VITAMIN D – IS IT MORE THAN JUST A VITAMIN?
What do we know about vitamin D?
Well, it’s not only thought of as a vitamin but also as a hormone. Vitamin D is one of our fat-soluble vitamins along with vitamins A, E and K. They are best absorbed when taken with healthy fat like Krill oil or Omega oils. So those of you on a low fat diet may be absorbing less of these vitamins. Vitamin D can play a crucial role in helping to regulate and balance our hormones and other functions including our sex hormones, blood sugar regulation hormones, metabolism, bone health and immune function.
What happens if you are low in Vitamin D?
During the winter months when viruses, colds and flu are rife it is vitally important to ensure that you have adequate levels of vitamin D to support your immune system in the fight against them. Signs and symptoms of low vitamin D can be fatigue, frequent colds, viruses and upper respiratory infections. Vitamin D can also have anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to have a part to play in digestive complaints including Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Importantly it can also modulate the immune system so it is super important for those people who suffer from autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s, Multiple Sclerosis and many more.
How do we get vitamin D without supplementing it?
Vitamin D is mostly produced in the skin in response to sunlight and is also absorbed from certain foods eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet and only about 10% is available through food.
Why do we need extra vitamin D in the winter?
In the months between October and April when there is not as much sunlight it is beneficial to take extra vitamin D because the best way to get vitamin D is to get adequate sunlight exposure. Most of us are able to acquire enough by just 15 minutes per day in peak sunlight hours at around midday. Equally, if you are stuck in doors then you may benefit from supplementation to boost your levels in winter and in summer.
Can vitamin D impact our mood?
Yes, there is thought to be a strong connection between low vitamin D and low mood, including depression and seasonal affective disorder, appropriately nicknamed SAD.
What other things can low vitamin D have an impact on?
It is a well-known fact that vitamin D deficiency can be linked to poor bone health especially diseases called rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. So by just supplementing calcium for general bone health or conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis is just not going to cut the mustard. Vitamin D is needed for absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the gut into the bloodstream for optimal bone health.
Don’t forget the lesser known vitamin K and magnesium. Vitamin K will help to put the calcium into the bones and not allow it to be deposited into the blood vessels and kidneys that could lead to atherosclerosis and kidney stone formation. And, importantly, magnesium will also help with the absorption of calcium.