The main forms of vitamin D are Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. D2 is the least easily converted in the body so unless stated otherwise when we refer to vitamin D it is the D3 form.
Vitamin D insufficiency is becoming quite a concern with 1 in 5 Australians considered deficient. This is partly due to our sun safe culture, but we also need good conversion of the sun’s UVB rays through our skin with the help of our liver and kidneys.
Other factors that can affect our vitamin D levels include:
- Season and geographical location
- Diet – vegan and vegetarians are more susceptible to being deficient.
Vitamin D has many roles in the body including:
- Helping calcium uptake go into the bones and not the soft tissue and helping build bone – Crucial role
- Anti-hypertensive (reduces blood pressure).
One of the most studied purposes of vitamin D is for our innate immune system. It can:
- Reduce our risk from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and Chron’s disease
- Reduces our risk from infectious diseases.
Foods rich in vitamin D3 include:
- Fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and cod liver oil
- Butter and milk
- All margarines and spreads are fortified with vitamin D in Australia under mandatory fortification standards
- Egg yolk
- Sprouted seeds
Vitamin D2 is found in mushrooms.
Checking vitamin D status through blood testing is a good idea. We stock a variety of vitamin D supplements should you discover your levels are low.