I have discussed the significance of Vitamin D in the past. However, I feel the need to discuss it again since we are entering the cold weather months.
Our prime source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Even with other alternatives, nothing compares to soaking up rays from the warm, summer sun. Vitamin D is essential to our mental, physical, and emotional health. Vitamin D absorbs calcium and promotes bone growth. Vitamin D also helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system. It also plays a significant role in cellular regeneration.
Researchers now know that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to heart disease, colon cancer, depression, weight gain, renal disease, liver disease, celiac, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. According to the Vitamin D Council, vitamin D can be beneficial to the treatments of autoimmune diseases, neuromuscular diseases, autism, flu, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, blood pressure, and depression.
According to James M. Greenblatt M.D., vitamin D helps aid in the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are responsible for brain function and development. Also according to Dr. Greenblatt, researchers have found vitamin D receptors on a handful of cells located in regions in the brain-the same regions that are linked with depression. Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is an emotional disorder that features depression. This condition occurs during the autumn and winter months when the days are the shortest and we receive less sun.
Unfortunately, vitamin D is very common and one of the main reasons that diseases are so prevalent. According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US are deficient. This number goes up to 69.2% in Hispanics and 82.1% in African-Americans. This is because the melanin in our skin blocks ultraviolet rays from the sun which makes it difficult for our body to produce the vitamin D from the sun rays. This issue becomes increased during the winter months.
There are several symptoms to look for that are signs of being vitamin D deficient. Increased illness and infection, chronic pain, fatigue, bone loss, hair loss, depression, and impaired wound healing are common symptoms of vitamin D defiency. I am heavily melanated, so I make sure to supplement my vitamin D. Most people get their needed vitamin D from fish, but if you’re vegan such as myself, there are plant based ways to get your vitamin D.
Mushrooms, soy milk, almond milk, fortified cereals, tofu, and certain vitamin D supplements are great ways to get your vitamin D. I take a vitamin D capsule made by Nested Naturals that is made of sunflower oil. So please do your research and make sure you’re getting your vitamin D this winter. It could help circumvent a lot of potential ailments at the end.