Vitamin D is not just a vitamin needed for energy and mood. Did you know that it is also considered a hormone? Vitamin D is multifunctional in that it regulates all cell types, tissues, organs, and enhances each system’s function. We need vitamin D to maintain a healthy immune system, cardiovascular health, cognition, hormone balance, and metabolism. It plays a role in pain, cancer, autoimmune disease, and depression as well. We get vitamin D from the sunlight, certain foods like fish or eggs, or supplementation. In the Midwest, it can be difficult to obtain optimal vitamin D from foods or sunlight alone. Even mild deficiencies or suboptimal levels increase our risk of chronic diseases.
Sun exposure has many benefits besides vitamin D. It also enhances mood by increasing production of serotonin and other endorphins that boost immunity, enhance sleep, and relieve pain. A person may experience symptoms of deficiency if they have difficulty focusing, frequent infections, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, pain, depression, and anxiety.
Requirements for vitamin D differ for all individuals. There are many factors that affect absorption and metabolism of vitamin D including age, co-nutrients, skin tone, a person’s weight, sun exposure, medication use, chronic conditions, and genetics.
In summary, supplementation is often necessary to get into optimal range for vitamin D, which is tighter than a standard reference range. Be sure to ask your functional medicine practitioner to see if your vitamin D level is optimal. Eating healthy can maximize vitamin D absorption, and sunlight has many benefits and the exposure time for every person is different. Just make sure not to burn! It is important to know your vitamin D level and retest as needed!
If you are interested in supplementing Vitamin D, check out our online store here!