Vitamin D is the new kid on the block in health care. There have been many research studies looking into the role low vitamin D levels have on our health in the treatment and prevention of disease. “Vitamin D regulates the calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood by promoting their absorption from food in the intestines, and by promoting re-absorption of calcium in the kidneys, which enables normal mineralization of bone and prevents hypocalcemic tetany. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts.” Vitamin D is also involved in a number of reactions happening within the central nervous system. Many of our neurotransmitters rely on vitamin D to carry out normal function, thus having a dramatic effect on our mood. A common condition of a person who is suffering from low vitamin D is a disease known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This disorder is common in populations that live in the northern hemisphere due to the low amount of ultraviolet light during the winter months. Ultraviolet light is necessary for conversion of vitamin D into its active form. This fact underlies the importance of getting outside for 30 minutes a day in order to receive the adequate amount of UV light. Another very important concept to keep in mind is that the body will store vitamin D after it is synthesized. This can play a role in preventing SAD from occurring. There are people who live in the northern hemisphere who do not deal with low vitamin D levels and it is due to their ability to store and use vitamin D that they synthesized during the summer months.
It is important to understand that you should not use sun screen if you are low in vitamin D. Sun screen prevents UV light from having its effect on vitamin D synthesis creating an inability for proper storage to happen. You need to get UV light on your skin and if you are getting to much sun, then cover up.
Supplementation with vitamin D is needed only for a short period of time to rebuild the reservoir with no more than 5000 iu per day. After that point, working on lifestyle and nutrition along with homeopathic medicine can dramatically change body function creating optimal vitamin D levels.
Jesse Buttler, ND