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Vitamin D - Part 1




Although chiropractic care should be a cornerstone of everyone’s personal health and wellness protocol, there are additional aspects that are equally important. Proper diet and nutrition are huge contributors to our body’s health. One of the most critical micronutrients for an optimal functioning human is vitamin D. Unlike most micronutrients which are acquired through diet, the best way to acquire vitamin D is through sun exposure (1). Our bodies are able to produce vitamin D when our skin cells are hit by sunlight. From there, it goes through a metabolic process that we may cover a different week. Vitamin D is essential in many functions of our body including: bone growth, producing hormones, immune and inflammatory responses, and cell production (1).


The vast importance of vitamin D can be seen in a recent review focused on athletes. Adequate levels of vitamin D could be linked to a significant increase in physical performance (1). This comes from vitamin D’s role in increasing production of muscle proteins, concentration of ATP (your body’s chemical form of energy), strength, jump height, jumping speed, and power (1). Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to higher rates of asthma, impaired lung function, and a higher frequency of disease (1,2). In fact supplementation of vitamin D has some growing evidence to support lowering levels of infections in kids and preventing autoimmune disorders and allergies (2).


Now, you may be thinking of course a vitamin is important in your health, and the reality is roughly 15-20% of the United States’ population is deficient (3). Unfortunately when you look at developing countries, this number is even higher (3). In addition to looking at other countries, when considering other demographics, like age and nationality, the discrepancy is even larger for those who are 18-60 years of age and those nationalities with darker skin tones (1). One of the reasons for the widespread deficiency in such a vital nutrient is the availability of UVB rays throughout the year. During the winter and early spring months at latitudes higher than 40 degrees (the southern Iowa border), little to no vitamin D is synthesized (3). When all of these variables are considered, a better estimate of deficiency throughout the population may be as high as 50% (1). Next week we will dive into the best ways to make sure you are reaching the recommended amount of vitamin D!





Sources

  1. de la Puente Yagüe, M., Collado Yurrita, L., Ciudad Cabañas, M. J., & Cuadrado Cenzual, M. A. (2020). Role of Vitamin D in Athletes and Their Performance: Current Concepts and New Trends. Nutrients, 12(2), 579. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020579

  2. Mailhot, G., & White, J. H. (2020). Vitamin D and Immunity in Infants and Children. Nutrients, 12(5), 1233. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051233

  3. Cashman K. D. (2020). Vitamin D Deficiency: Defining, Prevalence, Causes, and Strategies of Addressing. Calcified tissue international, 106(1), 14–29. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00223-019-00559-4


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