The Vital Importance of Vitamin D this Winter
What a year we have had. Schools closed, sporting events cancelled, travel restricted and all kinds of health concerns. If we could throw this year back and wait for another one it would be a great strategy.
Unfortunately, the challenges we have faced this year are not going away with the New Year. We will have just as many, if not more, challenges in the coming year. This is why it is vital that every human gets proper amounts of Vitamin D this winter and throughout the months ahead.
Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in our skin in response to sunlight. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. Fat soluble just means it’s carried in and stored in fat, and not in water.
Our body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, during the winter months we see less sunlight and we are typically outside less. This leads to less natural production of vitamin D from our skin. We can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in our blood.
Vitamin D has several important functions, notable functions that Vitamin D supports are:
- One of the most vital functions of Vitamin D is regulating the absorption of the minerals calcium and phosphorus. These vital minerals are necessary for development of muscles and healthy muscle metabolism. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth as well. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults. Prolonged deficiency in vitamin D can lead to a terrible condition called Rickets which is a weakening and softening of bones.
- Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal immune system responses. This means if we want to fight off illness, we better have a good supply of vitamin D. Many Doctors and scientists suggest vitamin D is helpful in treating or preventing autism, autoimmune disease, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. While enough research has not been done on some of these claims, it is safe to say vitamin D is a major contributor to a healthy immune system.
- Perhaps the most important benefit regarding vitamin D is the potential it has in helping our immune response to COVID-19. The studies are being done as I write this article, however, many of the studies have already been published. There seems to be a common thread where adequate levels of vitamin D are necessary to help our immune systems fight off the SARS CoV-2 virus. This is one of the viruses that cause upper respiratory infections. People with vitamin D deficiency have not been shown to effectively resist these upper respiratory infections.
As more research is published the findings have been consistent in suggesting vitamin D is absolutely vital for our health regimen. With the current challenges our world is facing today, why not keep our vitamin D intake well above a minimum? I suggest vitamin D supplements to almost every patient my clinics come in contact with. Be Blessed.