WHAT IS VITAMIN D?
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamin as it contributes to strong bones, muscles and overall health. It is present in most tissues and cells in the body. The best source of Vitamin D is through sun exposure however can also be attained from food. While food can be a source of Vitamin D, it is not merely enough to reap the full benefits on our overall health. It is also important to note that the body can only absorb a limited amount of Vitamin D at a time. Therefore, spending extra time in the sun will not increase vitamin D levels, it will just increase your risk of cancer.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?
The major source of Vitamin D deficiency is the lack of exposure to natural sunlight. Wearing a SPF 30 sunscreen reduces vitamin D synthesis in the skin by more than 95%. People with a naturally dark skin tone have natural sun protection therefore requiring 3 to 5 x longer exposure to make the same amount of Vitamin D as a person with a lighter skin tone. There are several other factors that can contribute to Vitamin D deficiency such as fat malabsorption syndromes, patients with a wide variety of medications including HIV/AIDS medication and some lymphomas.
WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?
Bone & Muscle Strength
There are several studies suggesting that low Vitamin D levels carry an increased risk of fractures in older adults. If a patient takes a high enough dose of vitamin D, this may prevent such fractures. A recent study of 12 fracture prevention trials was conducted including more than 40,000 elderly people, mostly women. The trials concluded that high doses of vitamin D reduced hip and non-spine fractures by 20%, while lower intakes of vitamin d failed to offer any benefit in terms of fracture prevention.
The heart has receptors for vitamin D which highlights that lower levels of vitamin D may be linked to heart disease. The Health Profession Follow Up study conducted a study of 50,000 men and women, monitoring their health and vitamin D levels for 10 years. The study concluded that insufficient vitamin D left these patients more likely to experience heart failure, sudden cardiac death, stroke, overall cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular death. While more research needs to be conducted, there is evidence to suggest that vitamin D plays a role in controlling blood pressure and preventing artery damage.
SHOULD I TAKE ANY SUPPLEMENTS WITH MY VITAMIN D CAPSULES?
If one chooses to take a vitamin D supplement it is important to note that in combination with other vitamins, vitamin D will work better. The best vitamins to take with vitamin D are Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Magnesium Glycinate. All of these vitamins also work in improving bone health.
Vitamin D’s role is to ensure your body’s level of calcium is high enough to meet your body’s demands. However, vitamin D does not completely control where this calcium ends up. This is where Vitamin K is best utilized as it regulates calcium in your body. Vitamin K allows for calcium to accumulate in your bones rather than just in soft tissue.
When Vitamin D and A are combined it has a greater positive impact on the body. Both nutrients work together to balance the scale of a patient’s health. Taking both nutrients has more of a positive effect than just vitamin D & A alone. However, taking too much Vitamin A can also interfere with the function of Vitamin D in the body & vice versa. It is important to establish a balance through working with your doctor.
Magnesium, like Vitamin A supports Vitamin D to ensure maximum absorption in your bones. Low Magnesium has been shown to decrease the body’s production of Vitamin D’s active form. Therefore, magnesium is essential in the absorption of Vitamin D.
Each person will have varying levels of the nutrients detailed above. It is important to work with your integrative practitioner to generate a customised formulation to assist with your needs. Compounded can assist in compounding these personalised formulas.