Absolutely? This is the first thought in my head! Vitamin D helps with so many functions of the body. It is an immune system modulator (ie. soldier and defender for the body)1,2, helps with skeletal health3, and can help with autoimmune disorders4. Who doesn’t want these benefits regardless of your current health?!? Did you realize that low Vitamin D levels can contribute to the development of upper respiratory infections? So taking Vitamin D during the winter can reduce the ability to contract a cold or the flu by nearly 50% IF you are already deficient. And 57% of Americans are already Vitamin D deficient too.
How does Vitamin D work?
There are two forms of Vitamin D. Calcidiol and Calcitriol. The first is the inactive form, the storage form. This is what is stored in the Liver for usage later when needed. The second form is the active form, the “steroid-hormone” form of Vitamin D which is used primarily in the kidneys. Calcitriol interacts with most every single cell in your body. It helps with absorption of calcium and phosphorus into the cells. This is especially important in metabolism and repair of the cells.
Did you know your body sees it as a hormone rather than a vitamin?
Due to its functions and usage within the body, YES–This is how the body “sees” this vitamin. Vitamin D supports numerous functions within your body. Vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand and help each other be absorbed into the body. Vitamin D can help your mood regulation5 as well. Who doesn’t need that?
In addition, Vitamin D and calcium supplementation together could help you lose weight. A study6 found that taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement helped subjects lose more weight than those with a placebo. The extra calcium and vitamin D offered appetite suppression. Finally, overweight people who took a vitamin D supplement in this study7 improved their heart disease risk markers.
How do I know if I am Vitamin D deficient?
In adults and children, Vitamin D deficiency can present as general tiredness, aches and pain both in your joints and muscles, muscle weakness, and bone weakness that can lead to stress fractures, especially in the legs, pelvis, and hip joints. A simple blood test can provide you with a solid answer as well!
It is the current recommendation that at least 500 IU is taken daily. This seems low since so many Americans suffer from deficiency. Take at least 2000-5000 IUs for one month and then lower based upon symptoms or testing. Having another blood test after a few months of taking a supplement will tell you if it is working.
Feel free to talk to Dr. Vicki if you have questions! As always, talk to your primary care physician if needed.
- Hewison M., Gacad M.A., Lemire J., Adams J.S. Vitamin D as a cytokine and hematopoetic factor. Rev. Endocr. Metab. Disord. 2001;2:217–227. doi: 10.1023/A:1010015013211. [PubMed]
- 10. Adams J.S., Hewison M. Update in vitamin D. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 2010;95:471–478. doi: 10.1210/jc.2009-1773. [PubMed]
- 1. Bouillon R., Carmeliet G., Verlinden L., van Etten E., Verstuyf A., Luderer H.F., Lieben L., Mathieu C., Demay M. Vitamin D and human health: Lessons from vitamin D receptor null mice. Endocr. Rev. 2008;29:726–776. doi: 10.1210/er.2008-0004. [PubMed]
- Holick M.F. Vitamin D deficiency. N. Engl. J. Med. 2007;357:266–281. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra070553. [PubMed]
- Psychosom Med 2014 Apr;76(3):190-6. Doi: 10.1097
- Major G., Alarie F., Dore J., Tremblay A. British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 101, Issue 5, 14, March 2009, pp. 659-663.
- Zitterman A., Frisch S., Berthold H., Gotting C., Kuhn J., Kleesiek K., Stehle P., Koertke H., Koerfer R. The American Journal of CLinical Nutrition. Volume 89, Issue 5, May 2009, pp. 1321-1327.