Are you low in vitamin D?
You probably have heard a lot about vitamin D lately, but did you know that as many as 2/3 of adults are deficient in this critical vitamin?
Vitamin D and your metabolism
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone precursor — it’s directly related to how your body metabolized hormones. If you don’t have enough in your body, you may not absorb and use hormone efficiently, which can result in a hormone imbalance. Imbalanced hormones can effect everything from your mood to your ability (or inability) to lose weight. When vitamin D is low, the pathways of your body’s hormone metabolism may be out of balance.
So when I have clients who just aren’t losing weight — even if their thyroid hormones look normal — I always want to check vitamin D.
Vitamin D also plays a big role in how your well your body metabolizes calcium.
And low vitamin D levels have recently been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Symptoms of low vitamin D
Symptoms of mild vitamin D deficiency can be slight or even unnoticeable: General tiredness, aches and pains, and susceptibility to colds and flu. That’s why it’s a great idea to include testing in your annual physical.
It’s easy to get your vitamin D level checked — it’s a simple blood test any doctor can order. Doctors suggest that all adults have their vitamin D checked as part of a yearly physical.
Things that may deplete vitamin D
- Stress hormones
- Artificial sweeteners (like diet soda)
- Not having a gallbladder
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Some pharmaceuticals
- Hormone fluctuation, such as pregnancy
Getting more vitamin D
Get some sun
When the sun’s UV-B rays hit your skin, a reaction takes place that enables your skin cells to make vitamin D. For a fair-skinned person about 10 minutes of exposure in mid-day summer sun is plenty to maintain your body’s supply of vitamin D.
Foods with vitamin D
You can also up your consumption of foods that contain vitamin D. Fish, especially fattier fish, are the best source: try salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel and oil-packed tuna. Eggs and mushrooms also contain vitamin D.
Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and easy to find in any pharmacy or health-food store. Look for vitamin D3 — the type that’s produced by the reaction of your body’s cells to sunlight. The recommended daily allowance for those under 70 is 600 IU (700 IU for those over 70). Check with your physician before taking any new supplement.