This is the time of year (colder temperatures and shorter days) that you might want to add in a daily Vitamin D supplement. Recent statistics show that most people aren’t getting enough vitamin D to stay healthy. This is called vitamin D deficiency. It is estimated that over one billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency. You may not get enough vitamin D if:
- You don’t get enough sunlight. Your body is usually able to get all the vitamin D it needs if you regularly expose enough bare skin to the sun. However, many people don’t get enough sunlight because they spend a lot of time inside and/or because they use sunscreen. It’s also difficult for some people to get enough vitamin D from the sun during the winter.
- You don’t take supplements. It’s very difficult to get enough vitamin D from the foods you eat alone.
- Your body needs more vitamin D than usual, for example if you’re obese or pregnant.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?
- People with darker skin. The darker your skin the more sun you need to get the same amount of vitamin D as a fair-skinned person. For this reason, if you have dark skin, you’re much more likely to have vitamin D deficiency than someone who is fair skinned
- People who spend a lot of time indoors during the day
- People who cover their skin all of the time. For example, if you wear sunscreen or if your skin is covered with clothes
- People that live in the North of the United States or Canada. This is because there are fewer hours of overhead sunlight the further away you are from the equator
- Older people have thinner skin than younger people and this may mean that they can’t produce as much vitamin D
- Infants that are breastfed and aren’t given a vitamin D supplement. If you’re feeding your baby on breast milk alone, and you don’t give your baby a vitamin D supplement or take a supplement yourself, your baby is more likely to be deficient in vitamin D
- Pregnant women
- People who are very over weight (obese).
Regardless of cause, deficiency of vitamin D has significant medical and psychological consequences. Every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system, which means vitamin D is needed at every level for the body to function.
Vitamin D is also the only vitamin that is a hormone. After it is consumed in the diet or absorbed (synthesized) in the skin, vitamin D is then transported to the liver and kidneys where it is converted to its active hormone form. Vitamin D as a hormone assists with the absorption of calcium, helping to build strong bones, teeth and muscles.
In addition to its well-known role in calcium absorption, vitamin D activates genes that regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin) that affect brain function and development. Researchers have found vitamin D receptors on a handful of cells located in regions in the brain-the same regions that are linked with depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder featuring depressive symptoms, occurs during the dark times of the year when there is relatively little sunshine, coinciding with the sudden drop in vitamin D levels in the body. Several studies have suggested that the symptoms of SAD may be due to changing levels of vitamin D, which may affect serotonin levels in the brain.
Mental health is one of many types of ailments connected to vitamin D deficiency. For more information on vitamin D and its links to mental and physical health please visit the organization Vitamin D Council at www.vitamindcouncil.org founded by Executive Director John J. Cannell, M.D. Cannell, a trained psychiatrist, founded the Vitamin D Council in 2003 with a keen interest in clinical nutrition and a strong conviction that vitamin D deficiency, a highly preventable yet prevalent condition, contributes to many physical and psychological conditions affecting scores of people.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?
The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are sometimes vague and can include tiredness and general aches and pains. Some people may not have any symptoms at all.
If you have a severe vitamin D deficiency you may have pain in your bones and weakness, which may mean you have difficulty getting around. You may also have frequent infections. However, not everyone gets these symptoms.
If you think you may have vitamin D deficiency, you should see your physician, or have a blood test to check your vitamin D levels.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE DEFICIENT?
The way doctors measure if you’re deficient in vitamin D is by testing your 25(OH) D level, but most doctors just call this a vitamin D blood test. Getting this blood test is the only accurate way to know if you’re deficient or not, so ask your PCP for this test.
HOW CAN YOU GET MORE VITAMIN D?
There are two ways to get more vitamin D: by exposing your bare skin to the sun or by taking vitamin D supplements.
There is much less sunlight at this time of year, so it’s a good time to take supplements.
WHAT DO WE NEED VITAMIN D FOR?
- It is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous, which have various functions, especially the maintenance of healthy bones.
- It is an immune system regulator.
- It may be an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like the common cold, say scientists from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston.
- It may reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is much less common the closer you get to the tropics, where there is much more sunlight, according to Dennis Bourdette, chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center at Oregon Health and Science University, USA.
- Vitamin D may have a key role in helping the brain to keep working well later in life, according to a study of 3000 European men between the ages of 40 and 79.
- Vitamin D is probably linked to maintaining a healthy body weight, according to research carried out at the Medical College of Georgia, USA.
- Various studies have shown that people with adequate levels of Vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of developing cancer, compared to people with lower levels. Vitamin D deficiency was found to be prevalent in cancer patients regardless of nutritional status, in a study carried out by Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SUPPLEMENTS?
We offer Metagenics Vitamin D3 which is the best form of Vitamin D to take:
This is the version your body prefers, and one Ultra concentrated Metagenics Vitamin D3 (easy to swallow) soft gel has 5000 IU in a single dose. You can get yours here at Performance Health Center.
We have made it easy for you to enjoy the convenience and savings by ordering nutritional supplements online! Visit and order directly from our Metagenics site: Performancehealth.metagenics.com
If you have any questions about this blog or your health in general please feel free to contact me at: [email protected]
For the month of December 2017, get 10% the regular price of Vitamin D