Vitamin D deficiency
Are you feeling achy and tired?
…Do you feel low and miss the sunshine?
If that is the case, you are probably in need of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that plays an important role in our bodies’ health. Its synthesis starts in the skin after direct exposure to sunlight. It is then 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, being in the North during winter is not the only reason for deficiencies. 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 and an increased amount of sun exposure will be needed; using sunscreen or having the skin fully covered with clothes while spending time outdoors; older age due to a decrease in the thickness of the skin which makes the production harder among others.
The benefits of Vitamin D include but are not limited to:
- Regulates the immune system i.e. aiding in the normal function of the immune system.
- Regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus; 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 been shown that it helps in the prevention of prostate, breast and colon cancers and in reducing risk of developing multiple sclerosis and heart disease.
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 speak with your healthcare provider and get your level tested to make sure the prescribed dose is the right one for your body.
Dr. Yarilis Vazquez, ND