The early 1900s was a golden age of scientific discovery. Researchers determined that many health problems were caused by a lack of specific nutrients in people’s diets, and soon the race was on to identify each nutrient.
The first vitamin to be discovered was vitamin A, in 1913, followed by the other 12 vitamins over the next 35 years, including vitamin D in 1932.
One of the things scientists discovered is that vitamin D can also be classified as a hormone. How can it be both?
Because your body can produce it from the UVB rays in sunlight, it’s a hormone. But because you must get it in your diet if you don’t get enough sun, it’s a vitamin.
Generally, the closer you live to the equator, the better your vitamin D status tends to be. But here’s an interesting fact…
People in Scandinavia typically have higher vitamin D levels than people in the Middle East. This situation is a great illustration of the hormone-vitamin dynamic of vitamin D…
The intense heat and searing sun, combined with regional clothing styles, leads to relatively low sun exposure in the Middle East. People tend to stay inside, and when they go out, they’re heavily covered.
Scandinavians, who live in the dark for several months a year, have been taking vitamin D-rich cod liver oil for centuries. Somehow, their ancestors figured out that it was essential to their health during the long dark periods of the year.
Whether you live near to or far from the equator, and whatever your preferred style of dress, getting enough vitamin D is essential for your health.
Scientists have established that vitamin D plays a central role in the health of your mind and body. When your levels are low, your health can be challenged in multiple ways.
Let’s take a look at what vitamin D does and how you can make sure you get enough of this high impact vitamin to support optimal health.
Why Vitamin D Is Essential for Your Entire Body
After discovering vitamin D’s significance, researchers went on to discover dozens of other essential roles vitamin D plays in your body.
In fact, scientists have been classifying vitamin D as a hormone for many years. This is because the body is capable of making vitamin D on its own, whereas vitamins are only available in the diet.
So, technically speaking, vitamin D is a true vitamin only when you don’t have sufficient access to sunlight.
Studies conducted over nearly a century have found that vitamin D affects virtually every cell and tissue in your body by way of a special protein in your cells known as vitamin D receptor, or VDR.
By activating VDR, vitamin D directly affects the expression of more than 1000 genes in your body.
Vitamin D is essential for unlocking the genetic blueprints stored inside your cells. Without the normal, healthy expression of these genetic blueprints, many aspects of your health could potentially be at risk, including:
|Bone strength and health*
|Cellular growth and development*
|Digestion and nutrient absorption*
|Blood sugar health*
|Blood pressure health*
|Mood and overall feelings of well-being*
|Neurological and cognitive health*
|Carbohydrate and fat metabolism*
|Respiratory function and health*
|Hearing and vision*
The health of these systems affect things like your athletic performance, your metabolic rate and how well your body handles the aging process.*
With so much depending on your vitamin D intake, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough. It’s especially important if you’re in one of the special risk groups…
Low Levels of Vitamin D Are a Common Problem… Do You Have Any Risk Factors?
Among adults in the United States, it’s estimated that up to 85% have a vitamin D deficiency.
Because of vitamin D’s wide-reaching effects in your body, it’s always a good idea to check to see if you are deficient in this crucial nutrient when addressing any health concern, especially those listed above.
The only way to know for sure if you are vitamin D deficient is to have your blood level tested. It’s a simple test that your health care practitioner can perform in her clinic.
Certain groups of people may be at an increased risk for vitamin D deficiency, and having certain special conditions can also raise your risk. These include the following:
- Wintertime in zones outside the tropics and subtropics.
Exposure to UVB is how your body produces most of the vitamin D it requires naturally. There simply isn’t enough UVB light that reaches the ground in the winter if you are not in the tropics or subtropics.
- You have darker skin.
Those with darker skin may need as much as ten times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as a person with pale skin.
- You’re 50 or older.
As you get older, your skin produces less vitamin D when exposed to the sun.
- You spend a lot of time indoors.
If you avoid the sun or just can’t get outdoors regularly, you’re likely to have lower levels of vitamin D.
- You’re overweight or have a higher muscle mass.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so body fat can act like a sponge, sequestering vitamin D away in fat cells. A heavier person with more body fat, as well as one with higher muscle mass, may require a higher dose than a slimmer person.
- You have gut issues.
If you have a gastrointestinal condition that affects your ability to absorb fat, you may experience lower absorption of fat-soluble vitamin D as well.
