Oct 01, 2021

The next time you’re at a grocery store, take a moment to read labels on breakfast foods. You’ll find that most products, from cereal, oats and eggs to orange juice and milk feature the words, “Fortified with Vitamin D”. The fact that Vitamin D has been added to most of our everyday food products implies that a large portion of the American population is running on low reserves of this all-important nutrient.

But what is all the hype behind Vitamin D? Let’s find out!

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that our body uses to maintain optimal bone development and health, among a number of other important functions. It works by boosting the small intestine’s ability to absorb calcium, magnesium, and phosphate from our daily diet. In its natural form, Vitamin D is found in only a handful of foods. Some of them include fatty fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, and mushrooms. Another important source of Vitamin D is sun exposure. It is synthesized in our bodies when UV rays come in contact with our skin, earning itself the nickname of ‘the sunshine vitamin’.

Vitamin D Fact Sheet:

  1. Almost 1 out 4 Americans do not have adequate levels of Vitamin D required for strong bone health and overall well-being.
  2. Your skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D under sun exposure reduces as you age.
  3. Vitamin D consists of a group of calciferols. Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2 are mainly present in foods, while 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 is found in animal products.
  4. Apart from its well-known role in maintaining bone strength, Vitamin D also boosts your immunity, cardiovascular health, hormonal health, and mental health.

How much Vitamin D do we need?

Feeling excessively tired or worn out? Chances are that you’re running low on Vitamin D. It is usually among the first parameters that most doctors analyze while evaluating a patient. The reason being that most people function with inadequate levels of Vitamin D, without even realizing it. According to this 2017 study, 93-100% of Americans receive less than 400 IU of vitamin D through their diet. Add to this our sun-phobia, and you have almost a third of Americans who are simply deficient.

The amount of Vitamin D needed by our bodies changes with age and varies with ethnicity as well. Based on individual needs, doctors can prescribe a differing amount of Vitamin D supplementation. As a general rule of thumb, adults require around 600 I.U per day to stay in the pink of health. Elderly people, at a higher risk of bone deterioration, would require up to 800 I.U of Vitamin D.

The connection between Vitamin D and strong bones is simply the tip of the iceberg! Read on to discover 5 reasons why you need Vitamin D:

  1. Keeps Risk of Breast Cancer in Check: Breast cancer tops the list of most common cancers among women, with cases continuing to rise each year. According to research, diet has an impact on 35% of breast cancer cases. Cutting down on alcohol and red meat while increasing fiber and Vitamin D intake could offer protection against this disease. Vitamin D has been shown to control the growth of breast cells and suppress inflammation. It decreases cell proliferation which is the rate at which cancer cells grow and multiply. Research further suggests that women with low Vitamin D levels may be susceptible to certain types of breast cancer.
  2. Keeps Thyroid Disorders at Bay: The American Thyroid Association states that nearly 20 million Americans suffer from some form of thyroid-related disorders. There have been reports suggesting that low vitamin D levels can send your thyroid gland into disarray. According to this study, 72% of participants with autoimmune thyroid disease had Vitamin D deficiency. While more in-depth clinical research is in the works, upping your intake of Vitamin D can help keep your thyroid functioning at its best.
  3. Maintains Strong & Healthy Bones: Vitamin D plays an essential role in calcium absorption and bone mineralization, both factors that ensure healthy levels of bone mineral density. Having a prolonged deficiency of Vitamin D ultimately leads to reduced calcium absorption. Over time, this puts you at an increased risk of fracture and osteoporosis.
  4. Offers Protection from Autoimmune Diseases: If you have been keeping healthy and infection-free for a while, then you have Vitamin D to thank for. This versatile vitamin performs a number of anti-fibrotic, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory actions. For starters, it suppresses inflammation and promotes tolerogenic responses. Ongoing research has shown that low levels of 25(OH)D can put people at an increased risk of triggering autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis among others.
  5. Helps Prevent Respiratory Infections: Respiratory tract infections may sound unalarming, but in an acute form can be life-threatening. In the US, acute RTIs account for almost 10% of emergency room visits. Recent studies such as this one show that supplementation with Vitamin D2 or D3 reduced the risk of acute respiratory infections in all participants. Those with deficient levels of Vitamin D experienced a higher benefit from the study. While more conclusive research is underway, this correlation is a great reminder to maintain adequate Vitamin D levels if you’re at risk of developing a respiratory infection.

The list doesn’t end here! Apart from the above, Vitamin D has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health, metabolic health, and overall wellness.

At My Pure MD, taking a holistic and functional medicine approach empowers us to optimize not only Vitamin D deficiency but various intracellular nutrients through advanced diagnostics. We utilize reliable alternative medicine in Houston to create an individualistic treatment plan for you. For more information or to book an appointment, contact us today.

October 1, 2021

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