Vitamin D synthesis is one of many essential to our health metabolic processes, occurring in our bodies. It may not sound like much to you, unless you gain a fuller understanding of vitamin D function in our body and the way we produce and activate it. Let’s take a look at some basic facts on vitamin D and how we get it.
Now, first of all, let me mention, that vitamin D plays vital role in calcium and phosphorus absorption. Our bones are not able to absorb those essential elements without vitamin D. Besides, being a pro-hormone, vitamin D prevents cancer, maintains proper blood formula and takes care of many other key health functions in our bodies. That is why vitamin D deficiency may become a serious health problem.
Vitamin D synthesis takes place, when our skin gets exposed to sun rays. We start producing it, when our skin comes in contact with specific sun rays, called UV-B rays. And, vitamin D production starts only, when the amount of these UV-B rays crosses a certain limit. Saying it in other words, if you get less rays, than you need, your skin does not start vitamin D production and you risk of developing lack of this vitamin in your body.
In many climate zones, there is a certain period of year, when your bodies do not come in contact with enough of UV-B rays and cease to produce enough of vitamin D. This season is called a “vitamin D winter."
In most regions of the world, located at 51 degrees latitude and higher, people experience different duration period of vitamin D winter. At this, the intensity of UV-B rays, we get exposed to, depend not only on the latitude, but on climate conditions. Clouds and other natural elements, such as level of ozone, can cut down or increase the amount of UV-B rays, we get.
Now, another way to activate vitamin D in our bodies, is to synthesize it from animal foods and cholesterol, we consume in them.
Such foods, as dairy products, fatty fish, lard, and cod liver oil, etc, are rich with vitamin D. This vitamin is sensitized by our bodies from cholesterol. That is why there is a direct link between the levels of cholesterol in animal foods, we consume, and the level of vitamin D, synthesized and activated in our bodies.
Low cholesterol diet can lead to vitamin D deficiency and consequently cause serious health problems.
So, the combination of proper diet and getting enough of skin exposure to UV-B sun rays stimulates vitamin D synthesis in our skin and helps our bodies to run all the metabolism processes the right way.
Of late vitamin D depression relation starts to raise many discussions among people, as depression becomes more and more widely spread mental condition, affecting people of all genders and ages. Even though, there is no sure scientific data, that explains all the ins and outs of vitamin D effects for depression, there has been enough research done to prove its strong correlation.
Let us take a look at some facts and myths related to vitamin D and depression.
One of the first depression related vitamin D facts is that this vitamin is capable of boosting serotonin levels in our bodies. Serotonin is one of the mental health essential hormones. It is also called a happiness hormone.
According to studies, its level boost during our exposure to summer sunrays, and drops down significantly during the winter days. The same is true about vitamin D levels. The increased intake of vitamin D in food supplements showed the consequent increase in levels of serotonin, produced by people’s bodies.
Vitamin D is also known for normalizing the processes of production of various neurotransmitters, such as adrenaline catecholamines, dopamine, and other hormones in our bodies.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in production and level of these hormones in human bodies and the effects they have on our mental condition, including such mental cases, as depression.
The fact is that Vitamin D takes active part in their production. That is why vitamin D depression treatment produces obvious positive results.
Another one of the studied effects of vitamin D and its relation to mental health and combating depression is its role in boosting our immune system. Vitamin D is capable of increasing protective and anti inflammatory functions of our bodies.
Several studies showed that people with depressive and other mental disorders also have suffered from multiple inflammatory processes in their bodies. Vitamin D intake keeps those processes under control and strengthens the immune system.
Now, one of the vitamin D related myths is that this vitamin is easy to overdose and that such overdosing can easily cause depression.
Vitamin D intake through such natural sources, as sun exposure or vitamin D rich food is almost impossible. When taken in the form of food supplements and under the strict medical supervision, vitamin D is hard to overdose, too.
According to many studies, even the excessive amount of vitamin D daily intake, such as 10 000 IU, did not cause any health side effects, including depression. If caused by vitamin D overdose, depression can be easily treated.
So, as you may see, it is important to know vitamin D depression related facts and myths to make the right decision on additional intake of this key vitamin for your health.
Vitamin D is essential for our bodies and that is why learning the list of 7 top vitamin D foods can help you to keep up the vitamin D supply in your body.
The problem with this vitamin is that it can be found in very few foods. At this, there are two kinds of vitamin D. Those are vitamin D2 and D3. The first one is found in plant foods and the second one is found only in animal foods. D3 is cholesterol based vitamin D. It is the kind, synthesized by our skin, when it comes in contact with sun rays. Vitamin D3 is the kind of vitamin, we need.
So, what foods contain this vitamin?
- Cod liver oil
This is the champion among vitamin D rich foods. 1 table spoon of cod liver oil can supply your daily dose of vitamin D.
Fatty sea fish is another one of vitamin D foods. Such fish as Salmon is rich with this vitamin. You would need to eat about 3 oz of this fish to fill up your day’s supply of vitamin D. Some less expensive fish, you can eat to get more vitamin D into your body are tuna fish, sardines, or catfish.
As vitamin D is cholesterol based, it is contained mostly in fat meat. So, from this point of view, pork tops the list. But, you can get certain amount of vitamin D from any meat.
Eggs are also rich with vitamin D. Actually it is stored mainly in the yoke. One egg a day provides you with 10 percent of vitamin D daily dose.
Milk and all the diary products, including curd, cheese, yogurt, etc, contain vitamin D.
Pork or beef liver is rich with this vitamin.
Lard is rich with cholesterol, you already know that, and it provides enough material for our bodies to produce vitamin D.
It is a good idea to include at least one of the above mentioned products into your breakfast. This would energize you and help to make a great day. Of course, dairy products seem to be the most suitable for breakfast, especially if combined with vitamin D rich cereals. You should know that it is hardly possible to overdose this vitamin, consuming it in vitamin D foods.