When was the last time that your Vitamin D was tested?
In this article, I'm going to tell you about a new study relating to vitamin D levels during pregnancy, as well as the key actions of vitamin D for optimal health and to help support disease, interesting facts and the main sources of vitamin D.
Vitamin D during pregnancy – new study
A new study indicates that Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy is associated with a higher incidence of autism. This study examined whether vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder in childhood. The study involved a large group; 4,429 mothers and their children. It showed that children of vitamin D deficient mothers had significantly higher autism-related signs at 6 years as measured by Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) scores. This suggests that Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is associated with autism-related traits in childhood.
Many research studies write about the importance of vitamin D for brain development. So, if you are trying to conceive or if you are currently pregnant, get your vitamin D tested! It’s an easy and quick blood test.
Optimal level and supplementation
An optimal level vitamin D level should be around 110-120 nmol/L. This level would be optimal for fertililty as well as for various disease conditions. It is a required amount to maintain health at a cellular level. Make sure when you supplement with vitamin D that you take it with meals as it’s a fat-soluble vitamin and needs fat in food to be absorbed efficiently. Vitamin D3 is the preferred form of vitamin D supplementation, and has been shown to be more effective than vitamin D2 in raising the vitamin D levels in your blood. Most of the supplements are available in the D3 form.
Key actions of vitamin D in your body
- Increases gut absorption of calcium playing an important role in remineralisation and healthy bone density
- Reduces opportunistic bacteria and increases bacterial diversity in the gut
- Regulates composition and function of the bacterial community in the gut
- Regulates tight juncture structure in the gut so plays an important role in treatment for leaky gut
- Helps relieve atopic eczema by regulating the immune system and reducing inflammation
- Supports cognitive health – deficiency in vitamin D may result in neuronal degeneration and has been associated with cognitive decline and degenerative brain disease in the elderly
- It is a potent immune regulator and supports autoimmune disease. A study from Science Daily: “Professor Richard Mellanby, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Inflammation Research, said: “Low vitamin D status has long being implicated as a significant risk factor for the development of several autoimmune diseases”.
- Important nutrient in supporting fertility – it influences the production and development of sperm cells in men, egg cell and uterine lining growth in women, and sex hormone production in both male and female.
Interesting facts about vitamin D
- If you have a higher BMI, if your weight is above your normal weight, your dosage need will increase
- As we get older our ability to metabolise vitamin D declines which means that elderly may need higher doses for a longer period.
- People with lighter skin pigmentation achieve optimal vitamin D levels with supplementation quicker compared to people with darker skin pigmentation
- Poor gut health has an impact on your absorption and metabolism of vitamin D. If you have inflammatory bowel disease your dosage needs, and duration of supplementation will be higher compared to a person with minimal gut issues.
- Magnesium is involved with vitamin D absorption and metabolism and it is therefore important to ensure that your magnesium intake is optimal. Calcium, vitamin K2 and Zinc are also necessary nutrients involved with vitamin D metabolism.
- Acts as a hormone in the regulation and metabolism of its actions
Sources of vitamin D
The preferred source for general health support is the sun however ensure that it is safe sun exposure, around 15 minutes on uncovered skin early morning and late afternoon. Due to weather circumstances and location, some people will experience less sun exposure than what is needed for optimal vitamin D status. We are also more careful of the sun due to the ozone layer being damaged and concern of skin cancers.
Supplementation would therefore be the better option especially if your levels are low.
Here's a list of food that contains vitamin D:
- Egg Yolk
The D3 form is present in these foods and data shows that the highest value is found in fish.
In summary, vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that we need for optimal health and to support a variety of diseases. Research about the importance of vitamin D has increased over 900% over the past few decades and in 2019 there had been 4000 research papers on vitamin D.
Have your vitamin D tested now – reach out to enquire via my Contact page.
Vinkhuyzen AAE, Eyles DW, Burne THJ, et al. Gestational vitamin D deficiency and autism related traits: The Generation R Study. Mol Psychiatry. 2018;23(2):240–246.
Vitamin D supplements could improve fertility, European Society of Endocrinology, 2017. European Society of Endocrinology. “Vitamin D supplements could improve fertility.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2017.
The University of Edinburgh. “Vitamin D study sheds light on immune system effects.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2019.