As we come to the peak of winter, many people will begin taking Vitamin D supplements. Research shows that individuals living in the northeastern United States suffer the most from Vitamin D deficiency, and many Rochester nutritionists will agree that our area is no exception. Let’s talk about why Vitamin D is so important, what some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are, and how we can safely increase our Vitamin D intake.
To understand why we need Vitamin D, we first need to talk about calcium. The human body needs calcium for nerves to function properly. In order to make sure there is always enough calcium for the entire nervous system, the body will constantly monitor the blood to ensure there is a sufficient level of calcium present. When blood calcium gets too low, the brain will send signals to absorb more calcium however it can; this is where Vitamin D comes into play. Vitamin D is used to help absorb calcium from the digestive system. Without Vitamin D, the body can’t get calcium from the digestive tract and instead will go after the calcium stored in bones. Prolonged leaching of calcium from bones can lead to osteoporosis.
Not only is Vitamin D important for skeletal and nerve health, but it is also important for your immune system. Certain immune cells require Vitamin D to activate. These cells in the immune system specifically adapt to new entities in the body. Without Vitamin D, foreign entities won't be as easily picked off by the immune system, leaving the body more susceptible to infections.
Today, people are simply not getting enough Vitamin D, especially in the wintertime. The cold weather and limited sunlight during the winter months prevent the ultraviolet exposure necessary for adequate Vitamin D production in the skin. Supplementation can be very helpful during this time, but it is important to be careful with what dosage you get. It is possible to overdose with Vitamin D which can cause nausea, vomiting, and muscle weakness. Aim for between 1000-2000 IU’s when supplementing.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can be subtle and many times can be the explanation for a lot of issues you may be dealing with during the winter. Depression, fatigue, muscle aches, and cramps can all be explained by a lack of Vitamin D. The simple solution is to get more exposure to sunlight. Standing outside with your face and arms exposed for as little as 15 minutes will produce all the Vitamin D necessary for the day. If you plan on going the supplement route, be careful of your dosage. Make sure you aren’t accidentally double-dosing by taking a Vitamin D supplement as well as a multivitamin.
If you have any questions about Vitamin D or any other vitamin deficiency, give our office a call and talk to our Rochester nutritionist. At Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, we can answer all of your nutritional questions and help you fuel your body to perform optimally. Many have come to see our nutritionist in Rochester for help modifying their diet to support all kinds of chronic conditions. Schedule a free consultation today.