Kresser
- Article 5 by very well.com
Vitamin D Food Sources
Our best source of vitamin D is of course the sun, however our best food sources of vitamin D include:
- Oily fish, including salmon, sardines, tuna, halibut, carp, mackerel, cod, swordfish, rainbow trout
- Cod liver oil
- Raw oysters
- Raw pasture-raised egg yolks
- Shitake and portabella mushrooms (exposed to UV light)
Vitamin D Loving Recipe
Garlic Roasted Prawns
large raw prawns | olive oil | garlic granules or fresh garlic | dried basil | lemon juice
Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Keeping the shells intact split prawns down the middle from underneath, top to bottom, with a sharp knife - without cutting all the way through. Press prawns flat and devein. Lay shell side down in baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and parsley.
Roast in oven for approx. 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and squeeze over fresh lemon juice.