Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Vitamin D is a must for optimum health. It works to improve immune function (fights cold and flu), improve weight management, balance hormones, reduce inflammation, support digestion, and even regulate testosterone.
Regardless of the numerous studies showing the benefits of vitamin D, an estimated 77% of Americans are deficient.
In the last few years, when I consult with patients about their most recent blood work results, I'm surprised at how many of them are deficient in vitamin D.
Our lifestyles don't include enough outdoor activities, and we aren't eating enough of the right foods to provide sufficient levels.
Common Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Weak bones and fractures
Skin issues (eczema and psoriasis)
Seasonal depression (SAD)
Weakened immune system
Poor dental health
Low energy levels
Loss of libido
Vitamin D Aids in Weight Management
Research suggests that there may be a connection between obesity and vitamin D deficiency, with some studies even showing that getting enough of this key vitamin could also aid in weight loss. One study showed that women who met their requirements for vitamin D lost 7 pounds more than a placebo group over a one-year period. Meanwhile, another study showed that having a higher amount of body fat was associated with lower levels of vitamin D in the blood.
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption
One of the most well-known benefits of vitamin D is its powerful effect on bone density. Adequate amounts of Vitamin D are necessary for maintaining bone health. Together with calcium, vitamin D protects against osteoporosis, rickets, and promotes calcium absorption. Studies have also shown that inadequate levels of vitamin D lead to more hip fractures in older adults.
Vitamin D improves mood
Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter when days are shorter, colder, and darker. One of the primary causes of SAD is less exposure to vitamin D. Supplementing with Vitamin D in the winter can greatly reduce low mood, depression, and lethargy.
Vitamin D impacts your sex hormones
Vitamin D deficiency can cause low estrogen in women and low testosterone in men which translates to low libido. If you notice you are more sexually active during the summer months when sun exposure is more prevalent, you may be experiencing the benefits of vitamin D.
The best source of vitamin D is sunshine
Studies show that sun exposure is far superior to swallowing a pill.
It is recommended to get 15 to 20 minutes of sunshine at least twice a week. The optimal time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm.
Foods rich in vitamin D
Fatty Fish - Salmon, Mackeral, Tuna
Fish Oils - Cod liver oil
Even in idyllic conditions, it's hard to get the nutrition we need from just our food. With soil health declining and toxicity on the rise, we need more nutrition than we can consume on a whole foods, organic diet to tip the scales in our favor. Sometimes supplementation is necessary.
I recommend supplementing with vitamin D3 (D3 is the best form to take). Most nutritionists recommend staying within the therapeutic range of 3,000 to 5,000 units daily. (Approximately 25 units per pound of body weight).