Five Important Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Vit D
- Helps build strong bones; your body need vitamin D to extract calcium properly from the food you eat, but a vitamin D deficiency means you cannot absorb enough calcium.
- Triggers the body’s immune cells to produce antibodies, and therefore boosting your immune system.
- There are two different forms of vitamin D: Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) which is often used as a food additive and Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3, a naturally occurring form of vitamin D, synthesized in the skin from endogenous or dietary cholesterol upon exposure to sunlight.
- You get it through diet and sunlight. (Read on to find out the top vitamin D food sources)
- It can boost brain function; studies recently suggested that low vitamin D levels could increase the risk of developing dementia.
A Little Extra Vitamin D from your food
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.
- Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.
- Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.
- Almost all of dairy milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart, and so are many of the plant-based alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk. But foods made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified.
- Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages; check the labels.
How Do You Know If You Are D Deficient?
Signs and symptoms might include:
- Bone pain
- Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps
- Mood changes, like depression
D deficiency can occur when usual intake is lower than recommended levels over time, exposure to sunlight is limited, the kidneys cannot convert activate the inert form (from food and supplement), or absorption of vitamin D from the digestive tract is inadequate.
Why taking a vit D supplement may be more important than ever in the time of COVID-19?
Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. Studies are now being published that provide direct evidence of the effect of vitamin D supplementation on COVID-19 patients, and the association of vitamin D intake and/or status on disease severity and death.
One of the studies found that the administration of 25(OH)D at the early stages of COVID-19 significantly reduced the need for admission to the ICU, regardless of existing comorbidities.
Science says … what does this mean for you?
Do you know what your vitamin D level is? Could a D deficiency be putting a damper on your immune response? Be sure to test to find out, and take steps to keep it within a target of 40-60 ng/ml or 100-150 nmol/L.
Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases. Talk to our friendly Lifestyle Clinic team in person for a blood test consultation or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options from Vitamin D blood test to injections and oral supplements.
- Aranow, Cynthia. “Vitamin D and the immune system.” Journal of investigative medicine: the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research vol. 59,6 (2011); 881-6. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
- Grant, William. “Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths.” Nutrients vol. 12, 988 (2020); 1-19. doi:10.3390/nu12040988
- Sunyecz JA. “The use of calcium and vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis.” Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(4):827-836. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s3552
- Lee JY, So TY, Thackray J. “A review on vitamin D deficiency treatment in paediatric patients.” J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2013;18(4):277-291. doi:10.5863/1551-6776-18.4.277
This article is a nutritional tip brought to you by Morgane Quinchon, Thanyapura’s Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutrition Advisor.
Edited by Ashlyne Nair