We know it’s good for bones. But this vitamin impacts much further than that.
It’s known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and it’s used by many to help lift mood state, especially those who suffer from SAD.
Let’s take a look at the ‘whole body’ benefits of Vitamin D.
The last ground-breaking research we unearthed had indicated that Vitamin D receptor sites are located within our spine, this led to the theory (and successful implementation) that Vitamin D can be extremely beneficial for those suffering with spine, disc or lower back issues including the side-effects of an impingement such as sciatica.
To further pedestalize Vitamin D, more recent research has now indicated that we appear have receptors sites in almost every cell in our body. This means that Vitamin D plays a crucial role in total body health including brain and heart health, as well as protecting against premature ageing and combating against metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.
Defining Vit D deficiency
In formal terms, you would be defined as being deficient if your levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin d drop below 20ng / ml. You can access a blood test fairly easily to test your levels of Vitamin D, but there are some obvious and more subjective signs that could indicate you are deficient;
- Consistent lack of daylight, this is particularly prevalent in the winter months when we leave for work in the dark and leave the office to head home in the dark.
- Low immunity, and the feeling that you are going down with a cold / flu more often than you should.
- Slow recovery from illness or impaired healing of wounds.
- Hair loss.
- Muscle pain.
- Fatigue and tiredness.
- Depression and low mood state.
- Bone and back pain.
Deficiency tends to increase in older age groups and those with darker skin colour. Pollutants, smoking and vaping as well as other toxins interfere with Vitamin D metabolism as well as making the problem worse.
As we age our bodies create less Vitamin D even though paradoxically we need even more of it as we get older.
5000 - 8000 per day. If choosing to use a supplement, ensure sufficient amounts each day are taken and tune in to how you are feeling by the end of 7 days, especially if you have specific symptoms that you can monitor.
It’s generally accepted that excessive exposure to the sun can trigger skin cancers and accelerated skin aging so it may be prudent to not solely rely on this source alone but perhaps hone in on ingesting Vitamin D through food types and / or a high quality Vitamin D supplement.
Good natural sources
- Fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon
- Egg yolks
- Cod liver oil
- Mushrooms - produces more D2 and not as effective as D3
- Fortified foods - such as Soy milk
Mental Health Benefits
Vitamin D is also neuro-protective, helping to protect brain cells from premature agin including conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Higher levels of Vitamin D are linked to better cognitive function and lower rates of cognitive decline.
On a very deep cellular level, Vitamin D supplementation can actually increase the telomere length. Telomeres are the caps to our chromosomes and help maintain the integrity of our genes. In others the longer our telomeres the longer our life span.
Low ‘D’ is also linked to increased rate of atherosclerosis- the build up of plaque around the arteries as well as increase risk of heart attacks and similar cardiac issues with one such study suggesting elderly people being 12 times greater chance of heart failure.
It doesn’t end there. Low ‘D” is also linked to high blood pressure and high blood glucose.
Final point, vitamin D supplementation is also useful for IBS sufferers, low mood state, low morning energy and helping to maintain body composition.
Take a serious review of your Vitamin D intake, it could be the one thing you do that makes a fundamental shift toward enhanced health, increased longevity and expedited healing.