Vitamin D is a hormone (rather than a vitamin) that is so important for so much of our bodies. It helps absorb and utilise calcium, it helps to strengthen our immune systems (there’s evidence that it may protect against severe corona) as well as improving muscle strength, balance and co-ordination!
It may even help with diabetes, hypertension, depression, anxiety, sleep and even some cancers.
Vitamin D and it’s connection to Depression and Anxiety
Vitamin D is a precursor to other hormones and having enough vitamin D helps us to keep producing serotonin, as well as regulating the production of adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine in the brain. Not having enough vitamin D may lead to higher levels of cortisol (see below). Therefore having enough vitamin D can help reduce depression and anxiety.
Vitamin D and Cortisol Levels
Having enough vitamin D may lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, produced in the adrenal glands, which can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation. It has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure. Cortisol can also affect libido, particularly in women, mood swings as well as anxiety and depression.
Vitamin D and it’s connection to Weight Gain and Obesity
A deficiency of vitamin D has also linked to a higher risk of suffering from weight gain and obesity. Having adequate vitamin D levels may also help reduce parathyroid hormone which in turn helps reduce weight gain. It also increases the hormone leptin, which is our satiety hormone, sending messages to the brain when we’ve had enough to eat, therefore reducing the potential to overeat.
Vitamin D and it’s connection to Sleep
Vitamin D3, as well as tryptophan (which is then converted to 5-HTP) and magnesium are precursors to making serotonin. melatonin. When there’s enough serotonin, the excess can then be used to make melatonin.
Vitamin D and it’s possible connection to Diabetes
Vitamin D is believed to be necessary for the production of insulin as well as helping improve the body’s sensitivity to it.
Sources of Vitamin D
The best source of vitamin D is from the UV rays from our sun, but because our UV rays are putting us at risk of skin cancers, in Australia, we’re often missing out on getting enough as we cover up and slip, slop, slap.
Food Sources of Vitamin D
There aren’t many food sources of vitamin D but some of the best are;
- Cod Liver Oil
- Fatty Fish such as; salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines
- Mushrooms – place in the sun for up to an hour to enhance their vitamin D content
- Fortified juices, cereals, yoghurt and milk
- Meat and whole protein contain small amounts of vitamin D
- Beef liver, egg yolks and cheese contain small amounts of vitamin D