Updated: Apr 21, 2021
Ah, yes, the sunshine vitamin! Did you know that not having enough of this vitamin can impact your MOOD and your immune system?
I've taken Vitamin D on and off again for years. I am not ashamed to admit that in the early years of taking it, I was NOT consistent. I also tended to take it more in the fall and winter seasons than spring and summer. Are you like me in the past? Or, have you managed to develop a STRONG routine of taking this amazing and necessary vitamin?
It is possible to obtain Vitamin D through food, supplements and sunshine!
If you live in the Northern Climates, you hear about vitamin D deficiency frequently. ALL.OF.THE.TIME, even. I am assuming for those in sunnier parts of the country and world, it is not nearly as much of a buzz word. As much as we tend to hear about vitamin D, I do not believe we fully comprehend how vital this fat soluble vitamin is to our very existence. Let’s explore a bit.
The National Health Service in the UK tells us that: “Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia (softening of the bones through deficiency of Vitamin D or Calcium)in adults.”
And, the Cleveland Clinic tells us: “Vitamin D helps with strong bones and may help prevent some cancers. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include muscle weakness, pain, fatigue and depression.”
And, even still…the Healthline website informs us with this lil tidbit: “In another study of people with fibromyalgia, researchers found vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who were also experiencing anxiety and depression.”
To make this even worse, it isn’t something your body can produce on its own! You must obtain it from an outside source. Your options are supplements, food or sunshine. Let’s discuss.
Sunshine is great…but there are areas that it is more easily absorbed AND there are people that it doesn’t work as well. Some people are sensitive to the sun either due to predisposition or a side effect of medication. People with dark complexions aren’t going to absorb at the same rate as those with lighter skin!
Food, is always a good option but there are not many sources that have naturally occurring Vitamin D. For non-fortified options, you have: Salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines (wild fish will serve you better than farmed here), Egg yolk, mushrooms. If you are considering fortified options (they add in the vitamin/mineral/nutrient) you can have a variety of cereals, orange juice or milks.
Supplements, last but not least, especially for those of us who don’t like the food options. The issue here is that if you are not deficient (simple blood work w/tell you what you need to know) and you take too much, it can be an issue. Harvard and JAMA lets us know that too much vitamin D can lead to kidney stones in older women as well as an increase in falls with fractures.
But, the majority of us…won’t have that issue. Most people have SOME level of deficiency. Others, end up taking massive amounts of D2 on a weekly basis to get to a minimum requirement. Like, I mentioned, a lab workup with a blood sample will tell your doctor if you have that issue.
You still with me? I know, it’s a long one. Okay, so why is it important? Well, right now…while we are STILL in the grips of COVID-19…Vitamin D supports your immune system. But, the other super important component of Vitamin D, especially during COVID-19 and the age of the quarantine…Depression.
Yeah. Even the National Institute of Health advises us that detecting and addressing insufficient vitamin D levels in individuals that face challenges of mental health, especially Depression can have positive impacts on general quality of life.
We know the sunshine vitamin affects Seasonal Affective Disorder, but there MIGHT be an improvement as well for mood and Vitamin D outside of SAD. How? Well, let’s keep going with the National Institute of Health, they advised that a study in 2008 by Jorde, et al that taking vitamin D, there was a “significant” improvement in Depression.
Research it some more, it might help you feel better!
Talk to your doctor (you want to let them know what you are taking, always) have them do some lab work
(you don’t want to take it if you don’t need it!)
And, figure out the best approach.