Vitamin D, or 25-hydroxyvitamin D, is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb essential nutrients like calcium and phosphorus, strengthen your immune system, and maintain good cellular health.1
With imaware's Vitamin D Monitoring test, you'll know if low vitamin D is a problem and whether your efforts to increase it are working.
Low vitamin D
Calcium and phosphorus are two nutrients that are essential to healthy bones, teeth and muscles. When you are vitamin D deficient, your body can't absorb enough of those nutrients, which can cause problems. Brittle bone conditions like rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis are some severe repercussions of vitamin D deficiency.2 If you are vitamin D deficient, you may also have a weakened immune system and a higher infection rate.3
Upping your intake
There are two primary forms of vitamin D: vitamin D2 and D3. The main difference between them is how they are sourced.
You can find vitamin D2 in certain mushrooms and fortified foods. Mushrooms contain yeast sterol ergosterol, so when exposed to UV light, they produce vitamin D2.4 However, this won't apply to all mushrooms, as many grow in dark conditions. Aside from mushrooms, vitamin D2 is in certain specially-fortified products like milk, plant-based dairy alternatives, orange juice and breakfast cereals.5
Vitamin D3 is easier to naturally source — you can even get it from the sun. This is because when your skin comes in direct contact with sunlight, your body naturally produces vitamin D3.6 Too much sun exposure can have negative consequences, so follow sun safety guidelines if you're using the sun to get more vitamin D3.
Besides the sun, you can find vitamin D3 in certain foods like fatty fish, fish liver oils, beef liver and egg yolks.7
Most foods do not contain enough vitamin D to meet your body’s requirements, and sunlight has its drawbacks if you are not careful. The best alternative is to consider vitamin D supplements, but take them with precaution just as you should with any other vitamin or supplement. When finding the right supplement for you, search for supplements containing ergocalciferol if you want vitamin D2 or cholecalciferol for vitamin D3.8
Vitamin D deficiency may not seem like a big deal, but it can seriously impact your health. Luckily, there are easy ways to up your vitamin D intake. If you are vitamin D deficient, try getting some time in the sunshine, eating more fish or researching vitamin D supplements.