Many people don’t understand the importance of vitamin D. The Sunshine Vitamin, as it’s called, plays an integral role in our emotional and physical health. In fact, it is necessary for the overall health of the body. So, you see, a vitamin D deficiency can lead to a variety of problems. (1)
As just one example, Vitamin D is important to bone strength. Specifically, Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Calcium makes communication between cells possible and improves the function of the digestive tract. Well, you may wonder, how can you avoid a vitamin D deficiency?
Although we have to eat most vitamins, our bodies can create vitamin D from sunlight (ultraviolet B waves). The body takes this sunlight and turns it into the vitamin D it needs to function the way it should. But we also get vitamin D from the food we eat, like fish oils, portobello mushrooms, and eggs, and from Vitamin D3 supplements. Our bodies take vitamin D3 and change it into something our bodies can absorb and use. (2) So what’s the problem?
Because our bodies can make vitamin D, most people assume that vitamin D deficiency is not a problem. Research tells a very different story.
“Some reports suggest nearly half the world’s population suffers from vitamin D deficiency, which is unsettling news given that a lack of vitamin D has been associated with a host of serious conditions: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis and even depression, not to mention brittle bones and the common cold.” (3)
Are You Vitamin D deficient?
Check out these 5 signs of vitamin D deficiency to find out!
#1 Weak Immune System
Vitamin D plays an important role in the health of the immune system. It stimulates the immune system and makes it stronger. “Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection.” (4) Thus, if you seem to get sick often, you might want to spend some time out in the sun.
#2 Bone Pain
Bone pain is a common sign of reduced bone density because vitamin D helps the bones to absorb what they need. And it isn’t just calcium. “Over the past 10 years, several researchers have found an association between extremely low vitamin D levels and chronic, general pain that doesn’t respond to treatment.” In fact, other nutrients, like Vitamin K, work with Vitamin D to build bones. (5)
Our bodies need vitamin D to make energy. If you feel constantly tired or fatigued, it may be a vitamin D deficiency. “Too little of this essential vitamin can sap your bone strength, and some research links a deficiency of vitamin D to chronic fatigue syndrome.” And people often feel more tired during the winter months. Is it just the short days, or something else? (6)
#4 Mood Swings
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is closely linked with vitamin D deficiency. SAD is a type of depression that starts, for some people, at the beginning of the winter months and ends in the spring. This is because there is less sunlight and so less vitamin D for our bodies to make. Therefore, supplementing with Vitamin D also helps improve feelings of depression. (7)
Vitamin D is essential for skin health and the immune system. Thus, it would make sense that an autoimmune condition, like psoriasis, would be made worse by a lack of vitamin D. Specifically, recent studies have even shown that vitamin D therapy helps to reduce psoriasis flare-ups. (8, 9)