Less Sun Means Less Vitamin DNovember 9, 2015
Time for Vitamin D
With the clocks switching back and the days getting shorter we’re all seeing less of the sun! Which means this time of year might be appropriate to get your Vitamin D levels checked.
One type of Vitamin D is made in your skin when exposed to sunlight. Few foods contain active sources of Vitamin D, but include eggs (the yolk!), fortified milk, some fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel), some mushrooms and many supplements (cod liver oil and pill forms). Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed better when consumed with some fat (along with Vitamins A, D, E and K).
Vitamin D’s roles are not fully understood, but we know it impacts our blood levels calcium and phosphorus. Calcium in the blood is controlled by calcium in the bone, which makes Vitamin D important for bone health! It also has been linked with immune function, endocrine (hormones), and cardiovascular health. Some links with Diabetes management and cognitive function have been found as well. Some cancers have also been associated with poor Vitamin D status.
There aren’t many symptoms of low Vitamin D, except muscle or bone pain. However, many things occur when our Vitamin D is too low. Currently, The Institute of Medicine defines deficiency of below 30nmol/L, insufficiency as 30-49nmol/L and sufficiency as 20-50nmol/L. Talking with your doctor about a supplement for the winter months might be appropriate if your numbers fall in any of these lower ranges. Adults are recommended to obtain between 600-800 IUs per day if they have normal Vitamin D levels. You may need to work with your doctor on a mega dose if your Vitamin D is very low. Several factors, including older age, fat malabsorption, obesity and even magnesium deficiency can alter the synthesis, absorption and metabolism of Vitamin D.