Vitamin D: An Absolute Requirement for Healthy Living

Written by Dr. Georgia Tetlow, Integrative Physician and Fatima Flynn MS Hi Everyone,

I recently read a review article on the link between vitamin D and sleep (Sleep Med Rev. 2014 Aug;18(4):311-9). Many of you know that Vitamin D is a hormone which acts on the gut, bone, breast, brain, muscles and immune system...and it does so by acting on receptors inside the cell nucleus to affect gene expression. But sleep?

Vitamin D can affect our risk of developing an autoimmune illness, chronic rhinitis (allergies!), cardiovascular illness or diabetes. It does so through immune modulation. These immune changes affect the amount and type of inflammation, and many of these mediators also affect sleep patterns!

Below is more useful Vitamin D information:

Natural Production of Vitamin D

Your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to a pinking dose of sunlight. How much vitamin D you make depends on your genes, age, how much skin is uncovered, and your skin tone. Without sunblock and with arms and legs exposed, your skin will make 10,000 to 15,000 units of vitamin D in one pinking sun exposure, on average. Sunblock with an SPF of more than 15 blocks 100% of vitamin D production in the skin.  Depending on the latitude at which you live, you may only get enough radiation from the sun for vitamin D production between May and October. Also, the darker your skin, the more sun you need to make enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D Supplementation Doses

Normal dosing of vitamin D depends on your blood levels. If you are taking a vitamin D supplement, i.e. your vitamin D levels are low and require repletion, adequate calcium and magnesium intake may also be required. However, if your level is in the process of being repleted, it is ok to forego additional minerals. It is very difficult to get too much vitamin D. People can take up to 10,000 units per day for 6 months and not have any adverse effects. However, people with sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, Lyme disease, lymphoma, or kidney disease have to be supplemented carefully because of an increased risk of their blood calcium level becoming too high.

Rechecking Your Vitamin D Level

It is recommended that you have your vitamin D level rechecked within 2 months after starting supplementation, depending on your medical and health condition. Other lab tests for serum or ionized calcium, magnesium, and parathyroid hormone levels (PTH) may also be done during the recheck.

Ensure great health, check your Vitamin D level! Discuss your options at your next PIM appointment with Dr. Georgia Tetlow, Integrative Physician or Lauren Houser, Nurse Practitioner. To schedule an appointment, call us at (888) 702-7974 x 2 or fill out our scheduling form FREE 20 MINUTE CONSULTATIONS AVAILABLE!

Stay Healthy!