You may be wondering, what’s the deal with vitamin D?
This fat-soluble vitamin comes from the sun, food, and supplements. It also comes in two forms: Vitamin D2 and D3. Both types up the level of vitamin D in your system. In stores, though, you’ll mostly find vitamin D3.
So, what does vitamin D3 do, exactly?
This essential vitamin is responsible for a variety of bodily functions. It helps with bone development, immune system function, and calcium absorption. It's also known to keep depression at bay and increase energy.
When you don’t get enough, your bones can soften and your immunity may take a nosedive.
Thankfully, this must-have vitamin is easy to get through supplementation and sunshine.
Below, we share insights on vitamin D, including its benefits and how to easily include it in your lifestyle so you reap its benefits.
What is Vitamin D?
With several essential functions, vitamin D is one of the top vitamins you won’t want to miss in your diet.
Its most important role is in keeping your bones strong by properly absorbing calcium from a variety of food and supplements, according to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.
Perhaps most impressively, it’s estimated that as many as 2,000 genes are directly or indirectly balanced by vitamin D. It’s that powerful.
Yet most individuals aren’t getting enough of this essential vitamin. The good news is, there’s an easy solution: sunshine and supplementation.
You can get vitamin D from the sun — after all, it’s known as the “sunshine vitamin” — but you also risk skin cancer with too much exposure. Plus, if you don’t live in a year-round sunny place, it can be challenging to get your vitamin D naturally.
That’s where supplementing comes into play as a healthy way to get this essential vitamin.
When in the store, it’s unlikely you’ll find any supplement simply labeled “vitamin D” as it’s usually labeled vitamin D2 or D3. You’ll also find this vitamin often comes from animal sources like fish, but it can also be found in vegan sources like reindeer lichen. That’s what we use for D3 in our INTENSE DEFENSE shot!
What Does Vitamin D3 Do?
Vitamin D3 is such a powerful vitamin that it’s been found to be “twice as effective at raising levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream,” according to an April 2020 Healthline article.
If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you may develop a weakened immune system and have poor hair growth along with higher levels of inflammation.
Other signs of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Bone pain
- Mood changes
- Muscle aches or weakness
If you’re consuming less than 200 IU daily, you may be at risk of becoming deficient. This risk is especially common in pregnancy. But, women who are intentional about their vitamin D intake can help their baby’s growth. Research shows pregnant women with higher levels of vitamin D in their system may contribute to better brain development and higher IQ scores for their child.
The Benefits of Vitamin D
Like vitamin C, you’ll find vitamin D is essential to sustaining overall health. Beyond keeping your bones strong, this vitamin plays a critical role in everything from fighting depression, boosting immunity, increasing energy, and much more.
Here’s a look at what vitamin D3 can do:
- Helps the immune system - The immune system requires adequate levels of vitamin D to keep viruses and bacteria away. Research indicates the winter months spent indoors —and high altitudes — are risk factors for low vitamin D levels, so winter is a prime time to supplement vitamin D.
- Keeps bones strong - Vitamin D can stimulate cells inside the bones to remove calcium if your diet isn’t cutting it. It aids calcium absorption which prevents serious health concerns (especially for women) like osteoporosis or osteomalacia. If your vitamin D is too low, it can cause a variety of bone issues, making it an important vitamin for bone health.
- Lowers risk of high blood pressure - Vitamin D is known to limit production of the hormone renin, which is thought to increase blood pressure. A Boston University study found individuals with high blood pressure who increased vitamin D levels over 100% were able to normalize their high blood pressure.
- Increases energy - A study in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences found individuals with low vitamin D levels were able to improve their fatigue symptoms by normalizing their vitamin D intake. If you’re tired often, considering getting your vitamin D levels checked.
How Do I Get Vitamin D3?
Other than sun exposure, you’ll need to supplement or get your vitamin D3 from food sources. As always, follow your doctor’s recommendations for the amount of vitamin D you need. Many factors are taken into account, but a few other reasons you may need a daily supplement:
- If you’re pregnant or nursing
- If you spend most time indoors
- If you usually wear long-sleeved clothing outdoors
Few foods contain natural vitamin D. Most foods are fortified to provide you with the proper amount. You can get it from certain foods, though.
Check out the list below of the best food sources of vitamin D:
- Fatty fish - Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are the top sources of vitamin D. You can also get vitamin D from shrimp.
- Mushrooms - If you’re a fan of mushrooms, you’ll find some of these contain vitamin D. Some food suppliers are exposing mushrooms to prolonged ultraviolet light to up the vitamin D content!
- Lichen - Reindeer lichen has both vitamins D2 and D3. Wild harvested lichen is a vegan source of vitamin D.
- Certain animal products - Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks all have minute levels of vitamin D.
Milk and juices - You can find milk (both animal and plant-based options) and juices that are fortified with vitamin D.
- Organic shots - Our INTENSE DEFENSE shot contains both zinc and vitamin D3 to help boost your immunity. You’ll get 235% of your daily value of vitamin D with a single shot! Plus, our reindeer lichen is a vegan source!
In whatever way you can get in your daily dose of vitamin D, do it! Whether that’s from just sunshine, vitamin D supplements, or a combination of both, your body will benefit from sufficient levels of it.
As always, check the labels of your foods to see if you’re getting a good source of vitamin D! Adults up to age 70 need 600 IU daily, as do pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Up Your Level of Vitamin D Today for Optimal Health
What does vitamin D3 do for the body?
As you can see from the above information, quite a lot! As a recap, to ensure you get the appropriate levels, look at ways you can get enough vitamin D.
Whether you get it from the sun, food, or supplements, get it from your favorite sources each day.
Fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are the top sources of vitamin D, but if you prefer a vegan approach, you can also get it from reindeer lichen, which you can find in our INTENSE DEFENSE shot.
Lastly, the upper limit for daily intake is 4,000 IU for those ages 9 and older, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you’re curious about your vitamin D levels, speak with your doctor about measuring it and if you might be in the at-risk category for a deficiency.
Grab a case of our INTENSE DEFENSE today to ensure you’re getting enough of your daily vitamin D! We make it easy, too. You’ll find a single shot contains 235% of your recommended daily value of vitamin D.