How Vitamin D Deficiencies Contribute to
Depression and Other Health Issues
Many people are deficient in vitamin D. Over one billion people worldwide, in fact, including about 40 percent of American adults.(2) For some people, including those with darker skin, that number is even higher.(3) About 69 percent of Hispanic people and 82 percent of African Americans, for instance, have vitamin D deficiencies.(4)
Unfortunately, most people don’t know they are deficient.(5)
Low levels of vitamin D have a huge impact on nearly every health condition, including arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.(6,7) Deficiencies can play a role in multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders, infections, respiratory disease, and more.(8)
These deficiencies impact everyone, not just the elderly. Vitamin D deficiencies can increase the risk of injury and recovery among young, healthy athletes.(9)
Vitamin D levels can even determine how long you live. One review of 32 studies found that low levels could significantly increase your risk of early death.(10)
A nutraceutical provides the easiest way to prevent these deficiencies. Studies show that taking 5,000 IUs of vitamin D daily can optimize levels of this critical nutrient.(11)
MaxLiving Vitamin D3 + Probiotics provides the right amount of vitamin D3, the superior form of vitamin D.(12) Unlike other formulas, we add probiotics and prebiotics that help you better absorb this critical nutrient. Every capsule delivers an excellent amount of vitamin D so you get all its many benefits.
Every Cell in Your Body Needs Vitamin D
Every cell in your body has a vitamin D receptor.(13) That’s how important this nutrient is for cell growth, maintaining healthy bones, brain and muscle health, your immune system, and so much more.(14)
You may have a higher risk for deficiencies. Factors that can lower vitamin D include:
• Age (you make less vitamin D as you get older)
• Air pollution
• Certain diseases, including and liver or kidney diseases
• People who are obese or had gastric bypass surgery
• People with inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions causing fat malabsorption.(15)
Because vitamin D plays so many roles in your body, the signs and symptoms of deficiencies can be far-reaching. They include:
• Getting sick often
• Bone pain or bone loss
• Feeling tired often
These and other symptoms are often subtle and non-specific. You might not connect them with low levels of vitamin D, and they might overlap with other conditions.(16)
A blood test is the only true way to know whether you have deficiencies. Ask your healthcare practitioner to measure your 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels. The optimal range is wide -- between 25–80 ng/ml -- so talk with him or her about the ideal level for you.(17) Vitamin D plays many roles in health and wellbeing. Here, we focus on four of the most heavily researched areas: depression, immune health, bone health, and insulin resistance.
Vitamin D and Depression
While it impacts more women than men, depression doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any age.(18)
Several factors oftentimes contribute to depression. You can’t usually pin depression on any one specific condition or life event, and being depressed looks different for everyone.(19)
Addressing the underlying factors that contribute can help prevent or alleviate mood disorders such as depression. Vitamin D can help. This key nutrient plays an important role in brain health.
Deficiencies can impair how your brain works and lead to problems including depression.(20) People with depression often have low vitamin D levels. People have low vitamin D, on the other hand, have a much greater risk of depression.(21)
One review looked at observational studies. Of those studies, 65 percent connected low levels of vitamin D with depression.(22) That’s where a nutraceutical can help. One study gave either a high-dose vitamin D nutraceutical or a placebo to 441 overweight adults. The vitamin D group had a significant improvement in depressive symptom scale scores after one year.(23)
Spending time in the sun and exercising outdoors can improve mental wellbeing and help improve vitamin D levels.(24) To get enough vitamin D levels to ease depression, however, you’ll want to supplement.(25)
If you struggle with depression, please seek professional help. Talk with your healthcare practitioner about using vitamin D nutraceuticals as a way to manage depression.
Vitamin D and Immune Health
If you find yourself coming down with a cold or flu, you might have low vitamin D levels. That’s because vitamin D works directly with the immune cells that fight infection. These cells depend on vitamin D to function.(26)
Deficiencies can stall your immune response, increasing your risk of illness and infection.(27)
More specifically, low levels of vitamin D can increase your risk of respiratory tract infections including colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. Taking a vitamin D nutraceutical can reduce your risk of respiratory tract infections.(28)
One study among school children found that taking vitamin D nutraceuticals in the winter could reduce your likelihood of getting the flu.(29) Vitamin D can support your immune system in other ways, too. Optimal levels can lower chronic inflammation, a low-grade simmering inflammation that can impair your cells and organs.(30)
Vitamin D and Bone Health
Calcium gets most of the glory, but vitamin D is equally important for bone health.(31)
Vitamin D helps your gut absorb calcium. Your bones need vitamin D for growth and remodeling. Along with other nutrients such as calcium and phosphate, vitamin D helps support bone health.(32)
Without enough vitamin D, your bones become less dense, so you’re more likely to suffer broken bones. Bone quality also declines without enough vitamin D.(33)
This decline can soften your bones, a condition called osteomalacia.(34) Osteomalacia can lead to fractures in older adults.(35) With osteoporosis, on the other hand, your bones become porous and brittle.(36)
Over 40 million American adults have or are at risk of developing osteoporosis, which increases your risk of fragile bones and significantly increases the risk of bone fractures.(37)
Optimal vitamin D levels can maintain bone strength and help prevent osteoporosis in older adults and other at-risk populations. Along with calcium, vitamin D can significantly decrease fractures.(38)
Having sufficient amounts of vitamin D also keeps your muscles healthy, so you’re less likely to fall and break a bone.(39)
Vitamin D can lower inflammation, too, to prevent fractures and keep your muscles stronger. Left unchecked, inflammation can contribute to bone problems including osteoporosis.(40)
Vitamin D and Insulin Resistance
Being obese can increase your risk of insulin resistance, where your cells “resist” the signal of this hormone. As a result, those cells can’t use glucose for energy.(41) Insulin resistance can pave the way for other health problems, including type 2 diabetes.(42)
Many people who are insulin resistant have ow vitamin D levels.(43) Optimal vitamin D levels, on the other hand, can improve how your cells respond to insulin.(44)
Vitamin D can also support the cells in your pancreas that help make insulin. The right amount can lower the chronic inflammation that often accompanies obesity and diabetes, too.(45)
Besides insulin, vitamin D impacts other hormones that regulate your body weight. They include:
• Leptin, your satiety hormone that can help lower hunger levels.
