Vitamin D – Why do I need it?

Vitamin D has been overlooked as an aid to health. There are so many areas of health Vitamin D can contribute.

Mental health: Have you ever wondered why Thanksgiving and Christmas can be difficult for some? It may have something to do with the Vitamin D levels. In the areas of the country where we soak up the sun during the “nice” months we create a storage of Vitamin D. When we stop spending as much time outside because of school, weather, etc. we utilize these stores until there aren’t any stores remaining. This depletion happens typically around the holidays.  The holiday blues may not be caused by the excess exposure to family, but possibly to low Vitamin D levels.

Bones:  Vitamin D plays a very important role in the creation and maintenance of bone.  It is vital to the uptake of calcium.  It also maintains levels of calcium and phosphate concentrations in the serum so the body can build and maintain bones.

Cancer:  Vitamin D promotes cell differentiation throughout the body and is a key factor in maintaining hormonal balance and a healthy immune system.  There are clear links to Vitamin D deficiency and certain types of cancer; particularly breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancers.

Diabetes:  In a study published in 2004, the authors saw a 60% improvement in insulin sensitivity in health, vitamin D deficient adults.  They concluded Vitamin D was more potent than 2 prescription medications commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin D requirements:  The USRDA has recommended 200IU/day for adults 19-50 years, 400IU/day for those 51-70, and 600IU/day for people over 70 years.  Experts now agree that these values are too low!

Studies have shown that adults need 3000-5000IU/day and others indicate heathy adults can easily metabolize 10,000IU/day without harmful side effects.  The European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food has recommended 2000IU/day as does our US Food and Nutrition Board.  Testing and monitoring are strongly suggested.  The average healthy body can synthesize about 10,000 to 15,000IU of Vitamin D3 in the skin within just minutes of sun exposure – without any ill effect.

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency: may be characterized as muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities.  If you have renal problems or intestinal issues (like IBS or Crohn’s disease), you may be Vitamin D deficient because of issues absorbing and converting the Vitamin D.

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