vitamin D

Vitamin D
The nutrient that acts like a hormone – “The body synthesizes it after sun exposure, and it’s activated by the liver and kidneys. That activated form acts like a hormone to regulate calcium metabolism.”
Functions
  • Important for improved resistance and healthy immune function against diseases:
    • reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study
    • decreasing your chance of developing heart disease, according to a 2008 study
    • helping to reduce your likelihood of developing viral infections like the flu, according to 2010 research
  • Regulates calcium and phosphorus absorption
    • Regulates of calcium balance and uptake from bones (as active form Calcitrol)
    • Possibly helps prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain
  • Reduces depression
    • In this study, scientists found that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression 
    • In this study of people with fibromyalgia, researchers found vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who were also experiencing anxiety and depression
Sources notes
  • The “sunshine vitamin” – produced in your skin when your body is directly exposed to sunlight
  • Best sources fish, eggs and fortified foods:
    • salmon, sardines, shrimp
    • egg yolk
    • milk (fortified), cereal (fortified), yogurt (fortified), orange juice (fortified)
  • D3 is the best supplement type as it is the most potent 
Vegetable Sources Mushrooms in particular maitake mushroom
Fruit Sources
Nut and seed sources
Absorption and function notes Fat soluble – fat enhances absorption
Deficiency factors
  • Rickets (children), Osteomalacia (adults); Liver and kidney disorders; Osteoporosis
  • Conversion both from sunlight and diet to potent form (1,25-[OH]2D3) in liver – liver health essential
  • Estrogen and magnesium deficiencies play a role  in conversion as does boron
Toxicity Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common, however it has the greatest potential to be toxic of fat soluble vitamins

  • Symptoms: irritability, joint pain
  • See this study and this article for more information on ensuring you get the right amount

Adapted from:

Murray, M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Food. New York, N.Y.: Atria Books

Bland, J., Costarella, L., Levin, B., Liska, D., Lukaczer, D., Schlitz, B., Schmidt, M., Lerman, R., Quinn, S., Jones, D. (2004). Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach, Second Edition. Gig Harbor, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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