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 154: Why You Need Vitamin D

In this re-released episode from October 2021, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are discussing everything you need to know about vitamin D. Vitamin D isn’t just needed for bone health – it is crucial for your immune health. Also, could low vitamin D be the cause of your aches, pains and low mood?

Vitamin D deficiency is still underdiagnosed, under prevented and under treated in between 60-90% of the worldwide population. In Canada 59% of 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)

Also see:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – for more info, see Episode 47

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – for more info, see Episode 71

What Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing monthly info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective begins again in 2023. You can get on the waitlist at wildcollectivetoronto.com

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 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 122: What is Perimenopause?

In this replay from December 2021, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss all things perimenopause…what it is, what’s happening and how to test for it. Not sure if you’re in perimenopause or what is happening with your hormones? Experiencing hot flashes, irregular periods, mood swings and insomnia? Listen in!

What is the difference between menopause and perimenopause?

Menopause is when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months.

Perimenopause is the transition period before you reach menopause and can last for 4 years, 8 years or longer. 

What is happening with your hormones in perimenopause?

Perimenopausal symptoms, as well as your hormones, can be unpredictable and might fluctuate throughout perimenopause:

  • You may get PMS symptoms some months, not others
  • You may get other menopausal symptoms some months and not others
  • Changes that can happen around perimenopause and menopause includes bone loss and osteoporosis, shifts in weight and metabolism, brain and mood changes
  • The most common symptoms you may experience include:
    • Insomnia
      • 30-60% of women experience in perimenopause
      • Research show correlations between plastic exposure and body care products and self-report insomnia (testing urinary phthalate levels – Hatcher 2020)
    • Fatigue
      • See more info about fatigue:
    • Depression and Anxiety
      • Up to 40% of women face depression or mood changes in perimenopause
    • Hot flashes
      • You can experience one of four patterns of hot flashes
        • Early onset, late onset, high frequency, low frequency
      • See more info about hot flashes: Episode 32
    • Irregular menstrual cycles and heavy bleeding

Your body’s normally predictable hormone cycle that happens over the month changes during perimenopause:

  • You might not ovulate every month or you might ovulate early
  • You have changes in your menstrual cycle length of 7 days or more (shorter or longer cycles) then have longer cycles and more skipped periods until you reach menopause 
  • Your estrogen levels can go up and down more than usual
  • Your progesterone levels tend to decrease overall
  • Your FSH level may elevate or fluctuate
  • Your stress hormone cortisol and thyroid hormones can be impacted 

Does every woman experience the transition from perimenopause to menopause the same way?

No!

You can have one of 4 different patterns of estrogen and 3 different patterns FSH levels, as well as different combinations of other symptoms at different stages of perimenopause. 

How can you tell if you are ovulating?

  • Monitor your basal body temperature (BBT)
  • Check your cervical fluid and cervical position

Perimenopausal Journal to track your symptoms and your menstrual cycle: https://www.cemcor.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/Daily_Perimenopause_Diary_with_treatments.pdf

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of this paleo crepe recipe that Stuart also loves:

Dr. Toni loves seeing Frankie play with simple wooden blocks and hand-me-down Lego blocks

Thank you for joining us today!

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!

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

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 107: How to Survive Perimenopause: What the Research Says

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss what research tells us about different treatments for symptoms in perimenopause like hot flashes, depression and poor sleep. In this part 2 of 2 episodes, we talk about treatments like acupuncture, hormone replacement and supplementing with soy, flax, omega 3 fish oil, melatonin and creatine.

In this episode, we cover how:

  • soy intake can reduce hot flashes in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, as well as supporting your mood, brain function, cholesterol levels and bone health
  • flax seed can impact your estrogen levels
  • beer can reduce hot flashes – for more info, see Episode 106
  • omega 3 fish oil can improve mood
  • melatonin can improve your sleep and other perimenopausal symptoms – providing benefit even if you get a good night’s sleep
  • creatine can support your muscle mass, mood and sleep
    • for more about the importance of muscle mass, see Episode 103
  • acupuncture can reduce depression and hot flashes, plus improving mood
  • you can discuss with your doctor what kind of hormone replacement might be beneficial for you to positively impact your hot flashes, sleep and mood, while supporting your bone and cardiovascular health (and the newly assessed risks of different hormone combinations)

Don’t forget, treatments for symptoms in perimenopause are not one size fits all! What works for one person might not work for you…it can take time to figure out what treatments works best for you.

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa loves reading daily and was inspired by Gretchen Rubin to read 13 books so far in 2021.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of reality TV shows like Survivor and Selling Sunset. 

Thank you for joining us today!

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!

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page where you can find out how you can join us for our monthly patron webinar where we do a deeper dive discussion about all things perimenopause,

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.