Every cell in our bodies need vitamin D, which is really a steroid hormone made from our exposure to sunlight. It’s estimated that more than 50% of us are deficient in this health-protecting vitamin, and we tend to become even more deficient in the winter months.
Some signs of possible deficiency include aching bones, a sweaty head, and depression. Increasing vitamin D levels has often proved helpful!
Studies are indicating more and more that vitamin D deficiency may be a contributing factor in autoimmune conditions. These include multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been found to affect the health of the eyes, contributing to dry eyes, a lack of tear production, and an increased risk for age-related macular degeneration (especially if one is genetically predisposed to AMD).
Low levels of vitamin D are routinely found in people with heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, as well as the aforementioned autoimmune and mental disorders.
The best way to find out your vitamin D level is through a blood test. When you get your results, ask your doctor what your vitamin D level is. Many times, they just say that it’s within the normal range, but that range may not be enough to keep you healthy. The optimum range is at least 40 ng/ml, with 50-70 ng/ml being even better. If you are fighting a disease, check with your doctor about increasing your levels even higher.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed in the intestinal tract. If you have a chronic inflammatory bowel condition, you may not be absorbing adequate amounts. If you eat an extremely low-fat or bad-fat diet, you may not have enough good fats to absorb this fat-soluble vitamin. Also, as we age, absorption may become impaired.
It’s easy to take a supplement, and many foods are fortified with vitamin D. Unfortunately, companies do not always use D3, which is the best form. Most fortification is done with the cheaper, synthetic form, D2. When buying a supplement containing vitamin D, look for D3 on the label. I take Elderberry D3fense made by Nature’s Sunshine. It has 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per capsule, plus elderberry, which helps protect against viruses.
Some foods that contain vitamin D are fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, and sardines, egg yolks (the growing bird receives its nutrients from the yolk while in the shell), cod liver oil (don’t worry–it comes in capsules and flavored varieties), and mushrooms grown in ultraviolet light. Check out the Mushroom Soup/Sauce recipe I added to my website!
Get your levels checked! Even a slight deficiency can cause small problems now, and possibly bigger problems down the road!
Before I go, I want to tell you about the Healthy Start 30-Day Online Challenge that starts Monday, January 11! Once you sign up, I’ll send you four weekly emails to help you implement healthy habits that will set you up for long-term success. You’ll also get a 22-page Fit & Healthy Recipe Guide, 20 Healthy Snack Ideas, and other helpful tools. This is not a quick-fix weight-loss program. You’ll also be invited to be part of my private Learning to be Healthy with Lisa Facebook Group, where you can ask questions and receive daily support and encouragement for the duration of the challenge.
We’d love to have you join us!
Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Coach
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.