Interviewer: Can you explain exactly what vitamin D is and what it does in our body? I know there's a lot of things but can you just cover some of the most important ones?
Dr. Lucinda Messer: It seems so odd that vitamin D does take care of so many things. What it actually is an isn't is a vitamin. So it is named a vitamin but because it behaves unlike a vitamin it's also termed a hormone. And I'll get into why later why it might be better considered a hormone. But in fact we still have it, institute of medicine is still naming it a vitamin, a col factor because of the need for it in our bodies and how it actually helps with certain maladies such as rickets. Why it's so extremely powerful because it is in charge of the human genome. That's very strong to say that but with all the research that's been done, done before me as well, it now looks like vitamin D when it's activated, when you have actually enough vitamin D in your body it becomes activated into the most powerful secosteroid hormone in your body that controls namely over 3,000 of your genes. So on that note, if your body has an optimal amount of vitamin D it can help with most of those maladies.
Interviewer: You mentioned obviously sunlight is the main way that we get that. Is there a better time of day when our body can produce that through sun or can we do it 5:00, 6:00, 7:00 at night in the summer.
Dr. Lucinda Messer: Yes there are many...the most optimal time to get your vitamin D is midday. But that only goes for the... depends on what latitude you live in and depends on where you have vitamin D summer. Vitamin D summer in the Northwest is not until early July and goes through the end of August. Whereas L.A., down here you're talking about vitamin D summer being from mid march all the way through November. Which means vitamin D summer really just pertains to the fact that you can get vitamin D if you are outside midday without sunscreen on and other limiting factors.
Interviewer: So you live in the Northern part of the country, so do we. How do we survive the rest of the year and how have people survived and flourished when there's such a short window relatively speaking of when we can get optimal vitamin D?
Dr. Lucinda Messer: Well I will tell you right now that most people aren't flourishing in the Northern parts of the states unless they're taking vitamin D orally. It's really difficult to get vitamin D from food. You're just not going to get enough from food. Possibly if you eat a lot of whale blubber or fish oils that will give you a certain amount. And you can get vitamin D fortified foods but you have to drink like 20 glasses of milk a day to get enough D3 2,000 units or something. But other than that you must take an oral substitute vitamin D3 during those vitamin D months when you're not getting your vitamin D through your skin. And there are a lot of other reasons as to why people aren't getting vitamin D even in the summer time as well. That should be addressed.
In a perfect world, we would all be able to get the nutrients our bodies need from our food and from the outdoors. But that just doesn't happen for most of us, no matter how hard we try. Dr. Lucinda Messer discusses one very common vitamin that she says most of us need to supplement. Find out what important role it plays and why most of us need to supplement this!
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