Vitamin D, which is technically a hormone not a vitamin, is a crucial nutrient. Unfortunately, many Americans – even those who eat a good diet – are vitamin D deficient. Typically, we get a Vitamin D boost from the sun, but because we are wearing more sunscreen and spending more time INSIDE our levels are falling. In fact, there is research linking vitamin D deficiency to over 200 diseases. Although most people think of vitamin D as just the “sunshine vitamin”, they often do not fully understand the significant ways that vitamin D affects your brain, body and overall health. Here are just a few:
Immunity – Vitamin D receptors are found all over the body, including the immune cells. Research has clearly shown that vitamin D deficiency is part of the seasonal nature of cold and flu outbreaks – less sunlight means less vitamin D, which leads to lower immunity and more illness.
Bones – It’s well-documented that vitamin D is essential for the proper absorption of calcium. It has been shown to greatly reduce fracture risk by helping the formation of stronger bones. Vitamin D also helps improve balance and prevent falls by enhancing muscle contraction.
Muscles – One of the byproducts of vitamin D’s breakdown enhances the cell’s contraction ability. Since muscles work by contraction and relaxation, a muscle’s ability to contract is essential to its strength and response to outside forces. Vitamin D, then, makes muscles stronger in a very direct way.
Lungs – Many studies indicate, vitamin D plays a role in keeping our lungs healthy due its range of anti-inflammatory properties – with greater concentrations of vitamin D resulting in greater lung health benefits.
Heart – Research has demonstrated an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels in the blood and high blood pressure…the lower your vitamin D, the higher your blood pressure. The excess strain and resulting damage from high blood pressure causes the arteries supplying the heart to slowly narrow and harden, greatly increasing the risk of a heart attack.
Kidneys – Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it helps to regulate kidney function and plays a very beneficial role in kidney function.
Mood – When it comes to being happy, the scientific evidence is clear. The lower your vitamin D levels, the more likely you are to feel blue. Low levels of vitamin D have long been associated with a higher incidence of depression. Interestingly, when vitamin D3 supplements were compared to antidepressants in a 2014 study, the positive effect of vitamin D3 on mood was comparable to the effects of the anti-depressants.
Weight loss – When you don’t have enough vitamin D, you feel hungry all the time, no matter how much you eat. That is because low levels of vitamin D interfere with the effectiveness of leptin, the appetite hormone that tells you when you are full. When Vitamin D is replenished and back to normal levels, leptin’s actions are restored, thus creating feelings of satiety and aiding in weight loss.
Brain Health – In the past few years, many studies have linked insufficient Vitamin D with cognitive impairment in older men and women. Vitamin D has a variety of neuroprotective roles, including helping to rid the brain of beta-amyloid, an abnormal protein that is a major cause of Alzheimer’s disease. A large international study shows that seniors with very low levels of vitamin D are at twice the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
For every 5,000–10,000 units of D3 being recommended and tested for, we are recommending 100 mcg of K2 mk7 to enhance absorption and utilization of D3 and help prevent calcification of arteries.