Vitamin D, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that plays many imperative roles in the body. It is so important to the body’s functioning that when the sun hits the cholesterol in your skin your body will manufacture vitamin D.
Recent research has revealed that vitamin D has many significant health benefits that go beyond its traditional roles. Vitamin D works as a hormone, regulates over 200 genes in the body and influences all of your organs. Vitamin D is so crucial to health that there is a receptor in every cell for vitamin D.
Interestingly, individuals in today’s societies are not getting enough sunshine. Why? Our modern lifestyle does not allow for individuals to spend enough time in the sunshine. Additionally, there are very few foods with vitamin D and even those that contain it have low absorption rates. In fact, in industrialized societies, researchers are now seeing a reemergence of rickets, a bone weakening disease that had been largely eradicated through vitamin D fortification (Source).
Being deficient in vitamin D increases an individual’s risk of both chronic and infectious diseases.
9 warning signs that you need to supplement with vitamin D:
- 1. Low bone density
- The classical vitamin D deficiency diseases are rickets and osteomalacia. Way back in the mid-17th century, British researchers discovered that a deficiency of vitamin D lead to rickets, which consists of skeletal abnormalities and soft bone tissue. Osteomalacia, another bone disorder, results in softening of the bone tissue due to low levels of key bone nutrients including vitamin D. The result is inadequate bone mineralization, low bone density and an increased risk for osteoporosis later on in life.
- 2. Bone pain
- Vitamin D is responsible for calcium absorption and plays a crucial role in bone metabolism. Bone pain or lower back pain could be the result of a vitamin D deficiency due to vitamin D’s crucial role in bone health and strength. A study found that there was a significant association between a vitamin D deficiency and non-specific bone pain, especially in women (Source).
- 3. Fatigue
- Feeling very tired and weak can be a symptom of low vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D levels are linked to excessive fatigue. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in 2012 revealed that lower levels of vitamin D are linked to daytime sleepiness (Source). Sleepiness, lethargy or sleep disorders could all be the result of inadequate levels of vitamin D.
- 4. Depleted immune function
- One of vitamin D’s greatest functions is to keep your immune system strong. Low levels of vitamin D can be a predictor of how often you get sick with colds, the flu, infections and other illnesses. Vitamin D is able to modulate both innate and adaptive aspects of immunity. In fact, a study published in 2019 revealed that 61.6% of patients coming to the emergency room for sepsis are vitamin D deficient (Source). The study further concluded that vitamin D supplementation could be effective in preventing sepsis infection and mortality (Source).
- 5. Impaired wound healing
- If your wounds take a while to heal after an injury or surgery, you could have low vitamin D levels. An important part of healing is reducing inflammation and controlling infection, which are two important roles that vitamin D plays. Inadequate levels of vitamin D can lead to poor wound healing and recovery time.
- 6. Depression
- Depression is linked to a vitamin D deficiency (Source). Given that we have vitamin D receptors in our brain, it’s no wonder this miracle nutrient impacts our mood in a positive way. Vitamin D plays a role in regulating key neurotransmitters (dopamine) and hormones (adrenaline). Vitamin D also helps to prevent the breakdown of dopamine and serotonin.
- 7. Weight gain
- A study published in 2012 revealed that higher levels of 25 (OH)D (a vitamin D measurement) levels were linked to less weight gain in women over the age of 65 years old (Source). Additionally, levels of 25(OH)D were found to be lower in obese individuals, indicating a significant link between vitamin D status and weight (Source). The thought is that inadequate or deficient vitamin D status could predispose individuals to greater fat accumulation.
- 8. Muscle pain
- Muscle pain has also been linked to vitamin D deficiency. The vitamin D receptor is found in nerve cells known as nociceptors. This is where pain arises and is sensed. As a result, new research has found that vitamin D may play a role in influencing and managing chronic pain such as muscle pain (Source). Studies have shown that in patients with certain kinds of pain their vitamin D levels were low (Source). Another study showed that rats fed a vitamin D deficient diet experienced deep muscle hypersensitivity and pain due to nociceptors present in muscles (Source).
- 9. Heart disease
- The heart is a large muscle that is affected by low vitamin D levels. It has vitamin D receptors throughout it. The Health Professionals Follow-Up study analyzed the vitamin D level of 50,000 healthy men and tracked them for ten years. They found that men who were deficient in vitamin D were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack (Source). There are many reasons why vitamin D could play a role in preventing heart disease. Vitamin D aids in regulating blood pressure, lowering inflammation and preventing heart muscle damage. There is evidence for vitamin D to reduce systolic blood pressure, especially in vitamin D deficient individuals (Source).
What are the risk factors for inadequate or deficient vitamin D levels?
- Dark skin pigment
- When there are higher levels of the skin pigment melanin the skin is less able to absorb vitamin D when it comes into contact with the sun’s rays.
- Overweight or obese
- Being overweight or obese can trap the body’s vitamin D in fat tissue, limiting the amount that goes into circulation and causing a deficiency.
- The further away you are from the equator, the more at risk you are for a vitamin D deficiency. Also, if you live in a location with decreased sunlight during winter then you are also at risk for a seasonal vitamin D deficiency.
- Elderly individuals are at risk for a deficiency because the skin loses its ability to synthesize vitamin D with age.
- Individuals with a fat malabsorption disorder
- Conditions like celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome limit the body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble nutrients from foods.
- Individuals who do not get enough sunshine
- Individuals who do not get outside into the sunshine daily are at risk for a vitamin D inadequacy or deficiency.
How do I know if I have inadequate or deficient vitamin D levels?
Get your vitamin D levels tested with the best micronutrient testing in the world. This micronutrient test analyzes the level of micronutrients (like vitamin D) that are in your blood and also the level in your cells (where these nutrients belong).
If you think you could have a deficiency, it’s important to get your blood and cellular levels measured.
How do I supplement?
Very few foods contain decent amounts of vitamin D, therefore supplementation is often necessary for any of the at-risk groups mentioned above.
Vitamin D3 is the best form of vitamin D to supplement with.
Our Super D is our liquid vitamin D powerhouse supplement. It is in a micro-emulsified form ensuring the highest absorption and utilization of this fat-soluble vitamin by the body. Take 1 drop per day, or as directed by your doctor.
Health benefits of vitamin D:
- Reduces your chances of cardiovascular disease
- Increases immune system function
- Decreases your risk of the flu
- Reduces your incidence of autoimmune condition
- Boosts weight loss
- Decreases risk of depression