By: Susan Kingston, RHN – Montreal, QC
Vitamin D – Essential and Scarce!
We all know the value of vitamin D to absorb calcium, but not everyone is aware of its many functions and the co-nutrients needed to absorb and utilize this essential fat-soluble nutrient.
Vitamin D is vital for our endocrine system (system of hormones). It is also essential for our nervous system – without it, neither system would function properly our ability to handle stress would diminish drastically. Our immune system is also weakened without it, allowing all kinds of pathogens to take over, and leaving us susceptible to stronger reactions to food intolerances.
In Canada, Vitamin D becomes quite hard to get because our skin absorbs it from the sun, and as we lose our long hours of sun and warmth, there is a great reduction in the amount of time our skin is exposed.
Some ways you can keep your vitamin D levels up to par is through food. The best sources are salmon, mackerel, and other fish. Cod liver oil (just as Grandma said 😉 ), is an excellent source, as well as a great source of vitamin A and Omega 3. For those with food intolerances, Vitamin A is essential for digestion, and Omega 3 reduces inflammation caused by intolerances.
An important co-nutrient required to absorb and utilize vitamin D, which may actually surprise you, is cholesterol. Cholesterol and vitamin D combined are crucial to brain function, and studies have shown a link to Alzheimer’s with low levels of vitamin D.
So please try to get as much sun as possible, and in the winter, if you only supplement with one thing, make it vitamin D for your body and brain function! And please don’t be afraid to include healthy cholesterol/saturated fats in your diet such as egg yolks, raw cheese, kefir, yogurt, poultry, grass fed beef, butter, wild fish and coconut oil – to get the best out of the Vitamin D that you do get!