- You’re pregnant.
Pregnant women require higher amounts of vitamin D for their own pregnancy and delivery, as well as for the optimal health of their babies.
If you find yourself trying to solve a health puzzle, especially if you’re in one of these risk categories, consider having your vitamin D levels checked. Vitamin D deficiency is common and easy to fix.
For those who don’t have easy access to testing, we offer a Vitamin D Test Kit here in our Mercola Market online store.
You Might Need More Vitamin D If…
Signs of vitamin D deficiency can be subtle or obvious. You might experience just one symptom, or you might experience several together.
Symptoms of low vitamin D include…
- Achy bones
Your bones rely on vitamin D to assist the process of calcium absorption. When you are low on vitamin D, it can affect calcium absorption and lead to pain or achiness in your bones.
- Muscle aches
Your pain-sensing nerve cells contain vitamin D receptors, affecting how you experience pain. One review of 81 studies found that lower levels of vitamin D are associated with higher rates of chronically achy joints, muscle pain and widespread body pain.
- A tendency to feel “blue”
Serotonin, the brain hormone associated with healthy, positive mood, rises with exposure to sunlight and falls with decreased sun exposure. This is because vitamin D is needed to activate the amino acid required for making serotonin.
Vitamin D is required by your mitochondria – the “powerhouse of the cell” – to fight free radicals and produce ATP, your body’s energy molecule. Vitamin D also supports healthy sleep cycles, so when your levels of vitamin D are low, it can have a big impact on your energy levels.
- Unusual head sweating
Excessive sweating that affects your head is a key sign of vitamin D deficiency.
Symptoms associated with low vitamin D can also be associated with other health issues, so it’s a good idea to get your vitamin D levels tested. Your nagging problems could be as simple to solve as boosting your daily vitamin D intake.
Let’s look at some helpful ways to do that…
Everyday Ways to Boost Your Vitamin D Intake
Your skin naturally produces vitamin D when it’s directly exposed to bright midday sun.
But the challenge for people living in the temperate climate zones is that this is not true in the winter. Unless you live in the tropics or subtropics, there simply isn’t enough UVB available to you in the winter to make vitamin D.
Even in the summer, many people don’t spend enough time in the sun with sufficient skin exposure to meet their vitamin D needs.
To meet your body’s vitamin D needs, you need to be outside with large portions of your body exposed when UVB rays are at their peak – about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – and without sunscreen.
Dr. Michael Holick, a recognized vitamin D expert, has determined that if you live north of Atlanta, Georgia in the U.S., you cannot make vitamin D in your skin from about November through February.
Even as far south as Miami, Florida, you only make about 10% to 20% of the vitamin D in winter that you make during the summer months.
So, most of us need to be proactive about getting enough vitamin D by eating foods that are high in vitamin D, or by taking a high-quality supplement.
The list of foods containing high levels of vitamin D isn’t very long, and it’s almost exclusively animal based. It includes some favorites like salmon, egg yolks, tuna, swordfish and raw milk, as well as some that have a more varied fan base, like cod liver oil, sardines and beef liver.
The only plant source of significant vitamin D is mushrooms. Incidentally, mushrooms can synthesize vitamin D from sunlight just like humans.
But even eating large quantities of these foods each day won’t give you enough to correct a deficiency or sustain healthy, optimal levels. For example, while conventionally produced pasteurized milk has vitamin D3 added, you would need to consume an entire quart just to get a measly 400 IUs.
Click through the images below to see charts of how likely you are to get enough sunlight to produce adequate vitamin D through your skin in most parts of the U.S.
Clearly, most Americans and Canadians need a more consistent and reliable option for attaining and maintaining optimal vitamin D3 status.
Two of the Mistakes Many People – Including Doctors
– Make with Vitamin D
Here’s another important fact you need to know about vitamin D: There are two types of vitamin D supplements, and vitamin D3 is not the same as vitamin D2.
Taking the wrong one might do you more harm than good.
Vitamin D3 is the type produced by your body in response to sunlight. Vitamin D2 is the type produced by plants.
Ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2, was the type first identified in 1932. It is produced synthetically through ultraviolet exposure of certain plant foods.
Today, if you get a prescription from your doctor for vitamin D, it is likely to be this synthetic vitamin D2. But studies show that vitamin D2 binds poorly with proteins, making it less effective than D3, and it actually increases mortality risk by 2%.
