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Are You Vitamin D Deficient?

Discover why this superstar nutrient is vital for health and how to increase your levels.

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Vitamin D deficiency affects nearly half our population. It’s a major epidemic that’s not on our radar nearly as much as it should be. Oftentimes when we hear vitamin D, we instantly think it’s a nutrient that supports bone health. While this is true, it also does so much more than just build bones. Since vitamin D is fat soluble, it acts more like a hormone than a vitamin by regulating more than 1,000 processes in the body. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is an incredible asset to your health, and you need optimal levels to function at your finest. 

Benefits Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D regulates immunity and decreases overall inflammation, the root cause of all chronic disease. It also keeps your brain sharp. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to poor mood and memory and brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Vitamin D has also been found to prevent cellular aging by protecting the lengths of your telomeres—the protective caps at the end of your chromosomes. 

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need? 

If you sit inside behind a computer all day, don’t get adequate sunlight, and rarely eat vitamin D-rich foods, such as fatty fish or mushrooms, you’re most likely deficient in this superstar nutrient. Getting bloodwork done is the best way you can figure out if supplementation is best for you. 

Optimal levels for serum vitamin D are 40 to 80 ng/mL. Depending on where your starting levels are, you should be taking anywhere between 1,000 to 10,000 IU per day. A dietitian nutritionist can help you accurately dose. Finally, it’s important to retest quarterly to see if you’ve optimized your levels over the months. 

Vitamin D Synergy

Some nutrients work better when paired together. In the case of vitamin D, it needs a little help from the mineral magnesium. Magnesium assists in the activation of vitamin D, making them a power couple. Magnesium can be taken in supplement form as well as found in foods such as dark chocolate, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. 

Vitamin D also works synergistically with vitamin K2. Vitamin D increases calcium levels in the body, and vitamin K2 helps the body use calcium by shuttling it into your bones instead of letting it deposit/calcify on arteries and soft tissue. For this reason, vitamins D and K2 are often paired together in supplement form.

Finally, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Taking it with a balanced meal that includes healthy fats, such as avocado, olive oil, or egg yolk, is key for proper absorption.

Beyond Supplementation

The best way to get vitamin D is to expose your bare skin to sunlight for about 15 minutes early in the day, so be sure to schedule in time to let the sun shine in.

Incredible things start to happen when vitamin D reaches optimal values, so test your levels quarterly to be sure you’re at an adequate range for health and longevity. Depression vanishes, immunity stays strong, and you age more gracefully. It is a superstar nutrient, indeed.

For more on vitamin D, don’t miss Topical Vitamin D: A Superhero Solution for Skin, Immunity, and Health.

About The Author
Jessica Dogert

Jessica is a registered dietitian nutritionist and an Elo Health Coach. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University where she double majored in Dietetics and Nutrition, Fitness & Health and then transitioned to the University of Illinois at Ingalls Memorial to complete her dietetic internship and earn her Registered Dietitian Nutritionist credentials. Before joining Elo, she was a nutrition consultant for many innovative wellness brands where she was able to help hundreds of performance driven individuals fine tune their health habits for enhanced energy, cognition, and overall longevity. Elo is a smart nutrition company that sends the exact nutrients the body needs in personalized and pre-measured packets after taking a simple at-home test.