In the past vitamin D was mainly discussed in relation to bone health as this nutrient helps prevent calcium loss from bone. However a substantial amount of newer research reveals this sunshine vitamin has much broader roles within the body. The emerging research also tells us there’s a critical vitamin D – thyroid health link we need to know about.
Studies show lower vitamin D status is observed in individuals with hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and Graves disease.
In addition, low vitamin D is associated with an increased thyroid cancer risk.
D3 Is The Active Form of Vitamin D You Need To Know About
Did you know the active form of vitamin D, or D3 is now classified as a hormone rather than a vitamin?
You see D3 not only safeguards your bone health, it supports a balanced immune response, healthy mood, a well-functioning nervous system, and proper parathyroid gland function.
This is the reason low D3 can lead to a range of symptoms including fatigue, low motivation, cognitive impairment, muscle weakness, and a general feeling of not being well.
Here’s 5 Reasons WHY Vitamin D Gets Low
There are a number of factors that contribute to low vitamin D.
- Inadequate sunlight exposure.
Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is required for vitamin D to be produced. If you cover up, spend a lot of time indoors, or live in a region with very little sunshine your levels can get low. Keep in mind, getting the balance right between the ideal amount of sunlight and practising safe sun exposure is important.
- You are getting older
With advancing age the skin has a harder time producing sufficient vitamin D.
- You are using sunscreen as part of your daily routine.
Sunscreens prevent the sun’s UV radiation from penetrating the skin and therefore may diminish production of vitamin D.
- You’re not supplementing with the best form of vitamin D.
There are two types of vitamin D available in supplements; vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). D3 is considered the supplement of choice as it’s the most effective at raising D3 levels.
- You have a thyroid disorder. It’s common for individuals with thyroid problems to have low vitamin D. This is due to three main reasons; a reduced ability to activate vitamin D from the diet, lowered intestinal absorption because of poor gut function, or hardwired genetic traits are impairing proper activity of the vitamin D receptors (VDR) in the body.
Vitamin D Is One Simple Remedy For Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
The body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. As you can imagine, it’s easy to get low in this nutrient during the darker, colder months of winter.
In severe cases, low D3 is associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a type of depression develops during the darker days of winter when there is very little sun exposure.
The most well recognized symptoms of SAD include a persistently low mood, low motivation, poor concentration, and wanting to sleep for longer than usual. If you struggle with these types of symptoms during winter you should get your vitamin D levels checked.
Are you noticing this too?
The symptoms of SAD are remarkably similar to those associated hypothyroidism.
What is The Best Way To Test D3 Levels?
The most accurate way to measure your D3 reserves is with the 25-hydroxycholecalciferol test, also known as 25(OH)D.
What’s a healthy level of D3?
The Vitamin D Council is a leading US research organisation committed to educating the public on the importance of vitamin D. Here are their guidelines:
- If you’re getting sufficient vitamin D your 25 (OH)D test result will be between 40-80 ng/ml.
- A result between 0-30 ng/ml shows you are deficient.
- The ideal level to aim for is 50 ng/ml of 25 (OH)D.
In many parts of the world blood test results are given in units of nmol/l. I have calculated the equivalent measurements here:
- The equivalent metric measurement for 40-80 ng/ml =100-200 nmol/L.
- The equivalent metric measurement for 50 ng/ml = 125 nmol/L.
If you have any concerns about your vitamin D status talk to your doctor. It’s common to have low levels at the end of winter, especially when you are also dealing with a thyroid disorder.
The Best Way To Get Vitamin D
The two best ways to get vitamin D are by safely exposing bare skin to sunlight, and taking a good quality vitamin D supplement as it’s difficult to get the vitamin D required from dietary sources.
For this reason, D3 supplementation is a cost effective way to ensure your D3 levels stay in the healthy range. It’s important to know that a D3 supplement is more effective at raising your 25 (OH)D levels than a D2 supplement.
The Vitamin D Council recommends taking at least 5,000IU of D3 per day if levels are low. The reason? The body uses up to 3,000IU daily so in effect you need to take more than what you use.
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