Vitamin D supports mental health, immune health, and even gene regulation. Wow.
About 15 or so years ago there was a significant amount of research released that talked about the significance of vitamin D and how common a deficiency it was across the globe.
That research was presented to fellow researchers, and clinicians who attended these types of conferences.
Unfortunately, there was no widespread delivery to anyone in the general public. Media didn't care about stuff like this as it wasn't really exciting news. Who cares about vitamin D when there are murders and mayhem to report?
So it was the responsibility of a handful of clinicians to spread the word.
It was not an easy task.
At the time, vitamin D levels was not part of a regular blood exam so you had to ask for it. Labs and family doctors didn't like chiropractors asking for stuff like this on a blood test. Plus, no one understood its significance so didn't feel it was important to know or had any relevance.
Fast forward today where vitamin D is the most important vitamin talked about regarding Covid and immune function.
It is a regular part of your annual blood exam.
And many people are taking a supplement daily.
The science gap still exists but at least the time has shortened. Instead of 10 years for people to get the message maybe it's closer to 5 years, according to me. ;-)
Vitamin D facts
50-90% of the population are deficient in Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps reduce inflammation
Vitamin D helps support a healthy microbiome (organisms in your gut)
Vitamin D supports healthy brain function
Vitamin D supports glutathione metabolism (powerful substance for tissue repair and immune function).
nuclear Vitamin D receptors modulates approximately 3000 genes
Vitamin D activates production of serotonin hormone- critical hormone for mood
Vitamin D supports the gut-brain axis (nervous system that communicates information from the gut to the brain. More nerve connections than your brain-spinal cord nervous system).
Need 4k- 10k IU of vitamin D3 to properly supplement for 6-9 months
Optimal vitamin D levels in blood test is 50-90 microgm/mL
Before we get into why we need to supplement, it's important to understand some common myths. There is a prevalent myth that you get vitamin D through sun exposure. This is not totally accurate.
First, you need to eat the foods that provide you the building blocks for vitamin D.
Foods pictured above:
dairy products- milk, cheese
oily fish- salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring
Once you eat those foods, your body has to convert the basic building blocks to an early form of vitamin D.
That early form gets sent to the liver and then the skin layer where sunlight activates it to become useful in our bodies.
The activated form goes to our intestines and is absorbed via the Vitamin D receptor (VDR).
And thats how you get vitamin D.
So, yes, sunlight exposure is very important but its not made from thin air, you have to eat the right foods to supply the basic building blocks.
Latitude, Latitude, Latitude
However, the problem with vitamin D deficiency is two fold:
Anyone living above a certain latitude (37 degrees to be exact), does not get adequate sunlight to activate vitamin D. The map shows where that is in the Unites States.
2. Those below the 37 degree line tend to use a lot of sunscreen and that sunscreen blocks the suns ability to activate vitamin D.
I know, who would have thought sunscreen would create such a problem while trying to prevent skin cancer. Talk about unintended consequences!
It is recommended that we expose ourselves to about 20 min of unprotected exposure to get enough sunlight exposure.
However, for those in group 1 (above the 37 degree line) our only choice is to supplement.
Make sure its vitamin D3 (NOT vitamin D2)
5000IU per day.
Lower your stress (try breathing exercises to stimulate your relaxation nervous system) as it helps better activation of the VDR (vitamin D receptor).
Remember vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it requires fat for absorption as well so if you have no gallbladder, you will need something to help you better absorb it. (email me and I will tell you what you can use).
In practice we have seen the following benefits from a proper vitamin D load:
Improved immune function- shows us mostly as reduced inflammation. That means less allergies, headaches, swelling, joint pain, food sensitivity.
Improved mood- many have reported help with their depression and anxiety
More energy- many people are fatigued due to a lack of vitamin D
Weight loss- vitamin D deficiency can lead to an accumulation of fat at the belly as well as inflammation in that area.
Improved bone health- without vitamin D you cannot make healthy bones. Simple.
Reduced pain- general pain is overall improved. Most likely due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Reduced muscle spasm- without vitamin D you cannot properly utilize calcium and you need calcium for every muscle contraction
Improved sports performance- better endurance, less risk of injury. Most likely due to the above relationship with calcium and energy production support.
Are you getting it yet?
Have I given you enough information to get you to take vitamin D seriously?
I hope so.
Do yourself a favor and start taking vitamin D regularly.
When you get your annual blood test, check your levels and adjust accordingly.
Additional support recommendations: