Awhile back we talked about vitamin D briefly in this video. We discussed some of the main benefits to supplementing with vitamin D and included some food sources as impractical as they often are. In order to expand the short 5 minute video with more info, we thought we’d take some time to discuss some of the finer points as to why vitamin D reigns “king” (or “queen” if you like) of the supplement “benefit to cost ratio”. 15 years ago, vitamin D was a boring little vitamin that kept the rickets away. Nowadays, quality research has exploded in every direction with exciting results pouring in regularly. And all of this can be had for literally just a few pennies per day. There’s no question: my family gets vitamin D every day and I sleep a little better at night because of it.

Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because at least 90% of our vitamin D status should be produced from exposure to UV rays from the sun. While a tiny portion of foods contain vitamin D in appreciable quantities, we can synthesize between 10,000 to 20,000 IUs of vitamin D from just 30 minutes of standing out in the sun in a bathing suit (sans sunscreen). However, searching out the rarity of vitamin D rich foods (which includes fish, lichen, UV treated mushrooms and whatnot), and resisting the desire to always find 30 minutes of sunbathing per day while leaving the sunscreen at home poses several practical problems. It is for these impractical reasons that even the most conservative of health authorities such as Health Canada, the US Institute of Medicine and various health agencies of the European Union have recommended vitamin D supplements due to what appears to be a relatively high rate of vitamin D deficiency along with a formidable safety record.

Health Canada (along with Statistics Canada) found that nearly half of Canadians are deficient in vitamin D and that this number is clearly worse in the winter months when sunshine is at a premium (and what constitutes a “deficiency” is also a conservative value). Not only that, the government of all entities (yes….the government of Canada) has recognized that adequate levels of vitamin D may have other benefits such as lowering the risk of some cancers such as breast and colorectal by nearly 50%, reducing the risk of heart disease and even multiple sclerosis. Accordingly, they have more than doubled their recommended amount, and set a safe upper limit at 4,000IU for adults – nearly 10x their previous recommendation a mere decade ago.

Evidence shows that certain groups of people are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency including the elderly, exclusively breastfed infants (because mother’s are often deficient), those with limited sun exposure, pregnant and lactating women, the critically ill, those with lactose intolerance, inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, autism, smokers, vegetarians, those with osteoporosis or osteopenia and low fish diets……(out of breath). Interestingly, some diseases that seem to respond most significantly to changing vitamin D levels such as multiple sclerosis are more common in higher latitude countries where there is less UV radiation on a regular basis such as Canada. Less sunlight and UV, the worse it gets.

In fact, although the appropriate dosage and type of vitamin D is essential, there is evidence that vitamin D has been used effectively as a treatment and/or prevention strategy for psoriasis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, fracture prevention, high blood pressure, underactive thyroid, mood disorders, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, arthritis and viral infections such as influenza. I can tell you with all honesty that as someone who has been in the field for over 15 years, that some of the research being carried out with vitamin D is astonishing in both variety and magnitude of effects.

We sell several brands of high quality vitamin D and price is a huge factor in determining which ones we carry. Would you believe it that we have a vitamin D that is literally just over 1 penny per 1000IU drop. ONE PENNY. This is a no-brainer.