Compared to vitamin D2, vitamin D3:
- Raises and maintains vitamin D3 concentrations 87% better
- Produces two- to three-fold greater storage of vitamin D3 in the body
- Converts 500% faster to the more active form that your body uses
Vitamin D3 is clearly the gold standard. So, what’s the second mistake people make?
Calculations and Recommendations… How a Small Mistake Led to a Big Problem
A few years back, National Academy of Medicine (NAM) determined the recommend daily amount (RDA) of vitamin D to be 600 IUs (International Units).
This, they determined, would maintain what they said were healthy blood serum levels of 20 ng/ml. And they concluded that everyday foods could provide those levels.
Two Canadian university investigators challenged their findings and discovered a drastic error in the NAM’s calculations. They found the RDA for optimal health needs to be at least 10 times greater.
Nearly all vitamin D researchers agree that the recommended range for healthy “average” vitamin D3 levels is 40 to 60 ng/ml, not 20 ng/ml.
In the chart below, you can see how you would need to increase your vitamin D3 intake to achieve various serum levels (top line).
For example, if your current level is 20 ng/ml (in the first column), you would likely need 5,000 IUs in addition to your current intake to raise it to 40 ng/ml and 10,000 IUs to bring your levels to 60 ng/ml.
Depending on your current test values, you may need a substantial dose of vitamin D3 – 10,000 IUs per day – to bring your numbers up into the optimal range.
Additionally, some people have genetic defects called vitamin D polymorphisms that prevent them from achieving optimum vitamin D levels with the doses described above. They may need many times that dose, and the only way to know if you have this problem is to measure your vitamin D3 level.
It’s a good idea to get your levels tested, then use the chart above as your starting guide for finding your ideal dose of vitamin D3, and not some arbitrary (and grossly inaccurate) numbers published by the government.
Check to see if you’re one of the many people who may be deficient in vitamin D with our convenient test kits that not only check vitamin D levels but also the levels of other essential vitamins and minerals:
Cutting-Edge Liposomal Technology Helps You Get More Mileage Out of Your Vitamin D
You may already be familiar with our Liposomal Vitamin C, an enhanced vitamin C supplement with bioavailability advantages over traditional oral vitamin C.*
This innovative liposomal technology can help improve the uptake and absorption of many nutrients, including vitamin D.
Liposomal technology works by binding nutrients to phospholipids to improve absorption in your body. The word phospholipid is a chemical name for a fat molecule that contains a phosphate group – in this case, lecithin.
To understand this process, you need to know that phospholipids are:
- The building blocks for your cell membranes.*
- Regulators of cellular transport, functioning as "gate-keepers” to your cells.*
- Protectors of cell membranes, guarding them against free radical assaults.*
- The same cellular complex found in egg yolks and krill oil.*
With the liposomal technology in Liposomal Vitamin D3, the phospholipids in the capsule can form liposomes in your stomach. A liposome is like a tiny sac of phospholipids. It surrounds a nutrient and carries it through your gut lining and into your cells.
Studies show the movement of water is all that is needed to create some liposomes. With stomach fluids in near constant motion, there is the potential to create large amounts of liposomes right in the stomach.
Since liposomes can help the nutrient gain entry across your gut membrane to its target organs and cells without requiring digestion, the creation of more liposomes can lead to an increased rate of absorption in your body.
Soy is often used to manufacture lecithins for liposomal technology. But not in our Liposomal Vitamin D3, which contains phospholipids from sunflower lecithin to provide a formula without GMOs.
And with Liposomal Vitamin D3, there are no football-sized capsules or pills to swallow. All you need is one tiny capsule at 1,000 IU or 5,000 IU per day.
We Keep it Fresh… With Licaps® Innovative Capsules
Most of the vitamin D sold today comes packed in softgels. But here’s the thing about softgels: they’re not very good at protecting the nutrients inside from moisture and oxygen.
When moisture and oxygen leak into the softgel, you can lose quality and freshness. And that’s something you don’t want to happen with vitamin D…
We selected a world leader in quality manufacturing to produce Liposomal Vitamin D3. This manufacturer uses a more expensive Licaps® capsule instead of a cheaper softgel.
Licaps use innovative "Fusion Technology" to seal the hard-shelled capsule without the use of banding. This extraordinary liquid capsule technology has been rigorously tested for over 15 years and provides many advantages over softgels because it…
- Reduces oxidation potential by flushing the liquid formulation with nitrogen during the capsule-filling process, creating a “freshness bubble.”
