Within the practice we often see generalized symptoms of fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain. This can be a variety of things but living in northeast especially during the winter months a deficiency in Vitamin D is more common and is under diagnosed. As chiropractors it is in our scope of practice to order blood work. Either during your initial consultation for chiropractic or consultation for our nutritional program we will evaluate you to see if you would be a good candidate to evaluate for a Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and one of the most important vitamins for our cellular development. Though five forms of it are known to science. The two forms that matter most to us are D2, a synthetic form made by irradiating fungus and plant matter. Also D3 cholecalciferol, a natural form created in your body from sunlight exposure. Vitamin D3 is 87% more potent than vitamin D2, making it the best form of vitamin D for our bodies.
What does vitamin D do?
Helps with calcium absorption
Vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium in our stomachs while maintaining the concentrations of serum calcium and phosphate needed to ensure normal bone mineralization. Vitamin D and Calcium work together to support bone health. Without sufficient vitamin D, our bones can become brittle and thin. An extreme deficiency can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis in older adults.
Supports cardiovascular health
Without adequate amounts of vitamin D, there can be an excess of calcium in our bodies that may build up in arteries. This build up is called atherosclerosis. People suffering from atherosclerosis have a much greater risk of developing heart disease. Additionally, studies have shown that people with low vitamin D levels are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
Regulates cell growth
Vitamin D is known to decrease cell division and increase the normal maturation of cells. It also helps block the production of proteins that prevent cellular death in cancer cells, while aiding the proteins that cause it. In turn reducing your risk of cancer by acting like an antioxidant.
I know I am happier when I spend a day out in the sunshine, how about you? This is because the vitamin D that our bodies synthesize from sunlight increases monoamine levels. Monoamines are neurotransmitters. Best-known monoamine is Serotonin. In fact antidepressants work by increasing the amounts of monoamines in our brains. Sunlight-derived vitamin D increases our monoamine levels naturally and without side effects.
How much vitamin D do we need?
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin D in adults is 600 international units (IU) in both men and women. However, like so many RDIs from official sources, this number is significantly low. Since our bodies produce 10,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D after a mere 30 minutes of full-body sunbathing without sunscreen. Ask your health care provider what a proper dosage for you would be. This is based on blood results, health history and lifestyle. 10,000 IU per day, for example, is a good amount for most healthy adults..
Few foods contain vitamin D, and it's virtually impossible to obtain adequate levels of it from diet alone. Many processed foods are fortified with Vitamin D, which means synthetic Vitamin D is added to these foods. That said, the following foods are good dietary sources of vitamin D: fatty fish (especially salmon, mackerel and tuna), fish oils like cod liver oil, raw milk, cheese and egg yolks. Another way to get an adequate amount of Vitamin D is to go play outside each day for 30 minutes without sunscreen.
Have you experienced symptoms of fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain during the colder months? What did you do to increase your levels of vitamin D? Share with us in the comments below!