Conventional science has now caught up with functional medicine, with vitamin D deficiency in the news on a regular basis. Research in 2010 in America by Hewson et al showed that 75% of the white USA population suffered from a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D can be produced by the body from sunlight, therefore if you are able to leave your face and arms uncovered in the early part of the day, for 20-30 minutes during summer this should be sufficient. In cold climates the high energy photons that are needed to allow the body to synthesis in the skin are absent, which is why vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent in Northern areas. People who are at more risk include the elderly, those living in nursing homes, prisons, housebound individuals, if your religion states you should show no skin and those on a low fat diet, since you need fat in your meal to allow the vitamin D to be absorbed. Vegans in particular who do not see much of the sun are also recommended to take a supplement, since all the good sources in food are derived from animal products. Good food sources to obtain vitamin D via your food are butter, cod liver oil, kippers, mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna. Having a healthy level of vitamin D protects not only your bones, but it also has an anti-inflammatory effect, it influences the immune system and helps against weakness in some muscles. If you are going to take a supplement please ensure you take a high quality supplement many supplements seem cheap but are often full of fillers and their absorption rates into the body are poor. There are 2 types of vitamin D supplements Vitamin D3 is the natural form, this is the form found in foods and produced in the body, Vitamin D3 supplements are normally not vegan ( there are more arriving onto the market since there is a demand). The most common option found in fortified foods and cheap supplements is vitamin D2 , this is an artificial form and the body has to convert this into vitamin D3 to obtain its benefit.
Research has also shown that the benefits of vitamin D both bone health and the cardiovascular system are enhanced if you have sufficient levels of vitamin K.
- Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by osteoblasts, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into your arteries.
- Taking calcium in isolation without complimentary nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K can have adverse effects, including the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries and heart attacks. Calcium intake should be balanced out with vitamins D and K, and other minerals crucial to your bone health.