I am continuing my blogs on Vitamins and this is on Vitamin D also known as the sunshine vitamin. The reason for this is that exposure to the sun helps us produce Vitamin D through our cholesterol. However, millions of people are short in Vitamin D. This is a result of many different factors. Before I get into these reasons I will give a brief explanation of what Vitamin D is.
First of all, it is one of the fat-soluble vitamins which means that it is stored in our fat cells until needed. Vitamin D is not like other vitamins. Studies have shown that it acts more like a hormone in our systems. There are two main types of Vitamin D - D2 found in Yeast, Mushrooms and some plants. D3 is found in Fatty Fish and egg yolks. For a complete list of foods containing Vitamin D see https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-high-in-vitamin-d and https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#h3
For more information on how this hormone is produced and stored in your system go to https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-101#functions, This website goes into a great deal of information on Vitamin D.
Some of the reasons many people are short on vitamin D are as follows.
- Not spending enough time outside. Even ten minutes a day in the sun helps boost your Vitamin D levels
- Using sunscreen every time you go outside. This blocks your skin from absorbing the sun's rays which help your system produce vitamin D. I am not advocating that you never use sunscreen. Especially if you are going to be outside for extended periods of time. However, going without sunscreen for the first 10 - 30 minutes is recommended depending on how sensitive you are to the sun. The darker your skin the more time you need to spend outside to produce vitamin D.
- Wearing long-sleeved clothing and slacks when you go outside to get the ten minutes or so of sunshine.
- Not eating foods that contain vitamin D.
- Living in Northern climates where it is too cold to go outside for many months of the year.
- Not taking vitamin D supplements.
- Not taking supplements which contain vitamin K1 required by our systems to work together with Vitamin D.
- Getting older, as we age it is more difficult for our systems to produce vitamin D.
What does Vitamin D do for us?
Vitamin D is essential for our system. According to Medical News Today, the following are the functions of Vitamin D,
“Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body, helping to
- Maintain the health of bones and teeth.
- Support the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system.
- Regulate insulin levels and aid diabetes management.
- Support lung function and cardiovascular health.
- Influence the expression of genes involved in cancer development”
For further information, you can go to https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
There are many signs of vitamin D deficiency many of them we do not often think. If you have any of these symptoms you should speak with your Dr., as they may be signs of other medical conditions.
These signs are listed on the following websites. Medical News Today and Healthline. They both list the same signs, but I have quoted directly from Medical News Today.
“Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency may include:
- Getting sick or infected more often.
- Painful bones and back.
- Depressed mood.
- Impaired wound healing.
- Hair loss.
- Muscle pain.”
Medical News Today also lists conditions which may result from a long term lack of Vitamin D. Again I recommend speaking with your Dr. if you have any of the above symptoms or any of the following conditions. Your Dr may want to test your Vitamin D levels.
“If Vitamin D deficiency continues for long periods of time it can result in
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease
Vitamin D deficiency may also contribute to the development of certain cancers, especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers. We explain this in a little more detail later.”
For further reading you may go to the following websites:
Can too much Vitamin D be bad for you?
In my research I have found like many foods, too much of any mineral or Vitamin can be harmful to your system. I was under the assumption that both water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins are good for you. How could eating a lot of food with them in be bad? I knew some vitamin supplements could be harmful if you took too many. I found out I was correct. According to Healthline, you can not reach dangerously high blood levels of Vitamin D through sun exposure and diet alone. Toxic levels of Vitamin D found in your blood are as a result of taking too much Vitamin D supplements either by taking more than the recommended amount for your age and/or health requirements. Toxic levels can be reached if the dosage of vitamin D in the bottle is not the same as the dosage listed on the bottle. Always have your vitamin D levels monitored if you are taking any supplements.
Symptoms of toxic levels of Vitamin D
If your blood levels of Vitamin D are too high you may develop the following symptoms.
- Vomiting, nausea and stomach pains
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Dizziness and confusion
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent Urination
Too much Calcium in your blood can lead to bone loss. Too little Vitamin D leads to bone loss, but so can too much Vitamin D. Some Researchers have suggested that too much Vitamin D in your blood can lead to low levels of Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is necessary to maintain the levels of Calcium in your bones. When taking a Vitamin D supplement you should try to take one with Vitamin K2 in it as well.
Excessive Vitamin D Levels may lead to injury to your Kidneys,
Consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you are having any of the above symptoms. Always consult your Dr.about what Vitamin D levels are right for you.
The Government of Canada offers a guideline for the amount of Calcium and Vitamin D for Canadians. For this information go to