The Sunshine Vitamin and Heart Health
Everyone has heard of vitamin D and how it’s important for bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis. But did you know that most cells of the body have receptors for vitamin D?
Cells have receptors for many different hormones and other molecules, like LDL for example. I like to think of them as tiny catcher’s mitts, pulling what is needed into the cell.
I want to focus this post on:
- What is vitamin D and it’s receptor
- The role of vitamin D in heart health
- Getting your levels checked
- Best ways to get your vitamin D (hint..it is not from fortified dairy)
What is Vitamin D
Often called, the sunshine vitamin, D is made in the skin when UVB light hits a cholesterol molecule, thus turning it into vitamin D. Animal foods and some mushrooms contain D as well, but the majority needs to come from the sun. Supplements can raise D levels, but actual benefits can be mixed. Be safe and stick with the sun.
Vitamin D then travels around the body, reaching cells and other tissues to cause a positive response in them. Here is a chart showing all the locations with vitamin D receptors.
Vitamin D and Heart Health
Vitamin D impacts the cardiovascular systems as to how blood vessels function, blood clotting, inflammation, and clotting. The vitamin D receptor has been identified on the surface of smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells, myocardial cells, inflammatory cells controlling their proliferation and differentiation, and even in platelets.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to other cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, metabolic syndrome, CIMT (carotid intima-media thickness), and coronary calcification.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, stroke, congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac death and total mortality. In fact, one trial showed a 500% increased risk of sudden cardiac death with low vitamin D.
Ask your doctor or local lab for a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. That is the best measure of blood levels. You can also get intracellular testing which is an indicator that D is getting inside the cell.
Goal is to have D levels from 50-70.
Boost Your Levels
- Get sunshine. Morning, noon, and afternoon. Sunburn bad, sunshine good. The more skin exposed, the better. Naked would be the best way. Use organic sunscreen if you are in the sun for extended periods in the summer or bring some extra clothing and hat for cover-up.
- Eat pasture-raised organ meats, eggs, and seafood to crank up levels of vitamin D.
- Supplements can help, especially in the winter and when it’s cloudy for long periods of time. Don’t forget that if you take our vitamin D liquid drops, you must take our vitamin K2. K2 keeps calcium in the bones and out of the arteries. Read more about vitamin K here.
I would recommend 2 drops daily of our Super D and 1 cap daily of Super K, along with our multivitamin as a foundation. 4 caps of our MULTI is the standard dose.