Many Americans are vitamin D deficient. Some studies show three quarters being deficient, some show 85%. No matter the source, it is an epidemic in the US and Vitamin D deficiency is nothing to be taken lightly. It can lead to depression, heart disease, even cancer and it has been shown to play a role in almost every major disease. Also most people that are low in vitamin D have a much harder time losing weight. It can cause tooth decay, osteoporosis and premature aging.
Vitamin D is required for calcium to be properly absorbed into bones, to strengthen them. Vitamin D also works synergistically with magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and other minerals, protecting against toxins. It is necessary for proper thyroid and parathyroid function. Vitamin D protects against muscle weakness and is involved in regulation of the heartbeat as well.
It is crucial for pregnant women to get proper amounts. There are many studies showing inadequate amounts of vitamin D while pregnant can lead to the child developing problems including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis later in life and are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.
You may be at risk if:
You don't get the safe, recommended amount of daily sunshine. People that mostly stay indoors all day or live in an area that get sunshine less often.
You are sensitive or allergic to dairy products or just don't consume them.
African-American and dark skinned people tend to be lower in this crucial vitamin.
Vegetarians and vegans are more at risk for being low on vitamin D.
You consume mineral oil. Mineral oil, sometimes found in salad dressings, destroys vitamin D already in the body.
You have a liver or kidney disorder.
You have an intestinal disorder.
You take cholesterol-lowering drugs, antacids, or steroid hormones such as cortisone which all interfere with vitamin D absorption.
Symptoms you are low in vitamin d
High blood pressure
Chronic pain including joint pain
General muscle pain and weakness, muscle cramps
Vitamin D benefits
It has anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin D protects against toxins and radiation.
Needed for healthy thyroid function.
Promotes weight loss.
Can be protective for brain function. It can help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
May be beneficial for Parkinson's disease.
Helps regulate blood pressure and is beneficial for people suffering from hypertension.
Enhances immune system, prevents colds and stimulates the development of white blood cells.
Promotes the absorption of calcium.
Skin- sufficient vitamin D levels minimize acne, stimulate collagen production, boost skin's elasticity, enhance radiance. It lessens lines, wrinkles, and the appearance of dark spots.
Getting Your vitamin d
Vitamin D is best acquired through natural food sources and sunlight. But there are issues that can make that very difficult sometimes. People with darker skin do not absorb as much vitamin D through sunlight. If you have had any skin cancer issues like having to have a cancerous mole cut off or if skin cancer runs in your family and are advised to stay out of the sun. Even pollution can interfere with vitamin D absorption. There are not a large amount of foods high in vitamin D and if you are allergic to dairy products or are a strict vegetarian or vegan optimal vitamin D levels are harder to obtain.
through a safe daily dose of sunshine
Some experts say exposing your face and arms to the sun for fifteen minutes three times a week is effective to provide adequate amounts of vitamin D.
vitamin D Sources
There are not many foods rich in vitamin D but luckily there are some, including: eggs, fatty saltwater fish, dairy products, dandelion greens and dandelion tea, halibut, mushrooms, salmon, oysters, sardines, oatmeal and cereals enriched with vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of the few nutrients that is difficult to achieve the recommended amount from food alone and supplementation is often needed. Cod liver oil is an amazing supplement because you're not only getting your vitamin D from a natural form, you're also getting vitamin A. In addition cod liver oil is one is the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids(EFA and DPA).
getting vitamin d through supplementation
Vitamin D3 has shown to be the most effectively absorbed. Taking more than 400 IU of vitamin D has been shown to reduce fractures by 20% in those over 65 years of age. It is not recommended to take over 1000 IU a day unless you have a severe deficiency and it is under your doctors orders.
my vitamin d deficiency experience
I'm what you would call a home body, maybe even sometimes a hermit ;) I love to nest at home and be around my loved ones and family, chill and watch movies. I'm not a workout outside type of girl. Hiking or jogging were never my thing. I would always get my exercise at the gym or at an indoor yoga studio. I am a very happy, positive person but I have always had bout's of depression here and there, especially before I started my healthier lifestyle. When you are nutrient deficient you are going to feel depressed, it's inevitable. Vitamin D deficiency is a major cause of depression. I went to the doctor and got my vitamin levels tested and sure enough, I was low on D. I started getting high dose vitamin D shots to get my levels back up. Within weeks my mood improved and I was out of my "funk". I really have a problem with doctors writing prescriptions for antidepressants left and right when it could and usually is in fact a nutritional deficiency that can be safely fixed. I was put on anti-depressants after my father passed away, although I was strong and was handling it very well considering, when my doctor advised me to get on them I thought, well if there's anytime I should get on an antidepressant its after a traumatic experience like losing a loved one. So I agreed. I was prescribed Zoloft. It in no way made me feel better, actually worse. Since I didn't like the way I felt I decided to get off of Zoloft, after being on it for almost 2 years, with my doctors help, you have to taper down slowly, you can't just stop cold turkey it can be very dangerous(seizures,suicide). The two weeks I was tapering off I felt so horrible mentally and psychically I had to have some family come stay with me. It bothers me that they are prescribed so often to people that don't really need them and there is a high suicide rate with people on anti-depressants and even murders. Not only that, it's bad for your body, especially your liver. I think it is a much better idea to get to the root of the problem and fix it. Find out it you have a vitamin deficiency, that can definitely be the cause of your depression, being low on vitamin D, Omega3's, etc. Low zinc levels have been linked to depression, anxiety and some health experts believe and studies show a zinc deficiency can be the cause of schizophrenia in some cases. Drugs are not always the answer, sometimes it is as simple as fixing a deficiency. In addition drugs do not fix the problem in many cases, they just act as a band aid and get rid of the symptoms, whereas replenishing a deficiency actually does fix the problem.
If you decide to take a supplement
There are "risks". In my opinion very little risk, especially when compared with pharmaceutical drugs. Since vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin your body doesn't excrete it out through urine, like B vitamins or vitamin C. I was tested low, I do not get much sunshine(I'm a little over protective of my skin), so I do take a vitamin D3 supplement. I take 1000 IU daily. Therapeutic amounts are recommended between 400 and 1000 IU. If you take supplementation and are worried about your levels becoming too high you can always have your doctor check your vitamin D levels every 6 months. In my opinion when taking supplemental vitamin D, the rewards definitely outweigh the risk. Not having depression and fatigue are worth any little risk to me. Also I will point out anti-depressants have many, much more serious side effects.
Nikki Gray CNC