Less Sunlight = Less Vitamin D
It’s that time of the year again! With the beauty of fall and the cold of winter, also comes less sunlight. With less sunlight, also comes less vitamin D in our bodies. And vitamin D is a very key vitamin that plays an important role in our bodies’ health. It’s a fat soluble vitamin with its synthesis starting in the skin after direct exposure to sunlight. Then, it is synthesized by the liver and kidneys to form its active form 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], also known as calcitriol.
Vitamin D deficiency is a very common finding, especially during the winter months due to the tremendous decrease in the amount of daily sunlight. However, living in the North East during winter is not the only cause for deficiency. Other causes of Vitamin D deficiency include: low levels in food sources, spending too much time indoors either due to an illness or because of work, having darker skin which makes the synthesis more difficult, the use of sunscreen or fully covering the skin with clothes while spending time outdoor, older age which causes a decrease in skin thickness hence decreasing production, among others.
Some of the benefits of Vitamin D include:
- Regulation of the immune system i.e. aiding in the normal function of the immune system.
- Regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption; hence, playing an important role in the normal growth and development of bones and teeth.
- Plays an important role in mood regulation and warding off depression.
- It has also shown to help in the prevention of prostate, breast and colon cancers and in reducing risk of developing multiple sclerosis, heart disease and autoimmune diseases.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
- General aches and pains
- Muscle weakness/pain
- Bone pain
- Recurrent respiratory issues
- Chronic infections
- Autoimmune conditions
- Chronic pain
- Cardiovascular disease
- Mood swings/imbalance
- Tiredness/reduced endurance
These symptoms are some of the possible presentations of vitamin D deficiency; however, some people might not present any visible symptoms at all and that’s why it is very important to get tested and determine the vitamin D level in your body.
What’s the dose? The recommended dose of Vitamin D3 during winter time is between 4,000 – 6,000 IU per day and between 1,000 – 2,000 IU per day during the summer time. However, it is important to always consult with your healthcare provider to determine the right dose and the right product for you. Tired of being tired? Let us help you!
Dr. Yarilis Vazquez, ND
Naturopathic Doctor- SOPHIA Natural Health