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by Alex Medin January 19, 2023
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a critical role in the human body. It is essential for the absorption of calcium and the maintenance of healthy bones. It also helps to regulate the immune system, and has been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, and heart disease.
Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin" because the body can produce it when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. However, many people do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone, and some groups of people may be at higher risk for deficiency. These include people with darker skin, older adults, and people who are confined indoors, such as those with mobility issues or who live in northern latitudes.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a number of health problems, including osteoporosis, rickets, and muscle weakness. It's important to talk to your healthcare provider about your vitamin D levels and how much you need to stay healthy.
Vitamin D plays several important roles in the body, including:
Bone Health: Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, which is necessary for the formation and maintenance of healthy bones. It helps to prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become brittle and fragile.
Immune System: Vitamin D helps to regulate the immune system and may help to prevent infections and illnesses.
Cardiovascular Health: Vitamin D may help to lower the risk of heart disease by regulating blood pressure, reducing inflammation and preventing the formation of blood clots.
Mood: Vitamin D is essential for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to depression and anxiety.
Muscle and nerve function: Vitamin D is needed for muscle and nerve function. It helps muscles to move and nerves to carry messages between the brain and different parts of the body
Pregnancy and lactation: Vitamin D is necessary for the healthy growth and development of the fetus during pregnancy and for the baby during lactation.
Cancer prevention: Some studies have suggested that Vitamin D can help to lower the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
Stress Prevention: Vitamin D has been shown to help lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that is produced in response to stress. High levels of cortisol can lead to a number of negative health effects, including weight gain, fatigue, and an increased risk of certain diseases. By reducing cortisol levels, vitamin D may help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. To learn more about 10 Ways to Reduce Cortisol and Promote Stress Relief click here.
The best natural sources of vitamin D are oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, egg yolks and mushrooms that has been exposed to UV light. Additionally, vitamin D can be obtained through supplements, or by exposing the skin to sunlight.
These are foods with the richest content of Vitamin D:
It's also important to note that most people will not get enough Vitamin D just by diet, and that's why sunlight exposure is also crucial. UVB light is vital to activate vitamin D in your body and to help set your circadian rhythm, the physiological process that tells you when to sleep and when to wake up. Thus it’s not enough to just take a vitamin D3 supplement. You have to activate the vitamin, and that requires exposure to real sunlight (or a high-quality UVB lamp).
However, it's also important to be aware that excessive sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, so a balance is needed. Consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended before making any drastic changes to your diet or supplement intake.
In terms of Supplements: this is the Vitamin D we recommend and why.
It's important to mention that adequate Vitamin D intake is important for overall health, however, excessive consumption can lead to toxicity, so it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before supplementing or increasing your Vitamin D intake.
Next time you get your bloodwork make sure you get your Vitamin D levels checked. Normal range is between 30-100 ng/mL.
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