Vitamin D & The Immune System
As we enter the time of year here in Victoria when sunny days are fewer and further between, the question of vitamin D supplementation is one we hear often as Naturopathic Doctors. In addition to being preventative against bone loss, vitamin D also has implications for your mental and physical health.
Autoimmune disease prevalence is increased among people with vitamin D deficiencies, including:
Type 1 diabetes
Besides decreasing your risk of developing an autoimmune disease, vitamin D also may keep your mind sharp as there are vitamin D receptors widespread throughout the brain, particularly concentrated in areas correlated heavily with cognitive functions. This may explain in part the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among patients experiencing depression, which can be particularly exacerbated during the winter months.
Sufficient vitamin D from the sun requires 15 minutes of full sun exposure on your arms and legs 7 days a week - which is unfortunately not possible here on Vancouver Island. Also keep in mind - wearing sunscreen limits your sun exposure, therefore limiting vitamin D production.
Naturopathic Doctors can order a lab test to find out your baseline vitamin D levels and recommend a dosing tailored to your individualized needs for prevention.
When choosing your vitamin D supplement ensure it is Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), as this is the more bioavailable form.
New research suggests supplementing vitamin D once weekly, or once monthly is both a safe and effective alternative to daily dosing.
Despite it being a fat soluble vitamin, toxicity from vitamin D supplementation has not been shown even at doses of 10,000 IU a day. Many research studies are administering between 4000-6000 IU a day to effectively raise vitamin D levels.
Dietary sources of vitamin D include salmon (100 g of wild salmon contains approximately 600-1000 IU), eggs and organ meat.
For more information about vitamin D testing and how a deficiency may be impacting your health, book a complimentary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Stephanie.