by Kim White
Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies naturally produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. The winter light, more time indoors, and the increasing use of sunscreen all contribute to lower levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is prevalent in both adults and children. Studies vary in reporting these rates, but it is generally agreed that vitamin D deficiency is a widespread issue. For children, deficiency estimates range from 50 to 70 percent and adults are between 40 and 50 percent.
Many of us living in the Pacific Northwest supplement our diets with vitamin D. Though most people take a standard recommended dose of 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D3, for many, that dosage may not be enough to make a significant difference in their health—especially during the winter months. Increasing the dose to 5,000 IU per day until spring hits could be necessary to assure your body stays within healthy vitamin D levels.
While many people discover their levels were low through testing, and therefore begin supplementing with vitamin D3, they usually don’t have their levels re-checked. However, re-checking is an equally important part of the process that should be done a few months after beginning a protocol to ensure proper dosing and to adjust supplementation as necessary.
Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it should be taken with a healthy fat to aid absorption. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, people who are obese have lower absorption rates and need to supplement more, perhaps because of adipose tissue (fat) up-taking the vitamin D. Our bodies hold onto vitamin D, so we don’t normally need to consume amounts in excess of 5,000 IU per day for periods of six months or longer. Again, this is where level retesting comes in handy to ensure your body is getting the dose it needs.
Why to supplement with vitamin D
Vitamin D helps build stronger bones. It also may lower the risk of developing the flu, as it plays an important role in regulating our T-cells (immune cells). Who couldn’t use that this time of year? It is widely accepted that vitamin D lifts your mood. Many studies show that people with depression and fibromyalgia report less symptoms when taking vitamin D. The decreased sun exposure, and therefore decreased vitamin D production in the winter months, is believed to contribute to SAD (seasonal affective disorder). It may decrease your risk of heart disease. Mounting evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency could be linked to several chronic ailments, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Kim White, DC is the owner of Intelligence Balance Spinal Care located at 2310 N Molter Rd. Ste. 108 in Liberty Lake. For more information, call 509-924-4443 or visit IntelligentBalance.com.