Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplementation popularity has exponentially grown in the past year with COVID-19 and immunity claims from this vitamin. A study done in January of this year found that 35% of US adults are deficient in Vitamin D. The technical level of deficiency for vitamin D is 30 ng/mL (Sizar O., 2021). In our office, I prefer to look at ‘functional ranges’ of Vitamin D, a healthy range in which most people are feeling optimal. The functional range for vitamin D levels is 50-80ng/mL, so you can see that 30ng is pretty low.
The well know benefits of vitamin D are its importance in bone metabolism and calcium homeostasis in regards to osteoporosis and rickets (in children). Low levels of vitamin D, in turn, reduce calcium and phosphorus which lead to hypocalcemia eventually accelerating bone demineralization (Sizar, O. 2021).
In 2006, a study looked at the affects of vitamin D on immune mediated diseases. Inflammatory bowel disease is inflammation of the digestive tract caused by an over active immune response. Multiple Sclerosis is also an immune mediated disease where one’s immunune system attacks the myelin sheaths covering nerves. This study found that vitamin D supplementation lowered the incienced of these diseases by regulating T cell response (Cantorna, M. T. 2006).
Did you know vitamin D3 (a form of Vitamin D) also has an influence on muscle strength? A study from Chaing, C.M. looked at supplementation of cholecalciferol in athletes and found a positive correlation of increased strength. Supplementation ranged from 400-8500 IU of vitamin D3 (Chaing, C.M. 2017).
From just a few studies mentioned above you can see that vitamin D is more than just bone health. Increased strength and decreased immune mediated attacks on the body in regards to IBS and MS are just a few examples of the importance of maintaining proper vitamin D levels. Because vitamin D is a fat soluble, healthy levels can be easily restored. So it is important to test, not guess when supplementing vitamin D!