Not just for bones. Why does vitamin D matter?

Why vitamin D is important to health

Almost 1 billion people on the planet have inadequate levels of vitamin D. And this has big implications especially as we learn more fully the very important role vitamin D plays in health.

It’s not just a bone builder, but also acts like a hormone in the body turning on 200 different genes. Vitamin D deficiency can be related to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and brain health.

And because of vitamin D’s role in regulating the immune system, it potentially is playing a significant part in auto-immunity.

In short, this is one important vitamin!

But, how to know if you’re low?

If you’re dealing with any of the chronic issues mentioned above, it’s worth getting your vitamin D levels checked. Because vitamin D’s effect is so far reaching, I often run levels as a matter of routine.

In addition, any of the below could indicate a deficiency:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Easily broken bones, fractures or osteopenia
  • Chronic pain
  • Mood changes or feeling blue

To get tested, you’ll want to request a 25-OH vitamin D blood test. I like to see levels in an ideal range of 50-80 ng/mL. Together with your health care practitioner, you can come to a plan to monitor and replete levels.

To maintain optimal levels, there are a few things you can do:

  • Responsible sun exposure. We get very little vitamin D from food. Instead it’s made in the skin through exposure to sunlight. Exposing your bare skin to the sun for at least 15 minutes will help increase levels.
  • Love on your liver. Vitamin D is activated by the liver and although there is no conclusive evidence to totally explain the rampant prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, clinicians are starting to suggest that it may be linked to pesticide exposure affecting vitamin D metabolism. My favorite liver foods to include are: avocado, dark leafy greens and turmeric.
  • Supplement: there are two choices in terms of vitamin D supplementation: D2 or D3. You want D3. Too, because it’s fat soluble, you want to ingest vitamin D with a little fat to get the best absorption.
  • Recheck levels every 6-12 months: having too much vitamin D is pretty rare, but you want to be sure you’re aren’t over doing it. Symptoms to look out for of too much vitamin D are: metallic taste in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, weakness and frequent urination.

Hope that helps clarify any questions you may have had about vitamin D!

Sending my best,

Antonella

At Wild Lemon Health, the focus is on a personalized plan based on a 360' view of your health. Schedule a free consultation to get started! 

 

References:
Vitamin D: An ignored epidemic ‘Pub Med
Vitamin D and health effects: Linus Pauling Institute and Harvard
Vitamin D and pesticides: Vitamin D council