If there is one thing that nutrition professionals and medical professionals alike can agree upon, whether western or eastern, holistic or otherwise, it’s the importance of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a compound that is not only a vitamin, it’s also a hormone. It is also the only vitamin that your body can make. (side note – did you realize that many mammals can make vitamin C? we cannot due to a genetic mutation, but that’s another story.)
Some recent studies on vitamin D show that low vitamin D increases your risk of suicide and depression, increases your risk of osteoporosis in women, especially coupled with high Vitamin A levels, and may increase your risk of cancer, obesity, multiple sclerosis or other serious chronic illnesses.
The bottom line is, go see your general practitioner and get a vitamin D lab drawn. If it is low, it is very easy to replace with supplements. Vitamin D can also be provided through exposure to sunlight, but this is generally not recommended as the main source since overexposure to sun has been linked with skin cancer. There are also several food sources of vitamin D including cod liver oil, fish, and certain fortified products like milk.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is now 600 IU daily (it was previously 400 IU daily), and a good generally maintenance dose is 1000 IU daily. If you are deficient, however, you can take mega-doses of up to 50,000 IU per week until your levels are normal. Do not continue this after your vitamin D is repleted, however, because it can become toxic.
If you do nothing else, please get your vitamin D checked and repleted if necessary! If not, at least make it a habit to take 1000 IU daily. I have noticed a difference in my own mood and alertness when I take it, and I am certain I am not the only one who struggles with Vitamin D deficiency.