This summer, we’re focusing on replenishing. Need a good place to start? Welcome to the Replenish! Series, a collection of articles write to spotlight certain supplements and the role they play in maintaining the health of your body. Let’s dive in!
This week: holistic body health with Vitamin D
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is critically important for our bodies. We get Vitamin D from fatty fish like salmon or tuna, fish oils, egg yolks, butter, and fortified foods like milk and yogurt. Our bodies also produce Vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the UV rays in sunlight.
This vitamin comes in two main forms, D2 and D3. D3 is the form that humans make in our bodies. It is also typically better at raising the levels of Vitamin D in your blood in a supplement form, which is why we use it in our packs here at Binto! For more information on their similarities and differences, click here.
Did you know that Vitamin D is absolutely essential for bone health? It promotes the absorption of calcium in the body, which is critical to grow and maintain healthy bones. In addition, low levels of Vitamin D put you at risk for osteoporosis and fractures. Research indicates that with a Vitamin D deficiency, you are more likely to fracture bones like the hip, spine, and wrist. This is not only painful, but also potentially life threatening.
A Vitamin D deficiency can also have serious implications for the strength of your muscles. In fact, more research indicates that less than adequate levels can actually weaken your muscles and increase your risk of falling, the leading cause of most fractures.
Also, getting enough Vitamin D is also important for maintaining the health of your cardiovascular system. In fact, some research revealed that people with low levels of Vitamin D are more at risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes. Other studies found that Vitamin D can actually help protect your heart health by reducing inflammation in your blood vessels. It can also help moderate your blood pressure properly, keeping it from getting too high.
Interestingly, Vitamin D might also play a role in recovering from mental illness. Preliminary research found that Vitamin D activates receptors in the brain related to the regulation of behavior. It seems that Vitamin D might be able to help people manage major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Another study found that supplementing with Vitamin D helped to reduce symptoms of depression.
Plus, some studies suggest that Vitamin D might have a protective function in the brain, maintaining memory and cognitive function. As you get older, a Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to a decline in cognitive ability, making it harder for you to think clearly and perform regular tasks.
Furthermore, another important role for Vitamin D? In your reproductive system. It affects the genes in the cells of your ovaries and uterus, turning different genes on and off. As a result, this impacts how your cells function. Without enough Vitamin D, cells are unable to function properly, which can actually lead to infertility. One study found that a large proportion of patients referred for infertility treatment were Vitamin D insufficient.
Your Vitamin D levels determine how effectively your uterus produces estrogen. Without enough estrogen, it is much harder for an embryo to implant in your uterus. Whether you are trying naturally or doing IVF, if you are TTC, Vitamin D is a must. For more information of Vitamin D’s role in fertility, click here.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, your levels of Vitamin D will directly affect your baby’s, influencing the healthy growth of their bones and muscles. That being said, pregnant and breastfeeding women are also at high risk for Vitamin D deficiency. As a result, it’s especially important to make sure you are taking a prenatal or postnatal with D3 in it.
NIH estimates that 50% of the global population is Vitamin D insufficient. According to recent studies, we actually might need a lot more Vitamin D than we thought, because we definitely are not getting enough from sun exposure alone. There are a number of factors that impact your body’s ability to produce enough Vitamin D.
First, the color of your skin. Vitamin D deficiency is much more prevalent in the Black community. Melanin absorbs UV radiation effectively, which actually makes it harder for people with darker skin to synthesize Vitamin D. Studies show that Black individuals may have to sit in the sun for up to two or three times longer than their white counterparts to produce the same amount of Vitamin D.
Another factor is sunscreen. While it is incredibly important for the health of your skin, and for preventing skin cancer, it also interferes with Vitamin D absorption because it blocks the UV rays necessary to start making the vitamin.
According to NIH, more than 41% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. If you spend a lot of time indoors, live in a high-latitude location, have darker pigmented skin, or are postmenopausal, you should be paying particular attention to your Vitamin D intake levels.
While Vitamin D is incredibly important, we don’t recommend cooking yourself in the sun just to produce enough. A supplement can take care of your health (and protect you from exposing yourself to harmful UV rays!).
Here at Binto, we use the D3 form of Vitamin D, which is the kind your body naturally produces. As always, we put in everything you need and nothing you don’t, so no corn, soy, salt, yeast, gluten, milk & egg products, or preservatives. D3 comes in our women’s multi, prenatal, and as a separate supplement for those who need a little extra boost.
To talk to our team about adding Vitamin D to your supplement routine, just shoot us a message via the chat function on our website!