- Ensures two-piece capsules are hermetically and tightly sealed to significantly reduce the potential for leakage.
- Enhances shelf life through exemplary filling and sealing processes.
The bottom line with Licaps hard capsules… the contents inside retain freshness while the possibility of leakage is reduced to virtually zero.
Choosing the Right Liposomal Vitamin D3 for You
Remember, it’s important to test yourself to find out your current vitamin D levels, since every person’s ideal daily dose of vitamin D3 is not going to be “one size fits all.”
For this reason, we offer Liposomal Vitamin D3 in three different doses: 1,000 IU, 5,000 IU, and 10,000 IU per capsule.
For most healthy adults, including pregnant and nursing moms, I recommend a daily maintenance dose of 5,000 IU of vitamin D3. However, based on your current vitamin D3 levels and current vitamin D3 intake from multivitamins and other sources, you may need more vitamin D3, or less.
If you currently test below the recommended range of 40 to 60 ng/ml, you may need a substantial dose of vitamin D3 to bring your numbers up into the optimal range quickly. This is where I recommend taking the 10,000 IU dose. You can also use this dosage level for short term use for additional immune support.*
Keep in mind, your need for vitamin D3 may be greater than average if you fall into any of the high-risk groups mentioned earlier or live further north. You may need up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day if you are deficient, which is way more common than most people realize.
In addition to Liposomal Vitamin D3, we offer standard Vitamins D3 & K2 in both regular 5,000 IU capsules, and low dose 1,000 IU capsules. We also offer Vitamin D3 Spray, which provides 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per serving in a convenient, tasty orange-flavored spray.
Our low dose 1,000 IU Liposomal Vitamin D3 is a great option for those getting vitamin D3 from other supplements, such as Dr. Mercola’s Whole-Food Multivitamin Plus Vital Minerals.
For children ages four and older, 1,000 IU of Liposomal Vitamin D3 is recommended. Our tiny capsules are very easy to swallow. Regularly test your child’s vitamin D3 levels, or ask your pediatrician to test them with a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test.
Vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 work synergistically together to aid healthy absorption – they are important cell cofactors. When taking Liposomal Vitamin D3 or Vitamin D3 Spray, it’s highly recommended that you take one of our Vitamin K2 products along with it.
|Liposomal Vitamin D3 1,000 IU
Best for kids, or for adults taking in combination with other Vitamin D products such as Whole-Food Multivitamins
|Liposomal Vitamin D3 5,000 IU
Recommended maintenance dose for adults
|Vitamin D3 5,000 IU Spray
Convenient form without taking pills, or can be used to easily tailor your dosage
Vitamin D3 Deficient*
|Liposomal Vitamin D3 10,000 IU
If your blood levels are tested lower than 40 ng/ml use this product to help get blood vitamin D3 levels back to target fast, or for short term use for additional immune support*
|Vitamins D3 & K2
Great combo product for these two important Vitamins at recommended maintenance levels
Bone and Cardiovascular Health*
|Calcium with Vitamins D3 & K2
Great combo product at recommended maintenance levels, take with Magnesium L-Threonate
|Liposomal Vitamin D3 5,000 IU
Improve health of mother and baby*
Start Enjoying the Benefits of Liposomal Vitamin D3
The numbers don’t lie. Most people can benefit from adding an effective form of vitamin D3 to their daily regimen if they are not receiving daily, optimal sun exposure.
Liposomal Vitamin D3 in protective Licaps capsules delivers this powerful, important vitamin using liposomal technology for higher bioavailability potential.*
Our manufacturer has over a century of experience in innovative delivery technologies and is a world leader in quality.
With no soy or GMOs, Liposomal Vitamin D3 provides a practical and effective way to help you get the vitamin D your body needs.* Be sure to take it with vitamin K2 as these two nutrients work synergistically in your body.
Available in three dosage levels to meet your individual needs, it’s perfect for maintaining vitamin D status in both adults (5,000 IU) and kids (1,000 IU), or for providing a short-term boost when you need additional immune support (10,000 IU).
Enjoy the benefits of supporting your bone health, immune health, respiratory health, healthy mental function and healthy muscles with vitamin D3 in easy-to-take Licaps capsules.* Help safeguard your health, and order Liposomal Vitamin D3 today.