Vitamin D & Overall Health
One of the most important but often overlooked vitamins in this world is Vitamin D. In this article we’ll go over the benefits of vitamin D and the effects it can ultimately have on your overall health if you have enough of it or if you are insufficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D Insufficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. An estimated 1 billion people worldwide, across all ethnicities and age groups have a Vitamin D deficiency. Do NOT be one of those people. Read on to get educated on Vitamin D!
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D (also referred as “calciferol”) is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in a few foods, added to some others and available as a dietary supplement. You also get Vitamin D when ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sunlight hit the skin & trigger vitamin D Synthesis. Indoor activities, time of day, pollution, seasonal change among other factors all affect Vitamin D production. Which is why if you’re in the midwest like myself there is such a thing as “seasonal depression” which is largely due to the fact you’re getting less sunlight and MUCH less Vitamin D unless you’re supplementing with it year-round.
Benefits of Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is a needed nutrient for building and maintaining healthy bones. That’s because your body can only absorb calcium, the primary component of bone, when vitamin D is present. Vitamin D regulates MANY other cellular functions including: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant & neuroprotective properties support immune health, muscle function & brain cell activity.
Vitamin D & Mood:
Seasonal depression. You may have heard it before, especially if you’re in the midwest like myself or any other state with a snowy winter that lacks sunlight for a portion of the year. But seasonal depression is just a myth right? Absolutely WRONG. It is very real and affects roughly 10 million Americans worldwide. Vitamin D supplementation year-round is recommended but especially during the months where you’re getting less sunlight. If not Vitamin D do some looking into light therapy, it can do wonders for you and your mood!
Immune Health & Vitamin D:
It’s not breaking news that the winter months are known as “cold and flu season”. Colds, Flu and other respiratory problems are prevalent in winter months which is also the time of year people are MOST deficit in vitamin D due to lacking sunlight. Most people do not supplement with vitamin D. Vitamin D has been used to treat certain infections before antibiotics became a norm to society and the medical field. Tuberculosis patients were sent to sanatoriums (medical facilities for long term illness) where treatment included exposure to sunlight which was thought to directly kill the tuberculosis.
There have been multiple cross-sectional studies associating lower levels of Vitamin D with increased infection. One report studied almost 19,000 subjects between 1988 & 1994. Individuals with lower Vitamin D levels were more likely to self-report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for variables including season, age, gender, body mass & race 
Vitamin D & Exercise:
Vitamin D has many benefits for the average person but even more so for the athlete and the active person who exercises regularly. There is a strong correlation between sufficient Vitamin D levels and optimal muscle function. Increasing levels of Vitamin D reduce inflammation, pain and myopathy (disease that affects the muscles that control voluntary movement in the body), while increasing muscle protein synthesis, ATP concentration, strength, jump height, jump velocity, jump power, exercise capacity and physical performance. Vitamin D deficiency is common in athletes. For athletes presenting with stress fractures, musculoskeletal pain, and frequent illness; one should have a heightened awareness of the additional likelihood of Vitamin D deficiency.
Dosage of Vitamin D:
Now that we’ve spoken about the benefits of Vitamin D let's talk about dosage.
For the majority of the population I’d recommend taking anywhere from 1,000- 5,000 IU per day, depending upon how deficient you are you can take up to 10,000 IU per day. If you’re curious if you’re truly deficient, speak to your doctor about getting a blood test done to see what your levels are at and go from there.
Any questions anyone may have feel free to contact me via email or social media!
1.Ginde AA, Mansbach JM, Camargo CA., Jr. Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and upper respiratory tract infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med.2009;169(4):384–90. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Other links and resources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269/- Vitamin D & seasonal depression
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3497950/- Sports Health benefits & Vitamin D
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/- Vitamin D the sunshine vitamin