Episode 204: Why You Need Vitamin D for Your Mood

In this re-released episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are discussing everything you need to know about vitamin D. Vitamin D isn’t just needed for bone health and immune system – could low vitamin D be the cause of your aches, pains, low energy and mood?

Vitamin D deficiency is still underdiagnosed, under prevented and under treated in between 60-90% of the worldwide population. In Canada, over half of the population are vitamin D deficient (below 75 nmol/L). 

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and is best absorbed as a supplement when taken with food. 

What increases your risk of experiencing vitamin D deficiency?

  • Dark skin
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Malabsorption
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (due to malabsorption and inflammation)
  • Sunlight overprotection and/or deprivation
  • Chronic use of prednisone and other anti-inflammatory steroid derivatives, anticonvulsant medications (due to upregulation of liver detoxification, promoting excretion of vitamin D and metabolites)

Why should you care about vitamin D?

Vitamin D plays many roles in the body! It’s not just for bone density, which can decrease as estrogen decreases in perimenopause and menopause.

Vitamin D is known as a pro-hormone synthesized in the skin and activated in the liver and kidneys. Cholesterol is its precursor.

Why do you need vitamin D in your body?

  • Reduces cellular growth
  • Improves cell differentiation
  • Regulates and controls genes
  • Reduces inflammation, risk of cancer, autoimmunity
  • Reduces muscle aches/pain, fibromyalgia
  • Improves mood (and energy)
  • Enhances bone health

“The most common manifestations of vitamin D deficiency in adults is:

Depression

Infection

Chronic Pain”

  • Alex Vasquez (vitamin D monograph available at academia.edu)

Low vitamin D status or deficiency can manifest as:

  • Bone and muscle pain 
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Infections/dysbiosis
  • Frequent falls and cognitive impairment
  • Statin intolerance and myalgia
  • Preterm birth 

How does vitamin D support your vagina?

Research shows that vitamin D supports the proliferation of vaginal epithelium in postmenopausal vaginal atrophy. After using a suppository with 1000IU vitamin D over 8 weeks, vaginal pH decreased, while vaginal dryness and pain significantly reduced.

You can think about your skin and mucous membranes (including epithelial cells and immune cells) are like bricks in a wall, with tight junction proteins acting like mortar and weather proofing or waterproofing provided by antimicrobial peptides, as well as lysozyme and secretory IgA, on surfaces. 

Mucous membranes are present in your mouth, digestive tract, genitourinary tract and respiratory tract. Strengthening your exterior barrier defenses prevents infection.

Research shows that people with low vitamin D levels are 27-55% more likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection. Higher doses of vitamin D are more protective, improves lung function and decreases inflammation. 

Synergistic nutrients for vitamin D include:

  • Magnesium – cofactor in the synthesis of vitamin D from both exposure to sunlight and dietary sources
  • Vitamin K2 supports getting calcium into bones and teeth

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) produced in skin and consumed in diet, preferred form for supplementation.

Food sources provide low amounts: fatty wild fish like mackerel, herring, sardines, trout, salmon, cod liver oil, egg yolk, milk, soy milk, fortified foods, beef liver, cheese

Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) produced by irradiating fungi and mushrooms, less efficient precursor to biologically active 1, 25 dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol), also potentially less effective and more toxic. 

Some examples of research using cod liver oil as a source of vitamin D:

  • study with 10 patients with multiple sclerosis over 2 years, daily supplementation of 1000mg calcium, 600mg magnesium and 5000IU vitamin D (from 20g cod liver oil) reduced number of exacerbations with an absence of adverse effects
  • studies with cod liver oil showed significant reductions of type 1 diabetes, while a study of more than 10,000 infants (less than 1 year of age) and children with 2000IU of vitamin D daily reduced incidence of type 1 diabetes by almost 80%

How do you know if you’re getting enough vitamin D?

Get your blood tested!

Reference ranges for serum 25 (OH) vitamin D3 in adults can vary:

Example:

Deficiency: <20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) 

Insufficiency: 20-40 ng/ml (50-100 nmol/L)

Proposed optimal: 40-65 ng/ml (100-160 nmol/L)

Excess: >80 ng/ml (200 nmol/L)

Proposed updated ranges:

Depletion: <20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) 

Insufficiency: <32 ng/ml (80 nmol/L) 

Marginal sufficiency: 30-40 ng/ml (75-100 nmol/L)

Sufficiency: 40-50 ng/ml (100-125 nmol/L) 

Proposed optimal physiologic range: 50-90 ng/ml (125-225 nmol/L) – based on levels found in pregnant rural Africans, lifeguards in USA/Isreal, farmers in Puerto Rico

Supraphysiologic: >100 ng/ml (250 nmol/L)

Potentially toxic: >150 ng/ml (325 nmol/L)

Pharmacologic dosing: 200-300 ng/ml (500-750 nmol/L)

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of board games for lots of family fun, including Despicable Me Minion Game of Life, Mousetrap and Don’t Make Me Laugh. 

Dr. Toni loves her emulsified vitamin D drops by NFH plus vitamin D/K for the whole family.

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 168: Why You Should Care About Your Bone Health and the Silent Thief (aka Osteoporosis)

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss the silent thief for women in perimenopause and menopause – osteoporosis. While men can also be impacted, hormone changes with aging can impact body mineral density and increase the risk of bone fractures, especially after falls. Bone fractures as we age can have a huge impact on our life and overall well being. Thankfully, there are things we can do with nutrition and exercise to maintain bone and muscle mass, and the time to start is now!

Important Statistics About Hip Fracture:

The death rate in the 1st year after a hip fracture is about 20%

About 20% of people who survive after a hip fracture require long-term nursing care

After hip fracture, 60% of people don’t fully regain their pre-fracture independence

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • What is osteoporosis and how it is different from osteopenia
  • When should you get your bone mineral density screened
  • When to consider advocating for early bone mineral density
  • Important risk factors that impact your bone mineral density and risk of fracture
  • What common drink and medication increases your risk of fracture
  • Why you might be adding prunes to your grocery list
  • The importance of adequate protein intake for your bones and muscles
  • Why you need to get enough calcium, magnesium and vitamin D from food and/or supplementation
  • The benefits of eating an anti-inflammatory diet similar to the Mediterranean Diet
  • Why you need to move your body to support your bone health

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Both Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni love chocolate Pure Paleo protein powder to make “hot chocolate”, adding cinnamon, rooibos chai, heated non-dairy milk like almond or oat. 

  • For more info about genetics, see Episode 57
  • For more info about Continuous Glucose Monitoring, see Episode 163

What’s Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is next month. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Sign up for Dr. Lisa’s free webinar: “How to Thrive in Perimenopause and Beyond” (on Mar 29th or Apr 3rd) here

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Join Dr. Lisa’s new Facebook group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Thanks for joining us!

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!Disclaimer:The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.