• Cortisol, your stress hormone. Elevated levels of cortisol can store belly fat, leading to other problems including diabetes.(46)
Vitamin D can keep these and other hormones in check to decrease body fat and support a healthy weight. weight loss and decrease body fat. Keeping a healthy weight, in turn, can improve your vitamin D levels, so you get all of this nutrient’s many benefits.(47)
3 Ways to Get Vitamin D
You need optimal levels of vitamin D to keep your immune system working well, support strong bones, prevent depression, maintain a healthy weight, and so much more.
The good news is that with a few adjustments, you can usually fix vitamin D deficiencies.(48)
Your skin can make vitamin D from sunlight.(49) Sun exposure -- between five and 30 minutes between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., at least twice per week, without sunscreen -- can provide vitamin D.(50)
However, most people don’t spend time in the sun. Perhaps you have sensitive skin that burns easily. Or if you do go out, you use sunscreen, which can reduce vitamin D synthesis over than 95 percent.(51)
People with naturally dark skin tones need more sun exposure -- three to five times more,in fact -- to make the same amount of vitamin D as a person with a white skin tone.(52)
Likewise, if you live farther away from the equator, your body might not be making sufficient levels or sometimes any vitamin D.(53) So can spending time indoors and living in big cities where buildings block sunlight.(54)
In a perfect world, your body would make enough vitamin D from sunlight. But in reality, most of us don’t.
You can also get vitamin D from your diet, but getting sufficient amounts can be hard.(55) Very few foods are rich in vitamin D, and many people don’t eat enough foods that are including fatty fish.(56)
Some foods and drinks come fortified with vitamin D. Unfortunately, they often contain ergocalciferol or vitamin D2, a poorly absorbed form of vitamin D.(57) Besides, these foods and drinks often contain sugar and other problematic ingredients.
The third and most convenient way to optimize vitamin D levels is with a nutraceutical. But you need to take the right vitamin D nutraceutical to get those benefits.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
How much vitamin D your body requires depends on many factors including your age, race, where you live,season, how much sun you’re exposed to, and more.(58)
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamin D nutraceutials is 600 IU or 15 micrograms (mcg) for nearly everyone aged one and over. That increases to 800 IU or 20 mcg once you hit 70 and older.(59)
But you don’t want to just prevent deficiencies; you want to thrive. That requires optimal levels of vitamin D.
The only true way to know if you’re deficient is to test. Most people should get vitamin D levels checked twice a year. If you have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiencies, ask your healthcare practitioner to test every three to four months.(60) If you’re low, work with him or her to reach adequate levels.
Some experts argue current recommendations are too low -- sometimes way too low -- to reduce diseases.(61) One study showed that you need 5,000 IUs to have optimal blood levels of vitamin D above 30 ng/ml.(62) To get that amount, you’ll need to supplement.
Some nutraceuticals, including your multivitamin, contain some vitamin D.(63) Even so, you’re probably not getting enough. That’s where a vitamin D nutraceutical can help.
Look for one with vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This form absorbs much better than vitamin D2.(64) Many commercial nutraceuticals contain low levels of vitamin D. Even if they do contain enough to benefit you, they often come loaded with problematic ingredients such as soybean oil.
With all the many benefits that vitamin D provides, you want to get the highest-quality product. That’s why we created MaxLiving Vitamin D3 + Probiotics. Each capsule provides:
• 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3
• 10 billion colony forming units (CFU) of probiotics. Supplementing with these healthy gut flora helps your body better use vitamin D.(65)
• Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) prebiotics from chicory root to support probiotic health. Prebiotics are the food that probiotics feed on.(66)
With just one capsule with a meal every day, you can rest assured that you’re getting the right amount of vitamin D to fight infections, support bone health, lower your risk of depression, maintain a healthy weight, and so much more.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient. To absorb MaxLiving Vitamin D3 + Probiotics, always take it with a meal containing some healthy fat.
Finally, while most people don’t get enough vitamin D, taking too much can also be harmful.67 Talk with your healthcare practitioner about monitoring your levels to assure you’re getting the right amount of vitamin D to get its many benefits.
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66 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-best-prebiotic-foods67 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-side-effects#1