With winter here I thought a post on Vitamin D would be great for this time of year. I am someone who struggles with a bit of depression, anxiety and about a two years ago found out that my vitamin d levels were pretty damn low. This was from the basic cdc panel over two years ago that I had while pregnant with my youngest. I took vitamin d all throughout my pregnancy but had no idea it was not enough. I was tested again about 6 months ago and my naturopath encouraged me to double what I was taking in order to really get my levels back up. I did just that. I took 10,000 iu of vitamin D and went out in the sun completely unprotected at least once a day for a little bit before applying sunscreen. I did this for about 4 months straight and got my levels back up to par if not even higher. My naturopath had advised that I go back down to the 5,000 IU for the remainder of the fall and bump my vitamin d back up for the winter. And, here I am ready because winter is coming! (Or well, it’s here but ya know, I couldn’t help myself with that one!)

Vitamin D is not a vitamin you should just take more of than the daily suggested dose. It is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning if you have too much it can be toxic. However, many people are unaware that their vitamin D levels are low. Vitamin D is such a major part of what helps your body function and it can only be absorbed so many ways. Exposure to natural sunlight increases your body’s natural production of vitamin D. Although you can take supplements and eat vitamin D rich foods, the sun is the best and most efficient way it can be produced. Vitamin D is important to have enough of so that other vitamins such as calcium, zinc, and phosphorus among others can be absorbed into your body. It is important for strong bones because of this. It is also important for the function of your immune system, your cardiovascular system, muscle function and brain development. I personally find that vitamin d helps my mental health as well. With the lack of sunlight during the winter I know many people suffer from seasonal effective disorder including me and my husband. This year I am making a point to make sure we both get our vitamin d in each day through our supplements since I know we do not get as much sunlight here.

Something I am learning more and more about is vitamin D and its effects on autoimmune diseases. Since I am an autoimmune mystery I can’t quite say which one it helps me with. My naturopath often recommends that I take vitamin D not only because I was deficient at one point but because it can help my thyroid and other autoimmune symptoms of mine. The skinny on how this works is brought to you by amymeyersmd.com. As many of you know, when you have an autoimmune disease your body is attacking itself instead of the outside pathogens, therefore lowering your immune system function. The vitamin D helps because it brings in something called Tcells. This helps your immune system differentiate between the good and bad. When active vitamin d promotes the tcells it teaches your body not to attack itself, therefore preventing itself from developing an autoimmune disease.

As I said before, my husband and I both tend to feel a little gloomy during the winter months. Up in Massachusetts we tend to get a pretty decent amount of snow and very little sunlight during the winter months. There are many mixed studies out there on vitamin D and its links to depression. Many say that vitamin D works a lot like an antidepressant and helps increase the serotonin receptors in the brain, that there is a decreased level of vitamin D in the blood with people that have depression, and that it just plain old helps with depression. Either way, know your levels. It’s a very important vitamin for the overall function of your body.

I use Solgar brand Vitamin D, which you can get right on Amazon. It is gluten, wheat, and dairy free.

Although it isn’t as bountiful like supplements or the sun, you can get vitamin D from foods. The following foods contain vitamin D:

  • Fatty Fish
  • Egg Yolks
  • Fortified Milk, Orange Juice, and Cereals
  • Mushrooms
  • Beef Liver

Like I said before, I take 10,000 IU during the winter months but you will want to get your levels checked by a doctor and consult them to make sure you are getting the proper dosage that is right for you. For more great information check out the www.vitamindcouncil.org.

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