Can Vitamin D improve your health?

A recent interview with Dr. Stephen Honig, Bone health, innovations in imaging, explained Vitamin D’s role in determining and maintaining our bone health.

But Vitamin D can play a pivotal role with other health conditions too.

A recent study out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital identified that “people who took Vitamin D, or Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, had a significantly lower rate of autoimmune diseases.”* This can include: autoimmune thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and psoriasis.

“Autoimmune diseases are common in older adults and negatively affect health and life expectancy.”*

Karen Costenbader of Brigham’s Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation and Immunity, stated in an interview she would recommend “patients, colleagues, or friends… Vitamin D 2000 IU a day and marine omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), 1000 mg a day…for women age 55 years and older and men 50 years and older.”*

What’s your knowledge of Vitamin D? Do you take it? If you’re open to learn more, below is some research I find most eye-opening.

“It is now generally accepted that Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide health problem that affects not only musculoskeletal health, but also a wide range of acute and chronic diseases.”**

“Vitamin D deficiency has been recognized as a pandemic…”** Deficiency has been associated with the following health issues:

  • Cognitive decline
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Allergy
  • Frailty
  • Autoimmunity

As Vitamin D is commonly referred to as “the sunshine vitamin,”*** it is important to stay cognizant of the fact that where you live (weather conditions/sun exposure) and your lifestyle (if primarily inside vs. outside) play a role on how much Vitamin D your body is able to absorb.

Harvard provides a snapshot of the correlation between lower Vitamin D levels and certain health conditions:

  • Cognitive decline – In an analysis of about 427,000 participants, a “54% higher risk of dementia was seen among participants with low Vitamin D blood levels…compared with those having adequate levels.”***
  • Immune function – “A person’s genetic background plus environmental factors including inadequate Vitamin D and UVB exposure have been identified to increase risk”*** of multiple sclerosis.
  • Heart disease – “The heart is basically a large muscle, and like skeletal muscle, it has receptors of Vitamin D. Immune and inflammatory cells that play a role in cardiovascular disease conditions like atherosclerosis (i.e. buildup of fats, cholesterol, more on artery walls – known as “plaque”) are regulated by Vitamin D.” Therefore, Vitamin D “helps to keep arteries flexible and relaxed, which in turn helps to control high blood pressure.”***

My attention was brought to Vitamin D levels around the time I was diagnosed with meningitis. Some family members of mine swear by taking Vitamin D supplements to keep their immune health strong.

As always, if you think Vitamin D could benefit your health, first and foremost it is important to discuss the pros/cons of it (or any new supplement or medication) with your healthcare provider. An easy lab test can determine if your Vitamin D level is healthy or not.

Dr. Brooke Pearce offers insight in this article on whether or not you should tell your doctor about the supplements you take.  




Coming next: Trauma is a multi-layered experience



Have a health-related question?

Submit it here. I’ll ask an expert!

Join Healthier Bodies

You may opt out at any time. See Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Join Healthier Bodies

You may opt out at any time. See Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

You have Successfully Subscribed!