My family and I live in the suburbs of Boston and ski at Smuggler’s Notch in Northern Vermont, so we’re outside a lot in the winter. But did you know that doesn’t mean we’re getting adequate levels of vitamin D?
Even though we might get wind or sunburn on our face, we are still not absorbing ‘enough’ Vitamin D because of the latitudinal shifts in winter and the orbit of the earth moving us so far from the sun’s rays.
We could be naked on the ski slopes in winter, get a sunburn, and still not get enough Vitamin D!
And actually, even in the summer we often slather so much sunscreen on our bodies that we block the absorption of Vitamin D. Why should we care and why do we need it?
Let’s discuss below.
As a functional medicine health coach, plenty of my clients come to me saying “I take vitamin D” or “my doctor told me to take vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis.”
Ok, but what does vitamin D even do for you? There are two main types of Vitamin D - D2 and D3 - and it is D3 that helps your body retain and absorb calcium, which is essential for building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis.
Vitamin D can also boost your mood, reduce cancer growth, control infection, and reduce inflammation. In fact, researchers are still figuring out all of the wonderful benefits.
Some of my clients are on a prescription vitamin D - which is Vitamin D2 (not the absorbable form) - although it is the one covered by insurance companies. The two forms of Vitamin D differ depending on their food source. D3 is mostly found in animals and animal products.
Some food sources include:
Testing and Supplements
You can also get juices and cereals fortified with Vitamin D, which I don’t recommend because there is so much sugar in juices, little fiber and because it’s processed. A great option is to take a D3 +K2 supplement like
Vital Nutrients K2-7 + D3
Bio-Design Vitamin D3 5000 Plus
Microbiome Labs MegaQuinD₃
Thorne Vitamin D+K2 liquid drops
DaVinci Labs D3/K2 Liquid
Quicksilver Scientific D3K2
Most can be found in my dispensary.
And recently I spoke about the importance of magnesium and it’s importance for absorption of vitamin D into your cells. But I highly recommend talking about this with your functional doctor or health coach before you purchase supplements on your own. It’s important to look at your health history, individual diet, nutrient levels and lifestyle to understand what’s best for you.
For example, some people are at a higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency, including those with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), people who are obese, and vegans and vegetarians.
There are TWO different blood tests to test the levels of vitamin D in your blood and in your cells. Make sure your doctor does at least one before prescribing you anything and ideally get a good Vitamin D3 supplement.
And if you do take supplements, you should check your nutrient levels regularly to see if the supplements you are taking are keeping your body in balance. These levels can change with the seasons, especially those of us who live in New England in the winter.
And of course, you can always book a free Discovery Session with a functional medicine health coach like my lovely self to chat more about your optimal!
In good health,