07 Dec What Happens If Your Body Is Low In Vitamin D?
Most people think about Vitamin D as being related to bone health, but that is just the beginning!
Vitamin D3 helps our body to absorb calcium and phosphorus, both of which we need for bone density but this is just the most commonly known function. Vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone that has many functions in the body and affects the health of almost all body systems, including the immune system (plays a role in preventing cancer) and the digestive system (helps to keep the lining of Digestive system healthy to avoid “leaky gut”).
Did you know that Vitamin D should always be taken with Vitamin K2 and Magnesium?
Vitamin K2 activates a protein that helps minerals to bind to our bones. This is important because if we absorb more minerals like calcium thanks to Vitamin D but do not get it into our bones it is likely to calcify our arteries and organs. (Taking calcium/Magnesium supplements in small doses spread out throughout the day and not all at once can help avoid this as well).
For this same reason it is best to take Vitamin D in smaller daily doses than larger weekly doses.
Magnesium helps Vitamin D activate to its final state. if you don’t take supplemental Magnesium while taking a Vitamin D supplement you will further deplete the store of Magnesium your body has (and 2/3 of the general population is already deficient in Magnesium.
Vitamin D should be tested in a blood test once a year (ask your PCP to order this test if they don’t already do so) and then if it is low, ideally 3 months after beginning supplementation to see if the dose is adequate.
There is controversy about optimal vitamin D blood levels, but generally the recommended range is between 50 and 80.
Low vitamin D levels (under 30) have been associated with symptoms and conditions such as:
- Increased calcium loss from bones, osteoporosis
- Poor wound healing
- Increased muscle pain
- Increased joint and back pain
- Greater risk of depression
- Increased diabetes
- Increased schizophrenia
- Increased migraines
- Increased autoimmune disease (lupus, scleroderma, thyroiditis)
- Increased allergies
- Increased inflammation
In the summer if your arms and legs are exposed to a “pinking dose” (not a red burn) of sun (about 15-20 minutes) your body will make 10,000-15,000 IU of vitamin D, however if you wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 you block 100% of Vitamin D production. The darker your skin the longer it takes to make this level of vitamin D.
In New England in the Fall and Winter (October to May) the sun is not strong enough to make Vitamin D and need to take a supplement to avoid becoming deficient during these months.
So, if you are not already taking a Vitamin D supplement at this time of year it is strongly recommended to do so, but only along with Vitamin K2 and Magnesium.
Ask me if you would like a recommendation on dose or type.
https://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/nki.c20.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Vitamin-D.pdf (this handout was written by Tracy Harrison PhD who is the founder of the School for Applied Functional Medicine)