Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
3 min read
Contrary to the name, Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced inside your kidneys. Its role is to control calcium content in your blood and how much your intestines absorb. Your body then distributes that calcium to your bones to make them strong.
There are three major ways to improve your vitamin D levels.
First, you can increase your sun exposure or use a UV lamp. Second, you can eat foods containing vitamins D2 and D3. Finally, you can always take vitamin D supplements if your levels are still too low.
Some foods high in vitamin D include salmon, cheese, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
Hormones are produced by your body's endocrine system. They act as your body's chemical messengers and tell all the different parts of your body what to do and what not to do. If something changes in your body's internal chemistry, it can cause reactions like acne, water retention, or worse.
Even though the endocrine system makes vitamin D, it also relies on it to an extent. Vitamin D attaches to a specific receptor that is found in nearly every cell of the body.
The recommended intake of vitamin D is between 400 and 800 IU per day. However, you can find vitamin D3 sold online that contains as much as 5000 IU in every soft gel or capsule.
It's easy to run low on vitamin D if you aren't eating the right foods or spending enough time outside in the sun. It can cause some serious issues, though.
Low vitamin D means less absorption of calcium by your intestines. That results in lower calcium in your blood, which activates your parathyroid hormones. These hormones can leach calcium out of your bones, potentially weakening them.
In some cases, a vitamin D deficiency can also negatively affect other health conditions.
Despite its status as an important hormone, there is such a thing as too much vitamin D. That's why whenever a doctor prescribes large doses of vitamin D, it's meant to be taken once a week and no more than that. Too much intake leads to vitamin D toxicity. This is when there's a buildup of calcium in your blood. The result can present as nausea, weakness, and frequent urination.
As hard as you may try to get regular sun exposure and eat healthily, some people's bodies may struggle to absorb all the right nutrients. That's where vitamin D supplements come into play.
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