What the Heck Does Vitamin D Have to Do with Energy?
Vitamin D is an excellent supplement for enhancing energy levels and significantly improves several functions of the body. A deficiency in vitamin D could result in a multitude of health issues and diminished energy levels.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone that can be found in foods (including fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, and fortified cereals but it can also be effectively boosted with vitamin D3 supplements). Vitamin D is also produced by our skin after exposure to UVB light. Vitamin D’s most notable function is to facilitate intestinal absorption of calcium and mineral homeostasis. Vitamin D also affects cell proliferation and differentiation, regulation of the innate and adaptative immune systems, prevention of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, and it even has antiaging effects.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is a global issue which is prevalent in underserved populations, folks in northern latitudes, people with darker skin tones, children under five, elderly people, obese individuals, and pregnant or lactating women. Also, vitamin D deficiency is common in areas with a high degree of sunshine (this seems counter-intuitive but think about all that sunblock).
While vitamin D has a well-established association with bone growth and formation, and most people know a deficiency can lead to rickets, vitamin D’s role in other health issues is still being discovered. Recent studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to metabolic syndrome, muscle pain, and even type 2 diabetes. There is also evidence linking optimal vitamin D levels to improved energy levels.
Vitamin D Influences Energy Production
Vitamin D is responsible for making our muscles work efficiently and boosting energy levels. A recent study found that the function of muscles improves with the intake of vitamin D supplements, which enhances the activity of mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. Alongside poor bone health, muscle fatigue is a common symptom in vitamin D deficient patients. Muscle fatigue could be due to reduced efficiency of the mitochondria.
How do Mitochondria Produce Energy?
Mitochondria, which evolved from bacteria, use a combination of oxygen and glucose to generate energy by releasing an energy-rich molecule known as ATP. Muscle cells require high amounts of ATP for movement. Mitochondria utilize phosphocreatine as a ready-to-use source of energy to generate ATP.
Mitochondria also replenish phosphocreatine stores after muscle contraction. A measure of mitochondrial efficiency is the time required to replenish phosphocreatine stores. This study demonstrated that vitamin D helps mitochondria function more efficiently in skeletal muscles.
Significance of Taking Vitamin D to Improve Other Bodily Functions:
Vitamin D not only plays a vital role in enhancing energy levels but also improves other functions of the body. Also, with enhanced energy comes enhanced wellbeing.
1. Immune system
Optimal vitamin D levels are required to maintain a healthy immune system. Vitamin D plays a role in regulating the immune system and proves beneficial in fighting off viral and bacterial illnesses. Increasing your vitamin D levels could enhance your energy and improve the function of your immune system.
If you are feeling tired and fatigued despite getting adequate sleep at night, vitamin D deficiency could be to blame. Consider taking the recommended dose of vitamin D per day to increase your energy and wellbeing.
Several academic and scientific studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with depression. Increasing vitamin D levels can result in increased energy as well as reduced symptoms of depression.
I experienced this firsthand when I was diagnosed with low vitamin D and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I was chronically ill for years prior to being diagnosed. During that time, I regularly experienced chronic pain, insomnia, fatigue, depression, acne, upper respiratory infections, trouble concentrating, severe inflammation, and migraines, among other symptoms. Although I thought most of my symptoms were from the autoimmune disease, I later discovered low vitamin D is correlated with acne, cognitive impairment, depression, fibromyalgia, respiratory infections, and others.
As you can see, many of my symptoms could be attributed to low vitamin D. According to the Vitamin D Council and the Endocrine Society, for optimum health your vitamin D level should be between 50-100 ng/ml. Mine was in the low 30s. In addition, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a chronic disease which was also contributing to my depression. Once I raised my vitamin D level and controlled my autoimmune disease, the depression became manageable with self-care and exercise.
As you can see, having an optimal vitamin D level is crucial to your health and well-being. If you suspect your vitamin D level is low, talk to your doctor about the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test, which is abbreviated 25(OH)D.
If you need additional help improving your energy level, download my free guide, Endless Energy In 3 Simple Steps here.
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