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Posted on 05-31-2016

Written by Emily Thraen

If you are subscribed to our monthly Wellness News article or have liked us on Facebook, you have probably read us stressing the importance of Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine’ vitamin. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods and, while our skin is able to synthesis vitamin D from sunlight, the amount of vitamin D synthesized through ultraviolet light exposure is not enough to meet our body’s need for it.  

Dr. Erin Michos, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Division of Cardiology, suggests that most adults need approximately 1,000 to 2,000 International Unit (IU) a day to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D (Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Health Professional 2010). To put this in perspective, you would have to eat 12 oz of salmon or 48 eggs a day to reach the daily recommended level.

The body’s requirement for vitamin D is as high as it is because vitamin D is a key player in your musculoskeletal health. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts (Cranney 2007). Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults (Institute of Medicine 2012). Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.

WOW! There is no debating that vitamin D is vital for muskeoskeletal health. However, there is growing evidence to support that higher vitamin D levels help lower one’s risk of heart disease!

Two related studies are of interest:

  1. A Harvard study found that people with low vitamin D levels had twice the risk of developing a heart attack compared to those with adequate vitamin D levels.
  2. A study in a Utah healthcare system found that people with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to have Coronary heart disease (CHD).

It is believed that vitamin D works to reduce the risk of heart by reducing:

  • Metabolic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Thickening of the arterial walls
  • Risk of respiratory infections
  • Inflammation
  • Risk of arterial calcification or hardening

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins to promote health and wellness, yet it often overlooked. While our bodies are capable of synthesizing vitamin D through ultraviolet light exposure, the average person rarely spends enough time outside and wears clothes, makeup, or sunscreen that dilute the exposure that is received. Since it is not feasible to eat 48 eggs a day, Dr. Torzewski at The Body Well recommends supplementation. The Body well sells 5,000 IU pills and 1,000 IU/ drop liquid D3. Pick up some supplementation at your next appointment to, not only help promote your musculoskeletal health, put to support your cardiovascular health as well!

Works Cited

Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.

Cranney C, Horsely T, O'Donnell S, Weiler H, Ooi D, Atkinson S, et al. Effectiveness and safety of vitamin D. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 158 prepared by the University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-02.0021. AHRQ Publication No. 07-E013. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2007.

Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Health Professional. (2014). In National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements online. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

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