Did you know that Vitamin D is not a Vitamin? It is actually a hormone that we make on our skin from sun exposure. It is important to know that it is a hormone because this tells us that, exactly like other hormones, having Vitamin D in the right balance is essential for our bodies and brains to function properly. Vitamin D makes us feel good physically as well as emotionally. It is crucial for bone, skin and mental health, it helps prevent 17 types of cancer, plays a role in almost every major disease, is critical for learning and making memories and helps us feel happy and curious about life.
I like to think of it as the D Hormone – where the letter D can either stand for Delight or for Dismay. With healthy levels of D you will feel delightfully healthy and well. You will feel good about yourself and about life. What is also vitally important is that you will behave in ways that will delight your kids and your family. With low D levels instead of feeling delight you will feel dismay. Low D levels have long been associated with higher incidence of depression and memory problems. You feel flat and tired and behave in ways that dismay your family.
Vitamin D deficiency is rampant.
We are now finding a dramatic rise in vitamin D deficiency. Researchers such as Dr. Holick, estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 50% of children aged one to five and 70% of children between the ages of six and eleven are deficient or insufficient in vitamin D. This means that more than half of all American children are vitamin D deficient. Some clinicians believe that almost three-quarters of pregnant women are vitamin D deficient, predisposing their unborn children to all sorts of problems. Worldwide, it is estimated that the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency affects one billion people.
The only one way to know if you or your children are Vitamin D deficient or insufficient, is by blood testing. When it comes to vitamin D, you don’t want to be in the “average” or “normal” range, you want to be in the “optimal” range.
However, there are some signs and symptoms you can be aware of and if any of these apply to you or your kids, you might want to get tested:
The D Hormone Delight-Dismay Score
Compare your delight and dismay scores. Be aware though that many of the dismay symptoms can be caused by other factors, not necessarily only Vitamin D. If your dismay score concerns you then have your Vitamin D levels checked – or those of your children. That way you will know whether it is a cause for your Dismay scores or not.
Many clinicians are finding that even people who spend adequate amount of time in the sun, are still showing up with low blood vitamin D levels. There are very few foods that actually have the therapeutic levels of Vitamin D naturally. Even fortified foods don’t have enough Vitamin D. It is supplemented in milk but as a cup of milk has only 100 IU of vitamin D you would have to drink 100 cups of milk a day to keep from being D deficient. Vitamin D supplementation is an important and necessary solution. Ask your doctor about a quality product and the recommended doses.
Healthy levels of Vitamin D, which is actually the D hormone, can have a hugely positive effect on your health, your relationship with yourself and most importantly your relationship with your family. It is worth taking this seriously.
We would be interested to hear your own personal Vitamin D stories. Please share these with us.