The importance of Vitamin D and its role in the body continues to grow as numerous studies conducted each year point out its role in the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. What kind of role does Vitamin D play in our physical health and why should we be mindful about its intake?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found naturally in some food sources. It is also synthesized when UV light hits our skin. When activated in the body, it acts as a hormone to regulate calcium in the body. The importance of its effect is extremely important and low levels in the body may be a precursor to serious disabilities in the future.  

Vitamin D in Bones

In the body, vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphate levels to help maintain healthy bones. Vitamin D also helps prevents rickets; a bone deformity disorder shown in children. Vitamin D also prevents bones from softening, called osteomalacia. This softening leads to bone bowing in children and young adults. In older adults, osteomalacia makes bones susceptible to fractures. Studies have also correlated high doses of vitamin D with fewer falls and hip fractures in older adults [1-3].

Vitamin D in Muscles

Studies have been done on older adults to examine the role of vitamin D in muscle health. Adults living in assisted care or nursing facilities who had low vitamin D levels were given high doses of vitamin D supplements and their gait and stability were tested. Improvements in gait and stability were seen in adults given the supplements correlating a positive relationship between vitamin D and muscle performance [4].

Various studies correlate vitamin D with improved jumping and less muscle soreness. Positive results associated with larger muscle groups in vitamin D supplementation, namely in leg muscles, show the importance of its role in muscle health [4].

Vitamin D in Nerves

According to Joseph Coletta, DC, EMT-P, vitamin D is important for the protection of nerves in the nervous system. Vitamin D helps the myelin sheath health which allow signals in the nervous system to travel without disruption allowing optimal cognitive functioning. 

There is evidence to support the correlation between low levels of vitamin D and the onset of certain neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Schizophrenia [5]. More studies are needed to build these hypotheses, but researchers have noticed connections between low Vitamin D levels and those affected by some neurological diseases and positive outcomes, however new and not fully developed, in vitamin D supplementation. [8]

Other Benefits

The benefits of vitamin D carry well beyond the specific areas of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Researchers have recently linked a connection between vitamin D levels and COVID-19, citing that those infected with COVID-19 often had lower levels of vitamin D [6].

Vitamin D has shown to reduce symptoms of depression due to its effects on brain functioning. Vitamin D has also shown to positively impact symptoms for anxiety and other mental illnesses. Patients with fibromyalgia noted a decrease in anxiety and depression after vitamin D supplementation [7].

Vitamin D Supplementation and Exposure

Vitamin D is naturally synthesized when UV light hits our skin. The correct amount of time of sun exposure on the skin is not well known, so caution should be exercised in order to prevent skin damage or cancer risk.

During the winter months in northern regions like the Netherlands, supplementation is suggested in order to get adequate intake. Charlotte Hildreth, BSc, suggests vitamin D3 in liquid water-soluble cholecalciferol for best absorption. Check your local supplier. The Mayo clinic suggests 600 IU a day for young adults, 800 IU a day for older adults, and 400 IUs a day for children ages 0-6. For adults, 1,000-2,000 IU per day is generally safe and may provide additional health benefits.

Vitamin D is an important component in your overall health. Adequate levels promote an overall healthy body and can be a powerful weapon against the onset on muscle, skeletal and neural problems. For more information on vitamin D, speak to one of our chiropractors today.

 

  1. A., B.-F. H. (2012). Vitamin D and fracture prevention. Rheumatic diseases clinics of North America, 38(1), 107-113.

2. Bischoff-Ferrari, H. A. (2009). Prevention of nonvertebral fractures with oral vitamin D and dose dependency: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Archives of internal medicine, 169(6) 55-561.

3. Heike A Bischoff-Ferrari 1, W. C.-H. (2005). Fracture prevention with vitamin D supplementation: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. JAMA, 293(18)2257-64

4.Girgisa, J. E. (2018). Vitamin D and muscle. Bone Reports, 8, 163-167.

5. Giulia Bivona, C. M. (2019). Vitamin D and the Nervous System. Neurological Research, 41(9):827-835

6. Cedric Annweiler, Z. C.-M. (2020). Point of View: Should COVID-19 Patiets be Supplemented with Vitamin D? Maturitas, 24-26.

7. D.J. Armstrong, G. M. (2007). Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia. Clinical Rheumatology, 551-55

8. Medea Kfoczyńska, A. K. (2015). The role of vitamin D in multiple sclerosis. Advances in Hygiene and Experiemental Medicine, 69.