Vitamin D has gotten a lot of buzz recently and it seems that many people are taking note and adding Vitamin D supplementation to their routines. I personally had a Vitamin D deficiency (among other hormonal imbalances) and was under a Vitamin D regimen with my physician for several months. The combination of imbalances meant complete exhaustion, extreme muscle fatigue, and inflammation.
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Traditionally, the combination of Vitamin D and calcium has been used to strengthen bone density, as Vitamin D is critical to the absorption of calcium in the intestines. According to a UC Berkley Wellness Report on Vitamin D:
“When vitamin D from food, supplements and/or sun exposure is low, absorption of dietary calcium in the intestine is about 10 to 15 percent; when vitamin D levels are adequate, intestinal absorption of dietary calcium more than doubles, rising to 30 to 40 percent. As a result, when vitamin D is low, not enough calcium may be absorbed to maintain bone health or to perform the mineral’s other important metabolic functions. We now know that vitamin D requirements may vary based on calcium intake, just as calcium requirements vary based on vitamin D intake.”
In addition to its effect on calcium absorption, Vitamin D is also being heavily researched for its role in preventing other ailments besides fragile bones. Among the conditions being researched are cancer, autoimmune diseases, periodontal disease, and high blood pressure.
Most people know Vitamin D’s primary source as the sun. A ten-minute daily exposure to direct sunlight (not just sitting near a window) is a good way to boost your body’s Vitamin D production. This is the maximum amount of direct sun exposure recommended by dermatologists; so if you are trying to address a Vitamin D deficiency, turn to food and/or supplementation instead of increasing sun exposure.
Ways to boost Vitamin D:
- Increase your consumption of foods high in Vitamin D: fatty fishes (salmon, mackerel, tuna), eggs, beef liver, mushrooms, cheese, fortified milk or other fortified products like cereal.
- Take an oral Vitamin D supplement. The acceptable intake level by the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements is 600 IUs for adults between the ages of 18-70. If your physician has tested your Vitamin D levels, they may recommend a different dosage. Personally while undergoing regular Vitamin D monitoring, I was up to 10,000 IUs per day, so the recommendations from medical professionals can vary greatly by patient.
- Add it to your food. There is now a “spice powder” on the market that is made from mushrooms that were exposed to UV light. Mushrooms synthesize Vitamin D similarly to humans, so their levels get boosted with the UV exposure. A teaspoon of the VitaD Fortified Whole Food Spice Powder, developed by the Dole Nutrition Institute and Skin Authority, contains 600 IUs of Vitamin D. I recently started adding this into my supplementation regimen. Surprisingly, there is no taste to the powder.
It’s important to note that it is possible to have Vitamin D toxicity if there is too much in your blood. Signs of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. So stop and do research or seek out professional medical attention before popping lots of Vitamin D.
Have you had a Vitamin D deficiency? How do you make sure you get enough Vitamin D daily?