Vitamin D Brightening Your Day

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is an essential fat soluble vitamin, which actually functions more as a steroid hormone than a vitamin. Hormones are responsible for genetic expression causing the production of various proteins which perform direct functions within the body. Vitamin D aids with calcium absorption, bone development, immune functioning and alleviating inflammation. It is involved in thousands of metabolic pathways in our body. The active form of Vitamin D is Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. In our blood serum it is measured as 1, 25 Dihydroxycholecalciferol to determine if you have adequate levels. It’s estimated that in winter months that 95% of seniors and 85% of Americans have vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency.

Where Can I Get Vitamin D?

The current US recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is 600IU (international units), which many sources view as an insufficient amount to maintain adequate serum levels. Vitamin D is found in fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon), mushrooms, beef liver, egg yolks and cheese. It is also found in many other foods that have been fortified with Vitamin D such as orange juice, milk and cereals. Vitamin D is also called the “sunshine vitamin” as it is one of the few vitamins that can be produced in your skin with exposure to sunlight/UV light. However the application of sunscreens and skin pigmentation play a role in how much your body makes.

Research has shown that Vitamin D supplementation can improve pregnancy outcomes while reducing nausea and morning sickness. Vitamin D is equally important for pregnant women to help with developing strong bones in the baby. The Endocrine Society states that the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D for pregnant women is 1,000 IU/day, with upper limits being 10,000 IU/day.

Vitamin D food sources

What are the Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency ?

Vitamin D deficiency is known as Rickets in children and Osteomalacia in adults. In children it can lead to soft bones and skeletal deformities. In adults it can cause bone and joint pain, difficulty concentrating/thinking, muscle weakness, soft bones and unexplained fatigue. It is also associated with the “Winter Blues” or mild seasonal depression due to its effects on the neurotransmitters in the brain. Vitamin D Deficiency has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, various cancers, immune system compromise, infections, Diabetes, inflammation, allergies and a host of other problems as researchers are continually doing studies on it. Vitamin D Deficiency is more frequently seen in elderly people, people with limited sun exposure, darker pigmented skin and being overweight/obese.

What Can Your Chiropractor do for Vitamin D Deficiency?

Due to its links with bone and joint pain, muscle weakness and other skeletal conditions including fibromyalgia patients frequently seen in chiropractic practice have Vitamin D deficiencies. Chiropractors can send you out for a simple blood test to determine your levels of Vitamin D. The blood level will determine if you are getting adequate Vitamin D, or if your intake/production is considered insufficient or deficient. Based upon the results of the blood test, time of year and sun exposure your Chiropractor can make the proper recommendation for dosage to maintain or raise your Vitamin D level to optimal. Also supplementing with the proper type of Vitamin D is important. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is frequently prescribed although studies have shown it does not raise your levels like D3, and in some cases have actually been shown to decrease Vitamin D levels with long term use. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred supplement and is available over the counter and does not need a prescription.

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