sun setting

All about Vitamin D – the Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts in the body as a hormone. Vitamin D regulates various processes such as bone and immune health, brain function and digestive tract health. We can absorb vitamin D from the sun as well as it being present in certain foods. Vitamin D is vital for so many things with new research constantly being found on how it works.

A few processes in the body vitamin D is important for include:

  • Supporting bone and teeth development and growth
  • Helping to strengthen bones and muscles
  • Supporting immune function
  • Modulating mood and neurotransmitter production
  • Supporting the nervous system and influencing brain function
  • Aiding in the absorption and modulating the levels of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in the body which all work together to improve bone and teeth health
  • Supporting digestive tract health and gut lining integrity
  • Heart health
  • Reducing inflammation in the body
  • Supporting in improving overall health and reducing chronic disease risks

If you are experiencing the following it may point towards a vitamin D deficiency. Consult your healthcare provider and obtain pathology testing to determine where your vitamin D levels are and see if vitamin D supplementation is relevant for you.

Signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency:

  • Low mood, depression, changeable mood
  • Bone mineral density losses, fractures
  • Low energy
  • Frequent infections, colds, and flus
  • Joint, muscle and bone pains and cramps
  • Aches, pains, and weakness

Most Australians, and especially Victorians are vitamin D deficient. This is due to a multitude of reasons including:

  • Our location and latitude to the sun
  • Increasing UV protection to prevent skin cancer rates
  • More time being spent indoors
  • Air pollution and cloud cover
  • Low intakes of vitamin D rich foods
  • Increasing obesity rates
  • Low magnesium levels
  • People with darker skin tones are at a greater risk of deficiency as they absorb less vitamin D as the pigment melanin is in higher levels and doesn’t absorb UV light well

Some vegan vitamin D rich foods to try including:

  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified plant milks
  • UV exposed mushrooms
  • Tofu

If you have been recommended a vitamin D supplement or have had a blood test revealing low levels book in a consult with Monique or Candace to discuss which is the best option for you and the ideal dose to increase your levels efficiently. Please note that most chemist vitamin D supplements are lanolin derived so are not suitable for vegans. In the meantime, aim to spend 10-20 minutes in the sunshine each day to support your vitamin D levels – being in nature can also assist in enhancing our mood and overall health.

 

Adapted from Orthoplex Bio Concepts.

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