What you need to know about Vitamin D and do you need to be taking a supplement.
It is recommended that adult females have 600 IU per day and 800 IU if you are over the age of 70 years old. Vitamin D comes from diet, sun exposure and supplement intake. Vitamin D should provide enough of these nutrients when considering added intake from diet and sun exposure. What is interesting is that Checking Vitamin D typically is not covered by insurance as the thought is most adults do not require screening. Even when 35% of American’s have low vitamin D levels.
Although I like Vitamin D level screening for everyone and do test this on most everyone there are a few that should definitely be tested.
· Older women (the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D declines with age)
· Women with limited sun exposure (30 minutes daily unblocked sun and outside) or dark skin 3
· Women with limited fat absorption (liver disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and
· Women with a history of gastric bypass or BMI >30 5.
· Women with dietary restrictions (lactose-intolerant, vegan, vegetarian)
· Women with kidney disease Levels >20-60 ng/mL or >50-150 nmol/L
What should be tested? Checking 25(OH)D as it has a fairly long circulating half-life of 15 days. Circulating 1,25(OH)2D is not a good indicator of vitamin D status because it has a short half-life measured in hours, and serum levels are tightly regulated by parathyroid hormone, calcium, and phosphate. 1,25(OH)2D do not typically decrease until vitamin D deficiency is severe.
What does Vitamin D do?
Number one is Bone health: Softening of the bones (osteomalacia) results from vitamin D deficiency. Existing bone is incompletely or defectively mineralized during the remodeling process, resulting in weak bones. Osteoporosis is most often associated with inadequate calcium intake, but insufficient vitamin D intake contributes to osteoporosis by reducing calcium absorption.
Vitamin D acts directly on immune cells, which play a key role in autoimmune diseases. Clinical studies have demonstrated that vitamin D deficiency is related to morbidity in infectious diseases and the onset or progression of autoimmune diseases, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and MS.
Vitamin D is also needed for the normal development and growth of muscle fibers. In addition, inadequate vitamin D levels can adversely affect muscle strength and lead to muscle weakness and pain when levels are low.
Laboratory and animal studies suggest that vitamin D might inhibit carcinogenesis and slow tumor progression by, for example, promoting cell differentiation and inhibiting metastasis. Vitamin D might also have anti-inflammatory effects. Observational studies and clinical trials provide mixed evidence on whether vitamin D intakes or serum levels affect cancer incidence, progression, or mortality risk.
Vitamin D helps regulate blood pressure by supporting the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, vascular cell growth, and inflammatory and fibrotic pathways. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with vascular dysfunction, arterial stiffening, left ventricular hypertrophy, and hyperlipidemia. For these reasons, vitamin D has been linked to heart health and risk of Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD). Observational studies support an association between higher serum 25(OH)D levels and a lower risk of CVD incidence and mortality.
Vitamin D is involved in various brain processes, and vitamin D receptors are present on neurons and glia in areas of the brain thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of depression. Again, observational trials found an association between deficient or low levels of 25(OH)D.
Many epidemiological and genetic studies have shown an association between Multiple Sclerosis and low 25(OH)D levels before and after the disease begins.
Consider having your Vitamin D levels tested next time you have blood work.