Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” is a vital nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall health and well-being. A study in 2022 reveals 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D and 70% of children are. We use vitamin D to aid in the absorption of calcium, needed to develop strong bones. Most of us know someone who has dealt with Seasonal affective disorder, but there are many symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency. In this blog, we will delve into the big world of Vitamin D, from its functions within the body to its role in combating seasonal affective disorder.
What is Vitamin D and How Does it Work in Our Body?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts like a hormone within our bodies. It is essential for various physiological functions, including regulating calcium and phosphorus levels, promoting bone health, supporting immune system function, and influencing cell growth and differentiation.
Recently studies have shown that Vitamin D and Fish oil have significant effects on cardiovascular risk and can reduce the chance of heart attack. The article published on Nov. 10, 2018, by The New England Journal of Medicine showed the risk reduced by more than 25%.
Let the Sunshine In! The most natural and efficient way to obtain Vitamin D is through direct exposure to sunlight. When our skin is exposed to UVB rays from the sun, it synthesizes Vitamin D. Engaging in outdoor activities like walking, jogging, or gardening can stimulate Vitamin D synthesis. However, it’s essential to balance sun exposure with adequate sun protection. Smart sun exposure is critical. We have to be protective of our skin. Pick times of day that are lower in UV index and are traditionally associated with safe sun exposure.
Unfortunately, in Minnesota it can be tougher to make good Vitamin D. We don’t see enough sunshine year round. Other things like time of day, skin color, and sunscreen use can affect this process. Food can also be a source of Vitamin D. Foods like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), egg yolks, mushrooms, cod liver oil, fortified dairy, and plant-based products also contribute to our Vitamin D intake.
Vitamin D deficiencies can arise due to limited sun exposure, dietary inadequacy, medical conditions, or certain medications. People who deal with intestinal diseases are the most likely to develop deficiencies like Inflammatory Bowel Disease, celiac disease, and Cystic Fibrosis. Deficiency signs may include fatigue, general weakness, bone pain, muscle aches, weakened immune system, depression, and hair loss. Recognizing these signs can prompt timely intervention and prevent potential health complications.
Getting ahead of deficiencies is important. Simple at-home testing is available. In our clinic, we use OmegaQuant and love how cost-effective and accurate the results are. Speaking with your medical doctor about testing options and results is another avenue you can look into.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that typically occurs during the fall and winter months when sunlight exposure is reduced. Research suggests a link between Vitamin D deficiency and the development of SAD. Vitamin D is believed to influence neurotransmitters that affect mood regulation, and its scarcity during darker months may contribute to SAD symptoms.
Fighting SAD involves a holistic approach. Embracing regular outdoor activities during daylight hours, optimizing indoor lighting, practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation and yoga, ensuring a Vitamin D-rich diet, and adding a quality vitamin D supplement https://risingsunchiro.nutridyn.com/d3-5000-with-k2 can collectively help alleviate SAD symptoms and promote emotional well-being.
Vitamin D is critical for our health, most of the press is around bone health however, we need to remember our mood, muscle, immune, brain, and heart all rely on optimal levels of this nutrient as well.
Please contact our office if you have any questions about Vitamin D and how to get started.
https://risingsunchiro.nutridyn.com/vitamin-d-test To test your vitamin D levels at home, order your kit here.