Your Food and You: Vitamin D

Vitamin D [also known as Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), Ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2)] is a unique fat-soluble vitamin, as the body produces it when the skin is exposed to UV light. It acts more like a hormone than a vitamin once it is in the body. Additionally, vitamin D plays many roles in the body:

  • Increases the absorption of calcium from food
  • Ensures that there is enough calcium in the blood for adequate bone formation
  • Improves cognition
  • Assists in immune function, cell growth, and fetal development
  • Aids in mental health
  • Potentially reduces risk of falling
  • Potentially reduces risk of cancer, hearing disease, and diabetes
  • Assists in bone and teeth formation by regulating levels of calcium and phosphorous in the body

Not getting enough? Most people are neither deficient in vitamin D, nor do they have optimal levels of vitamin D. People with deficiency may experience:

  • Improper mineralization of bone tissue, which leads to soft bones and skeletal deformities such as rickets
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cognitive impairment in older adults
  • Glucose intolerance

Who should consider a supplement?

  • Anyone whose exposure to sunlight may be limited:
    • People who live in the Northern hemisphere and don’t receive as much direct sun exposure, or live in areas where the UV index for most of the year is below 3
    • People with darker skin are at greater risk of deficiency as the pigment in their skin slows the rate of synthesis
    • People who work night shifts or are housebound
    • People who wear full clothing for work or religious reasons, thereby limiting bare skin exposure
  • People on extremely low-fat diets
  • Elderly
  • People taking anticonvulsant medications
  • People with Chron’s Disease
  • People who follow a strict vegan diet

Here’s our Fact Sheet below on how much you need, what that means in terms of food, and meal ideas to get vitamin D in your diet!

Vitamin-D-Fact-Sheet-Small

Download our PDF version here.

July 24, 2015
Revive Wellness