Understanding (the hormone) Vitamin D

Understanding (the hormone) Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone which your body produces naturally when exposed to the sun. There are many important benefits of this hormone, including immune system regulation which helps the body fight disease and the absorption of calcium and phosphorus vital to maintaining strong bones and teeth.

One-seventh of the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D. Researchers suggest that maintaining an adequate level of vitamin D can reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis, based on a 2018 review of population-based studies. Not taking chronic conditions into account, low vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease such as hypertension, stroke, and heart failure. As it is crucial to maintain a robust and healthy immune system, vitamin D lowers the risk of severe viral infections such as COVID-19 and the seasonal flu. Those with low vitamin D levels also are susceptible to autoimmune disorders and infections such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. 

The physiological advantages of this vitamin are accompanied by mental health benefits. Vitamin D has been shown to boost mood, and lower the risk of depression. A study by the National Library of Medicine conducted a study which yielded low vitamin D levels playing a role in severe fibromyalgia, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Looking at another study by the National Library of Medicine, adequate levels of vitamin D are shown to aid in weight loss. In this design, individuals given the placebo and diet plan recorded less weight loss than those with vitamin D, calcium supplements, and the same meal plan. 

So, what are some ways to boost your vitamin D levels? Foods such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), beef liver, cheese, mushrooms, and egg yolks are high in natural vitamin D. If you have a modified diet which restricts animal products, vitamin D supplements are a great way to aid your body. The daily recommendation according to the Times of India for babies between 0-12 months is 400 IU, Individuals ages 1-70 is 600 IU, then older adults ages 71 and older is 800 IU. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should adhere to a limit of 600 IU per day. 

*IU – International Units*

Here are Integrative Wellness Top Vitamin D picks: 

Pure Encapsulation’s Vegan Vitamin D 

  • Most Vitamin D supplements are not vegan as they are derived from animal products such as fatty fish. Pure Encapsulation’s Vitamin D is sourced from algae to support “musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurocognitive, cellular, and immune health.”

Designs for Health’s Liposomal D Supreme

  • Liposomes are spheres made from phospholipids which bond fluidly with the intracellular membranes, creating an efficient carrier system of nutrients such as the hormone Vitamin D. This liquid contains both Vitamin’s D and K which work synergistically together to support bodily functions. 

Just like everything however, too much of a substance out of moderation can cause issues. Symptoms of vitamin D overdose range from dizziness, nausea, and appetite loss, to increased thirst, headaches, and fatigue. Contact your health provider if you are feeling any of these symptoms after incorporating more vitamin D into your diet.

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Information Sources: Healthline, Times of India, MedlinePlus, Verywellmind


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