About two years ago, I was having some severe health problems. Tremors, muscle cramps, fatigue, insomnia. Worst of all, I couldn’t lose a pound, no matter what I seemed to do. Then my doctor had me tested for Vitamin D levels. The results came back “dangerously low”. I began taking Vitamin D pills, about 10,000 IUs a day. Almost all of my problems went away, and the weight began coming off.
I was amazed! I began to research Vitamin D, and learned that it wasn’t exactly a vitamin as I thought of vitamins. In the body, Vitamin D acts more like a hormone, helping to regulate many vital systems — including aiding your metabolism and helping with weight loss. Here’s what the National Institutes of Health say about it.
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 [1,2]. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults . Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.
Vitamin D has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation [1,3,4]. Many genes encoding proteins that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis are modulated in part by vitamin D . Many cells have vitamin D receptors, and some convert 25(OH)D to 1,25(OH)2D.
In the past, humans used to get plenty of Vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, absorbing it through the skin. The sun is the best source of this vitamin. But with the industrial revolution more of us began to spend our workday indoors. Writers are particularly guilty of that! Skin cancer awareness has led many people to overdo sunscreen, leading to deficiency in Vitamin D.
Very few foods naturally contain Vitamin D. You can get it through fortified foods or milk. But when you are as low as I was in the stuff, supplements are the only solution. Being overweight lessens the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin D, too, so for me it was a catch-22 for a while. I had to take enormous doses of the vitamin just to get back to the normal range for it.
But, oh, what a difference it has made in my life! My skin improved. My energy came back. My pains and cramping and tremors disappeared. It was like magic. I encourage you to ask your doctor to test your levels of Vitamin D.