Is Vitamin D a Hormone? (And Why It Matters for Your Health)

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    Vitamin D is one of the many essential hormones that helps your body function and your bones stay strong and healthy.

    What is Vitamin D?

    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.

    Forms of Vitamin D

    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.

    What is a Hormone?

    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.

    Vitamin D and the Endocrine System

    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.

    Vitamin D can help you regulate adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine production in your brain. Vitamin D can also help encourage the production of serotonin.

    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.

    What Happens if You Don't Have Enough Vitamin D?

    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.

    Can You Take Too Much Vitamin D?

    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.

    Try Supplementing Your Diet

    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.

    Care/of provides personalized vitamins, protein, and collagen products for your specific needs. The routine created will help you feel better and improve your overall health. Contact us today and take our online quiz to let us know more about your health concerns.

    You're unique. Your supplements should be too.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Our Editorial Staff
    Freelance Contributor
    The Care/of Editorial Team is made up of writers, experts, and health enthusiasts, all dedicated to giving you the information you need today. Our team is here to answer your biggest wellness questions, read the studies for you, and introduce you to your new favorite product, staying up to date on the latest research, trends, and science. Each article is written by one of our experts, reviewed both for editorial standards by an editor and medical standards by one of our naturopathic doctors, and updated regularly as new information becomes available.