The Vital Winter Vitamin

Vitamin D has long been recognized as vital to bone health because our bodies need the vitamin to absorb calcium. Research has recently suggested that it may be essential for a wide range of conditions including the prevention of colon cancer, diabetes, fatigue, muscle weakness, breast cancer, fibromyalgia, and generalized weakness as we age. Studies also show that with age our skin becomes less productive at allowing sunlight to produce Vitamin D, thus making a deficiency more pronounced and putting us at risk for fatigue, weakness, and even cancer.

Research on Vitamin D was published in the May issue of Archives in Internal Medicine. Data from more than 10,500 women over a 10-year period found that women who had a consistent intake of Vitamin D and Calcium showed a 30% lower risk of developing breast cancer.

One of the most interesting functions of Vitamin D is its ability to down-regulate hyperproliferative (abnormal) cell growth. Cancer cells that have a Vitamin D receptor often respond to Vitamin D, by decreasing their growth, thus reducing the chance of cancer growth.

What can Vitamin D do for you?

  • Help prevent a growing list of chronic diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer
  • Help keep your bones and teeth strong and healthy
  • Regulate the growth and activity of your cells
  • Reduce inflammation and help with chronic pain
  • Promote energy and strength

How can we get more Vitamin D?

  • Salmon, sardines, shrimp, milk, cod, cheese, and eggs (sockeye salmon contains the highest levels)
  • Exposure to sunlight supplies the majority of Vitamin D our bodies require. Aim for 20 minutes, three times weekly, early morning.
  • A supplement containing Vitamin D3 is crucial. D3 (cholecalciferol) is from fish oil and is also found in eggs, organ meats, animal fat, cod liver oil, and fish. It is equivalent to the Vitamin D formed on our skins from UV-B sunlight. The dose for younger and older adults is 1,000 IU daily. Try our BalanceDocs Vitamin D3 supplement to support your daily intake.

Can Vitamin D levels be tested?

The best marker for Vitamin D is a simple blood test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D. This test should be run for those that are in a higher risk category or have problems getting enough sun exposure (all of us in the winter) and those that have chronic pain, fatigue, or loss of strength. You can book an appointment with one of our OnePeak Medical Providers to discuss blood testing.

Ask your medical provider for a Vitamin D test and start getting your adequate supply of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin this winter!

Originally published February 2020 in North Gilham Living