Vitamins are considered essential nutrients and when you are lacking in them, there may be health consequences. Vitamin D is important for good overall health and strong, healthy bones. Vitamin D also helps support your muscles, heart, lungs, and brain. Unlike other types of vitamins, your body actually makes its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but you can also get vitamin D from certain foods, like fatty fish and dairy, and supplements. Your skin type, color, where you live, and the extent of sun exposure can all impact your vitamin D levels.
Nearly every tissue and cell in the body has receptors for vitamin D. This means that all tissues and cells require vitamin D for adequate functioning. It’s main function is to help the body absorb calcium and maintain phosphorus levels in the blood to promote bone growth, but vitamin D also helps improve muscle function, protects from cardiovascular disease, and decreases the risk of diabetes and cancer. Studies have shown that 17 different types of cancers, multiple sclerosis, and the incidence of heart attacks have been found to be associated with low vitamin D levels. How much vitamin D you should be getting depends on your sex, age, and variety of other factors.
Vitamin D has powerful effects on several systems throughout the body. When your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D to keep it healthy, a deficiency results. Severe vitamin D deficiency may result in osteomalacia, a condition that causes soft and brittle bones. Lack of vitamin D over an extended period of time has also been linked to cancer, asthma, diabetes, obestity, hypertension, and high blood pressure. People commonly at risk for a deficiency include those with inadequate sun exposure like those living in northern climates or those with fat malabsorption, also known as a leaky gut. Many people do not realize that they are deficient because the symptoms are subtle. Most people do not get enough vitamin D. In fact, it’s likely that if you aren’t supplementing your vitamin D, your levels are probably too low. Signs that you’re not getting enough vitamin D include excessive sweating, fatigue, weakness, and muscle pain. A blood test can determine how much vitamin D is in your body.
The best treatment for vitamin D deficiency is vitamin D supplements. It’s difficult to get all the vitamin D you need from food and sun exposure should be limited. A functional medicine doctor will be able to determine proper dosage to correct your levels. Vitamin D toxicity, or too much vitamin D, can result if dosage is too high. It is highly unlikely that toxicity will result from too much sun exposure. Vitamin D toxicity results in a buildup of calcium in your body which can cause nausea, weakness, and frequent urination. Treatment includes stopping vitamin D intake.
Dr. Jim Gruber at J. Gruber Health Solutions is a functional medicine doctor with years of experience in Vitamin D deficiency and treatment. Contact us today at 303-746-1964 to see how you can start feeling better today.