Brighten the Holidays with Vitamin D
With the shifting of the season and winter in the forefront, moods change, stress goes up and and we begin hearing about "cold and flu" season. With the decrease in sunlight that comes with during, our body's ability to make vitamin D3 begins to drop and it has a direct impact on our health and immune system. However, with just a simple change we can enhance our moods, aid in digestion and stay healthy while the sun spends a few months hiding and still get the vitamin D we need.
Vitamin D, aka the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in our everyday health even more than was once believed. Today, the research shows it contributes to the following areas:
- Decreased flu risk (1)
- Diabetes - aka blood sugar elevation and insulin resistance (2)
- Immune Function (3)
- Weight Loss (4)
- High Blood Pressure (5)
- Mood/Depression (6,7)
- Digestion (8)
- And much much more.
In order to prevent falling levels of vitamin D there are numerous foods to enjoy. However, the adequate amounts of food necessary to fulfill our bodies' need would require eating like you were trying to win a hot-dog competition. Some foods high in vitamin D include (9):
4. Maitake Mushrooms
6. Portobello Mushrooms
7. Cod Liver Oil
9. Raw Milk
The easiest to make certain you don't become vitamin D deficient is to supplement when exposure to sun is limited. I personally recommend 5000 iu/day in order to maintain adequate levels in the body. There is very little risk of over-supplementing with vitamin D and great benefits from having what you truly need.
If you are wondering what your vitamin D levels are, which I recommend having checked regularly, talk with your doctor. The great news is it can be done quickly and added to a standard blood test. Recommendations for children are less than adults and vary based on age and weight.
In choosing a supplement form of vitamin D you are looking for D3 specifically. In order to get the best quality of vitamin D, look for a food based form. As always, supplements are being taken in addition to your normal routine and for you to maximize the benefit it should come from a great source. It's the least we all deserve.
1) Vitamin D and Influenza-Prevention or Therapy?. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(8):2419. Published 2018 Aug 16. doi:10.3390/ijms19082419
2) “Vitamin D deficiency increased insulin resistance, decreased insulin production, and was associated with the metabolic syndrome.” Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(3):266-81.
3) Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(3):266-81.
4) The Endocrine Society. "Successful Weight Loss With Dieting Is Linked To Vitamin D Levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2009.
5) Kunutsor, S. K. et al. Vitamin D and risk of future hypertension: meta-analysis of 283,537 participants. European Journal of Epidemiology 2013;28;205-221.
6) Vitamin D Supplementation on Premenstrual Syndrome-Related Mood Disorders in Adolescents with Severe Hypovitaminosis D. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, 2016.
7) Anglin RE, Samaan Z, Walter SD, McDonald SD. Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Psychiatry. 2013;202:100–107. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.111.106666.
8) British Medical Journal Open Gastroenterology, doi:10.1136/bmjgast-2015-000052, published 21 December 2015.
9) Schmid A & Walther B (2013) Natural vitamin D content in animal products. Adv Nutr 4, 453–462.