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Why You Probably Need More Vitamin D

After this year’s long winter, your body is probably running low on one very important vitamin- Vitamin D! And you’re not alone. It’s estimated that nearly 50% of all American adults are lacking in the crucial vitamin.


And unfortunately, a vitamin D deficiency can come with some serious health consequences. In this blog, we’ll break down the common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, explain why it’s so important, and tell you what you can do about it.


Vitamin D 101:

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble nutrient that plays a crucial role in numerous physiological functions. It is involved in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus metabolism, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. Additionally, vitamin D is involved in immune function, cardiovascular health, and brain function.


One of the lesser-known functions of vitamin D is its role in hormonal regulation. Vitamin D receptors are present in various tissues throughout the body, including the pancreas, prostate, and breast tissue. These receptors bind to vitamin D and regulate the expression of genes involved in hormone synthesis and metabolism.


Research has shown that low levels of vitamin D are associated with hormonal imbalances, including reduced testosterone levels in men and estrogen imbalances in women. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased cortisol levels, which can contribute to stress and inflammation.


In addition to its role in hormonal regulation, vitamin D is also critical for immune function. It helps the body defend against infections by stimulating the production of antimicrobial peptides and enhancing the activity of immune cells, such as T-cells and B-cells. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infections, including respiratory infections such as the flu and COVID-19.


Signs of vitamin D deficiency:


A vitamin D deficiency can be hard to notice because it can take several months for symptoms to appear. However, it is important to be mindful of the signs and symptoms so you know what to look for.


Fatigue and tiredness:

  • Vitamin D is an often-overlooked potential cause of your fatigue. One study linked symptoms of fatigue to vitamin D deficiencies. Multiple studies have also shown that after supplementing with vitamin D, the severity of fatigue is reduced.

  • Moreover, a second study on children found that low vitamin D levels are associated with shorter sleep duration, delayed bedtimes, and poor sleep quality. Another study on nurses discovered a strong connection between fatigue and low vitamin D levels. Further, the same study found that 89% of participants were low in the vitamin in the first place.

Depression:

  • Several studies have determined a link between depression and a deficiency in vitamin D, especially in older adults. While the results have been mixed, multiple studies have found that supplementing with vitamin D has been found to relieve symptoms of depression.

Anxiety:

  • Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to anxiety disorders. One study found that people with anxiety and depression have significantly lower levels of vitamin D.

  • Another study found that supplementing with vitamin D has been found to help reduce symptoms of anxiety, prevent depression, and improve sleep quality.

Impaired wound healing:

  • Low vitamin D levels have also been associated with slow wound healing following an injury or surgery. This is because vitamin D increases the production of compounds that are crucial in the creation of new skin. Several studies have found that a vitamin D deficiency compromised various aspects of the healing process for most people.

  • Vitamin D also plays a large role in combatting inflammation and addressing infections- two more important aspects of the healing process. Several studies have found that vitamin D deficiencies can lead to higher levels of inflammatory markers that can hinder healing. Moreover, studies have found that supplementing with vitamin D can help improve the healing process.

Bone and back pain:

  • Your body has a hard time absorbing calcium without the presence of vitamin D. This makes the vitamin essential for bone health. This is also why low levels of vitamin D have been found to be associated with bone and lower back pain.

  • One study found a link between low levels of vitamin D and severe back pain. Several other studies have found that people with arthritis, muscle pain, and widespread chronic pain tend to have lower levels of vitamin D than those without the conditions.

Frequent infections or illnesses:

  • One of the most important roles that vitamin D plays is in supporting the immune system. Vitamin D helps you ward off bacteria that cause illness and ward off viruses. In fact, vitamin D directly interacts with infection-fighting cells.

  • If you find yourself often sick, vitamin D levels could be a contributing factor. Several large studies have found a link between respiratory tract infections like colds and low vitamin D levels. Multiple studies have also found that taking vitamin D supplements daily can help reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections.

Weight gain:

  • One important risk factor for low vitamin D levels is obesity. But researchers think it goes both ways. One study found a link between low vitamin D and both belly fat and increased weight. While other studies have found further evidence to suggest a link between obesity and vitamin D deficiency, more research is needed.

How to get more vitamin D:


As many of us know, the human body can absorb vitamin D from UV-B rays from the sun. When you walk into a sunny patch, the sun’s energy transforms a chemical in your skin into vitamin D, which is then carried to your liver and kidneys to convert it into a usable form of the vitamin. Most research on vitamin D absorption has suggested that it only takes 8-15 minutes of sunscreen-free sunshine time for your body to begin producing vitamin D. The vitamin D your body gets from the sun is actually more potent and beneficial than the vitamin D you obtain from food. Sun-derived vitamin D can circulate in your body for twice as long as food-derived vitamin D. This is why is so critical to spend time outside and absorb those UV-B rays whenever you can.


Unfortunately, some sunscreens can completely block your vitamin D absorption. One great way to protect your skin while you're soaking up that sweet vitamin D is by using Heliocare! Heliocare is a powerful formula of antioxidants. Its active mechanism is derived from the Polypodium leucotomos fern. Polypodium leucotomos extract (PLE) provides protection against free radicals. Free radicals can damage the skin in their attempt to steal electrons from other molecules which cause direct damage to our skin’s DNA. Damage to our DNA results in accelerated skin aging. Heliocare prevents this damage by replacing the missing electron in free radicals. Click here to learn more!


However, when sunlight isn’t readily available, there are other ways to boost your vitamin D levels:

  • Take a vitamin D supplement- There are many different kinds of vitamin D supplements on the market, but it’s critical that you obtain your supplement through a medical professional. Only medical professionals can prescribe medical-grade supplements that guarantee you are receiving 100% vitamin D and no fillers or additives.

    • It is also important to note that vitamin A is necessary to sensitize the vitamin D receptor to promote proper absorption. Therefore, it is best to take vitamin D with vitamins A and K.

  • Eat a diet high in vitamin D- While vitamin D is more effectively absorbed directly in the sun, there are still several types of food you should add to your diet to ensure sufficient levels of the vitamin. Such foods include:

    • Cod liver oil

    • Egg yolk

    • Salmon

    • Swordfish

    • Tuna fish

    • Sardines

    • Beef liver

The bottom line when it comes to vitamin D is that it's an incredibly important nutrient, and unfortunately, it's very likely that you're deficient. At the Johson Center, we specify our vitamin D recommendation to ensure that you are reaching an optimal level based on factors like your age and genetic variations.


If you are interested in checking your levels of Vitamin D or starting supplementation, click here to contact us! Or, contact our office directly at johnsoncenter.inquiry@gmail.com.


The Johnson Center for Health services patients in-person in our Blacksburg and Virginia Beach / Norfolk locations. We also offer telemedicine for residents of Virginia and North Carolina!


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