What’s the Scoop on: Vitamin D

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By now, most of us know that Vitamin D is something we need, but what exactly is it? And do we have enough?

Well, the honest answer is: no.

Studies in Ireland have revealed that low vitamin D status and deficiency are widespread in the population of Ireland. Therefore it is important to ensure we’re getting enough.

Due to Ireland’s northerly latitude, very little UVB light reaches the earth’s surface. This results in reduced production of vitamin D, especially in winter.
This fact, in conjunction with low dietary intake is compromising this vitamins status of all population groups living in Ireland.

Allow me to introduce you to the sunshine vitamin.

Although known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is in fact actually a hormone. In fact, it is the by-product of a reaction that occurs when UV light hits the skin. Since we cannot often get enough of this vitamin from our food, our bodies are able to make it from the sun instead.

Our bodies absorb sunlight using cholesterol, which helps convert sunlight into a form of vitamin D that our body can use. See, not all cholesterol is bad 😉

Furthermore, this ‘vitamin’ regulates hundreds of different pathways in our bodies and influences many things; let me introduce you to a few:

vitamin d for improved mood

No. 1 – Improves Mood

One of the reasons for the “winter blues” or SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a decreased amount of sunshine during the colder months. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to these changes in mood or depressive periods during the winter months. In which case, ensuring our levels of this vitamin are topped up is essential. See my blog here on 4 Ways to Help Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

No. 2 – Supports Immune System

Vitamin D is essential for the normal and healthy functioning of the immune system. When adequate levels of this vitamin are not maintained, the immune cells are unable to function optimally. As a result, people with low levels of vitamin D can be at a higher risk of getting sick and/or developing a host of inflammatory conditions.

Low levels of vitamin D are also associated with autoimmune conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disorders, and autoimmune thyroid problems.
It should come as no surprise to hear that optimal levels are linked with improved symptoms.

No. 3 – Improves Bone Health

Vitamin D is an integral part of bone health. It’s vital for bone health due to its role in:

  • calcium regulation
  • preventing the breakdown of bones
  • increasing the strength of the skeletal system

A major vitamin D deficiency can manifest itself as rickets in children and osteomalacia (soft bones) in adults. More common signs of deficiency include osteopenia and osteoporosis (fragile bones).

vitamin d supports cardiovascular health

No. 4 – Supports Cardiovascular Health

Low D levels and decreased exposure to sunlight are connected to:

  • hypertension
  • cardiovascular disease
  • increased occurrences of heart attacks and strokes

Incidentally, when levels are increased, cardiovascular health goes up.

No. 5 – Supports Brain Health

Vitamin D is indispensable when it comes to a healthy brain.
Low levels of this vitamin have been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s and decreased memory.

vitamin d improves muscle strength

No. 6 – Improved Muscle Strength

Supplementing this important vitamin shows in studies to boost muscle strength and physical performance.

And as a side note, vitamin D is also linked to improved fertility, sleep and reduced inflammation – happy days!

For Part Two of this blog post covers how to improve your vitamin D levels naturally, Read more here.

Emily Nöth

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*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.

Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.