Vitamin D: Not Just For Strong Bones
Vitamin D has always been best known to help with Calcium absorption, leading to us having stronger bones and reduce fracture rates. But, research is now showing multiple benefits of this sunshine vitamin. While mainly absorbed from the sun, it can also be obtained in small quantities in the food we consume.
Egg Yolks (pasture raised)
However, the most absorbed form is called Vitamin D3. You obtain that from sunlight, as it is the best source. This becomes a problem during the winter months. We are not exposed to as much sunlight, which leads us to staying indoors. This has become an issue because of the inaccurate skin cancer prevention campaigns. Did you know that by using sunscreen at the lowest SPF of 15, cuts the skins vitamin D production by 99 percent? This supports recent research that says three-quarters of the US teens and adults are deficient in Vitamin D.
What Other Benefits?
1. Reduces Inflammation
2. Reduces Autoimmune conditions
3. Increases Immunity
4. Improves Brain Function
5. Reduces Cancer Cell Growth
6. Enhances Mood and Sleep
7. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Many of the Vitamin D deficiencies and symptoms/conditions result from chronic inflammation. One way deficiency promotes inflammation is by altering immune function. This results in a rise in pro-inflammatory cytokines that trigger inflammation. In one study, the anti-inflammatory properties help manage irritable bowl disease by modulation of inflammatory cytokines, TNF Interleukin 6. Vitamin D deficiency also associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome and hight cholesterol and low HDL’s(Good Cholesterol).
In sports, Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to higher incidence of muscle strains and core abdominal strains that are found in the NFL. Supplementation helps with pain and reduces infection in cancer patients. It also decreases pain and lowers pain scores on chronic pain patients. I use it as a go to supplement for my chronic pain patients. Deficiency is also associated with an increased risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Supplementation also protects against acute respiratory infections. In the winter when we are not exposed to as much sun and spend a majority of time indoors, we end up decreasing our natural Vitamin D. This then leads to increasing our risk of getting sick. Possibly a contributing factor in why we get sick more frequently in the winter.
How Much Should I Take?
At Greenwich Sports Medicine we do a comprehensive blood panel that looks for inflammatory markers that we believe contribute to most disease states. Vitamin OH-D3 is one of the markers we check. Normal range of vitamin D is 32ng/ml-100ng/ml but optimal levels to reduce inflammation and improve health is between 60ng/ml-80ng/ml.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. When supplementing, it is important to eat healthy fats! Such as, almonds, walnuts and avocado. Also, remember to supplement Magnesium as well. It is a cofactor for vitamin D absorption. High intake will cause depletion of Mg. Taking the right dosage based on your biomarkers is crucial. If you want to know what supplements you need and in what dosages, (such as vitamin D and Magnesium), feel free to make an appointment with one of our qualified doctors.
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Dr. Chris Mah