Currently, an estimated one billion people world-wide are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D has over 600 receptor sites in the body, including the brain and the heart. Since Vitamin D receptor sites are so prevalent in the body, new studies and research continue to emerge, touting the health benefits of Vitamin D consumption. I am sure you know that Vitamin D is important for bone health, as it is essential for absorbing calcium, but did you know that Vitamin D is critical for immune, cellular, brain and cardiovascular health?

Vitamin D Supports Health in the following areas:

• Healthy Bones & Joints
• Healthy Colon & Digestion
• Memory & Concentration
• Breast & Prostate Health
• Proper Cell Replication
• Immune System

Healthy Bones & Calcium Absorption:

The attention and focus paid to the importance of Vitamin D has increased recently as Vitamin D deficiencies become more prevalent. Most of us familiar with Vitamin D understand that this nutrient is essential to skeletal system health. Along with calcium, Vitamin D is considered vital for maintaining healthy bones. Vitamin D actually regulates the use of calcium in the body by dramatically increasing its absorption and utilization.

Vitamin D for Cardiovascular Health:

Low blood levels of Vitamin D can increase coronary artery calcification which means that Vitamin D deficiencies can elevate the risk of strokes and congestive heart failure. Higher levels of Vitamin D support normal levels of inflammation which is extremely important for cardiovascular health.

Vitamin D for Immune Health:

Vitamin D is important to immune system health because it not only supports a health immune response but also inhibits negative autoimmune responses. It does this by modulating T-cell responses. Auto-immune health disorders occur when Th1 cells attack the body instead of fighting off unwanted invaders.

Vitamin D for Brain Health:

The brain has a wide distribution of Vitamin D receptors which can directly and positively affect cognitive brain function. Sufficient levels of Vitamin D have been shown to enhance memory and concentration. Vitamin D supports brain health, while a deficiency can result in brain dysfunction.

Vitamin D for Colon, Prostate and Breast Health:

Vitamin D supports healthy digestion, since receptor sites are found from the mouth all the way through the intestines Healthy Vitamin D levels support two increasing areas of concern — breast health for women and prostate health for men.

Research indicates that Vitamin D inhibits unwanted cell proliferation and stimulates healthy cell differentiation. Lung, skin, colon, bone and breast sites have been studied for Vitamin D’s positive effects on cell differentiation and proliferation, causing them to act as normal mature cells. Dr. Cedric Garland, a 20 year veteran Vitamin D researcher believes that Vitamin D can prevent unwanted cell proliferation by 75% with optimal Vitamin D blood levels.

Vitamin D from Sunshine?

Many folks think that getting more sunshine is the answer. This is only partially true. As we age, the skin does not synthesize Vitamin D as efficiently as when we were younger, especially true with people over 50 years of age. Other studies indicate that breastfed infants, dark-skinned individuals and those with mal-absorption problems are especially vulnerable. Those that live in the northern latitudes or that work inside or are house-bound have a higher risk of Vitamin D deficiencies.

So how much Vitamin D is enough?

Due to recent studies and research on the importance of Vitamin D for health, the minimum recommended requirements for Vitamin D continue to increase. The American Academy of Pediatrics (our nation's leading pediatrician group) now recommends children increase their Vitamin D intake to 400 IU daily, which is twice as much as 2003 recommendations. Due to emerging Vitamin D research, old recommendations of 400 IU to 600 IU daily for adults is now being increased to 800 to 1,000 IU for adults by many experts. Some experts are now recommending as much as 2,000 IU of Vitamin D daily for maximum health benefits.

Sources of Vitamin D

For human health there are two forms of Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 from plants (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is made when cholesterol in our skin cells reacts with sunlight. Unless you are a nude sun-bather, it is difficult to absorb and synthesize the necessary amount of Vitamin D3 for optimal health. Both forms of Vitamin D have been shown to raise Vitamin D levels in the blood, but Vitamin D3 is the preferred form because it is metabolized better in our bodies and is the form that comes from the most natural sources - our food and the sun. Excellent food sources of Vitamin D3 include cod liver oil, wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna.

Supplementing Vitamin D3

As a Nutritionist, I am often asked by clients what I recommend for Vitamin D supplementation. With supplementation, I prefer the most natural, whole-food sources of nutrition. In addition to the whole food sources of Vitamin D3 mentioned above, I also recommend a raw, whole-food source of Vitamin D3 called Vitamin Code Raw D3 by Garden of Life. In my opinion, Vitamin Code Raw D3 stands out above the other Vitamin D3 dietary supplements because it contains 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3, is the only raw, vegetarian, whole food vitamin D complex that is formulated with raw food-created nutrients and cultivated with live probiotics, antioxidants, enzymes and nutrient-specific peptides for maximum delivery and absorption. Vitamin Code Raw D3 is also gluten and dairy free and contains no soy allergens, binders or fillers.

In closing, I strongly suggest that you pay attention to your daily Vitamin D intake levels. If your goal is optimal health, then I am sure you are doing what you can preventatively through your diet, nutrition and lifestyle, to reach and maintain your goal. As part of your health plan goal, make sure that your diet includes enough Vitamin D3 daily for optimal health.

Additional Resources:

For more information about Vitamin Code Raw D3, click here.

For more information about the Vitamin Code raw, whole-food nutrient process, click here.

For more information about healthy sources of fish and fish oil, click on the following articles:

Wild Salmon vs Farmed Salmon

Wild Alaskan Salmon: Best Source of Pure, Whole-Food Fish Oil

The Whole Truth about Sustainable Fish Oil

Oceans 3 - Capturing the Sea in an Omega-3

The statements contained in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Suggestions and ideas presented in this document are for information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice, meant for diagnosing illness, or for prescriptive purposes. The information in this article is not to be used to replace the services or instructions of a physician or qualified health care practitioner.

Author's Bio: 

Christine Dreher, CCN, CCH is a Nutritionist, Herbalist, Author of “The "Cleanse Cookbook" and President & Founder of Christine's Cleanse Corner, Inc., (a nutritional company that specializes in nutritional & health education & Whole Food Vitamin Supplements. Christine is the Editor & Publisher of the free, online "Transform Your Health" Nutrition and Health E-Newsletter. She is also a Health/Nutritional Speaker & Teacher, & a Nutritional, Diet & Internal Cleanse Consultant, and a Live Beyond Organic Mission Marketer.

Christine is also the Official Self Growth Guide for Dietary Supplements. For more information about New Chapter, Garden of Life or Vitamin Code and other Whole Food Vitamin supplements and herbs, visit Christine on the web at: or call Christine's office at 858-673-0224.