A Stronger Immune System with Vitamin D, the “Sunshine” Vitamin
With December only a few days away, we are exposed to less and less sunlight. Most days are filled with cloud-cover, minimizing our exposure to direct sunlight. Along with other countries located far above or below the equator, Vitamin D deficiency is a common issue. Although Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins our body can can make, it can be hard to produce a lot unless you spend a lot of time outdoors or live close to the equator.
What Vitamin D Deficiency Looks Like
1. Frequent colds
Vitamin D is essential for maintaining immune health. It regulates hormone production and function, as well as strengthening immune response. Its role, therefore, in both acute and chronic immune disease states, is significant.
Given its important role in immune health, it is no wonder that Vitamin D insufficiency is linked with increased rates of pneumonia and the common cold in both children and adults.
Even if you don’t experience full on colds, your body may be weak, fatigued, and more achy than normal, as a result of Vitamin D deficiency. This is often a symptom of poor immune system or gut health.
3. Weaker or Fragile Bones
Bone-related issues are one of the more common problems associated with low levels of Vitamin D. Chronic pain, stiffness, or aches in the bones is a sign that you may need to get your Vitamin D levels checked. At a more serious level, deficiency can cause rickets in children (soft, brittle, underdeveloped bones) as well as osteoporosis in adults.
Vitamin D increases calcium absorption, so an insufficient level prevents your bones from absorbing the healthy amount.
Vitamin D in Food
When our skin is exposed to sunlight, the body naturally produces Vitamin D. However, as people spend more and more time indoors, our exposure to the sun reduces. Here are some Vitamin D rich foods that you should incorporate into your diet:
- Fish liver oil
- Cheese and milk
- Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel
- Dark Leafy Greens
- Vitamin D supplements
Note: Make sure you have good gut health. While taking Vitamin D supplements or foods is important, it is equally essential to make sure your body is absorbing it. A weak gut or increased inflammation in the body can deter this.
Must Knows about Vitamin D
– Did you know, the UVB sun ray which helps produce Vitamin D cannot penetrate glass? Make sure you give yourself enough direct sunlight exposure rather than only through a filter.
– Sunscreen also blocks 98% of Vitamin D. Try spending a few minutes in the sun uncovered everyday.
– Athletes who are Vitamin D deficient can be more susceptible to overuse injuries caused by inflammation. This is because the sunshine vitamin turns on a gene which helps prevent the body’s inflammatory response.
– Studies show that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, and neurodegenerative disease.
-Deficiency can also throw off hormone levels, leading to symptoms like fatigue, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, weight gain/loss, hair loss, and aches.
After reading this article, please don’t self-diagnose yourself on the internet! All bodies are different and you should get an accurate assessment in order to properly address your symptoms. While it does not hurt to incorporate more Vitamin D-rich foods in your diet, make sure to consult a health care practitioner before starting on any supplements.
At Elite Physio we always have our patients and our communities health and well-being in mind, and are here to help you with all of your healthcare needs.
Don’t let acute injuries or minor aches and pains become chronic and affect your quality of life, call Elite Physio at (905) 997-8337, and start your way onto a happier and healthier way of living.