Having optimal levels of vitamin D plays a vital role in your overall health, as well as your quality of life. Being deficient in vitamin D has been shown to affect immunity, hormonal health, mental health, cardiovascular health, cancer, blood sugar levels and diabetes, sleep, bone health and osteoporosis, muscular health and overall energy. Vitamin D is actually considered a hormone due to its various functions, and is the only vitamin that can be produced by our bodies through exposure to UV rays from the sun!
Common Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency:
It is estimated that around 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D. The most common risk factors for a deficiency in vitamin D include inadequate sun exposure, inadequate intake of vitamin D rich foods and malabsorption issues such as Celiac or Crohn’s disease. Heavy Metal toxicity is another concern as certain heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, inhibit the conversion of vitamin D into its active form. If you suspect heavy metal toxicity, you may want to consider a heavy metal urine test, as this could be a reason for vitamin D deficiency. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include:
- Muscle Weakness
- Poor Immunity
- Autoimmune Disease
- Poor Blood Sugar Regulation
- Chronic Pain
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Low Bone Density
- Slow Wound Healing
- Fractures and/or Broken Bones
- Lower Endurance
- Learning Disorders
Vitamin D and Hormones:
In our communities, we are always striving to get to the root cause of health conditions, especially hormonal imbalance. Vitamin D deficiency can cause low estrogen in women and low testosterone in men, all of which affect your mood, libido, motivation and ability to lose weight. Vitamin D also plays a huge role in other hormones that impact your mood; for example, vitamin D is what activates the genes that release dopamine and serotonin, two of our “feel good” hormones. Without optimal vitamin D, our hormones do not function properly. Getting your hormones assessed with a DUTCH test and a Vitamin D test just might be what you need to get to the bottom of your hormonal concerns.
How to and How Often to Test Vitamin D?
You can ask your medical doctor to run a vitamin D blood test, or purchase an at-home vitamin D finger prick test, such as Carlson’s Vitamin D test kit found on our website. If you find that you are deficient in vitamin D, it is recommended to supplement with vitamin D3/K2 and test again in around three months. If your levels are within the optimal range, it is recommended to test 1-2 times per year.
The ideal range for vitamin D3 levels are between 50-80 ng/mL. If you are below 50 ng/mL, please consult with your healthcare provider or our functional nutritionist on how to raise your vitamin D levels through supplementation, however, it is generally recommended to take 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 for every 25 pounds of body weight when deficient. If you fall between 50-80 ng/mL, it is generally recommended to take 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 for every 25 pounds of body weight. If you do find that your levels are too high, this is usually a sign of a vitamin K2 deficiency and should be assessed with your healthcare provider or our functional nutritionist.
How to Raise Vitamin D Levels:
The optimal and primary source of vitamin D is maintained through sun exposure (around 15-45 minutes per day depending on your skin color, ideally between 12:00-2:00 pm). Since a lot of us are not getting outside as often as we should, or perhaps live in a location far away from the equator, supplementation may be a necessary measure to raise your levels. The two supplements we recommend to raise vitamin D levels are DV3 and VitD3 Liquid. Both of these products combine synergistic nutrients (such as vitamin K2) in the proper amounts to ensure optimal absorption and utilization of vitamin D3. Make sure to take these supplements with a meal that contains healthy fat to aid in the absorption process. For those also looking to maintain or raise vitamin D levels through food, the best food sources are fatty fish, egg yolks, grass-fed liver, mushrooms, grass-fed cheese and grass-fed butter.