• Quote of the Day
    "Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers."
    Veronica A. Shoffstall, After a While (1971), posted by David Baxter

David Baxter

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Vitamin D: Daytime Energy the Old Fashioned Way
by Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., Psychology Today
January 20, 2011

What can one vitamin really do for your energy levels?

Once again I love it when a mystery is revealed, or at least partially explained.

I was reading a case study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and it helped confirm a hypothesis I have had for a while about the importance of vitamins to your sleep.

Look at the Busy B?s:


Did you know that Vitamin B can help regulate the use of tryptophan?
  • B3: Has been shown to increase REM sleep, help with depression in some cases and a decrease in nighttime awakenings.
  • B6: is essential in the production of serotonin, the ?calming? hormone that helps calm the body before falling asleep.
  • Folic Acid: deficiency in folic acid deficient can be found in those with insomnia
  • Important Minerals: Calcium and Magnesium, taken in a 2:1 ratio, can be helpful for sleep
  • Calcium: is a natural relaxant which has a calming effect on the nervous system. 500 mg daily can be helpful (soda can actually strip away calcium).
  • Magnesium: is a mineral that appears to help assist chronic sleep problems as well. It should be taken 250 mg daily with 500 mg. of calcium.
But a recent case study has shown that a patient with severe sleepiness, and a vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation improved daytime sleepiness dramatically:
  • The patient was a 28 year old female. She was suffering for about 4 months with excessive sleepiness. Her symptoms started slowly and continued to progress.
  • She kept a standard bedtime between 10 and 11 pm, and she reported falling asleep within minutes. She would wake at 7:30 am and reported that she did not think that she was sleeping poorly. She would get her kids ready for school and then be back in bed by 8am until noon. She would then nap from 4 pm to 7 pm. She reported about 14 hours of sleep per day.
  • Her sleep study showed no signs of sleep apnea or other sleep disorder. During her clinic visit she showed no signs of narcolepsy, depression or anxiety. Her next day nap study was unremarkable.
  • She reported muscle fatigue and pain, as well as headaches, her labwork showed a thyroid in the low but normal range and she had low levels of vitamin D.
She was started on a Vitamin D supplementation at 50,000 units once per week (IV) and within 2 weeks she started to see a decrease in her sleepiness and fatigue.

Vitamin D is actually considered a fat soluble hormone that can be received in foods (dietary sources and fish) or is self-manufactured by the skin after exposure to UVB light.

A Vitamin D deficiency has been noticed as a global issue and recently found in underserved populations, patients in northern latitudes, people with darker skin tones, the elderly, obese and pregnant or lactating women. Also very common in areas with a high degree of sunshine (this seems counter-intuitive, but think about all that sunblock!). Recent studies have linked Vitamin D deficiency to metabolic syndrome, muscle pain, and even type 2 diabetes.

So why do we think it helped her sleepiness? It is really hard to say, but I have seen this in some of my patients. It could be linked to a decrease in sleep disturbing pain. Or Vitamin D may be something that will help decrease a person?s drive for sleep. Only more research in this exciting new area can tell us.

Check with your doctor about vitamin supplementation. We all work hard, and eating right isn?t always easy - and even when we do, we may not get what we need from the food we eat. Our bodies actually make vitamin D, but we have to get enough sunlight to make that happen effectively.
 

Daniel

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Many people suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. This can result in brittle bones and an increased risk of respiratory diseases. Chicken eggs are a natural source of vitamin D and one way to, at least partially, compensate for this deficiency. A team of nutritionists and agricultural scientists has found a new way to further increase the vitamin D content of eggs: by exposing chickens to UV light.
 
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Daniel

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One study found that 100 grams of wild-caught salmon had 500–1000 IU vitamin D, while farmed salmon (the most widely consumed fish in the US) contained only 100-250 IU per 100 grams...

Choose free-range or pasture-raised eggs as they have three-four times more vitamin D than conventional eggs because the chickens have greater exposure to sunlight. On average, yolks from indoor eggs only contain about 152 IU per 100 grams versus 572 IU per 100 g from outdoor eggs...

Fortified plant milk or cow's milk is one of the most common ways to get vitamin D through food, since we usually drink this on a daily basis," said nutritionist Katey Davidson, MScFN, RD. "Plus, soy milk and cow's milk are both great sources of protein...

Several types of orange juice are also fortified with vitamin D and calcium...

"Mushrooms are rich in ergosterol (a Vitamin D precursor) which converts to provitamin D2. The enzymes in our body then convert this into the active form of Vitamin D, " explained triple-board-certified physician Monisha Bhanote, MD, FASCP, FCAP.
 
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David Baxter

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You do need to be careful with vitamin D supplements, though.


Vitamin D toxicity is usually caused by large doses of vitamin D supplements — not by diet or sun exposure. That's because your body regulates the amount of vitamin D produced by sun exposure, and even fortified foods don't contain large amounts of vitamin D.

The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. Vitamin D toxicity might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones.


Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining your overall health.

It’s necessary for the growth and development of your muscle cells, proper functioning of the innate and adaptive immune system, maintenance of the health of your skeletal system, and more (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).

This is why insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D may increase your risk of disease and infection, bone demineralization, and many other negative health outcomes (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common. In fact, up to 40% of U.S. adults are considered to have insufficient levels (not enough) of vitamin D, while around 6% are considered deficient in vitamin D. Worldwide, vitamin D deficiency affects around 1 billion people (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

Factors that increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency include (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source):
  • skin color
  • where you live
  • your ability to absorb vitamin D
  • sun exposure
  • medical conditions
  • body weight
Because vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are common, many people use vitamin D supplements to maintain healthy vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D supplements are considered very safe, and toxicity is uncommon. This is because a healthy person would need to take extremely large doses of vitamin D over time in order to reach toxic or dangerous levels in the body (5Trusted Source).

However, vitamin D toxicity is more common in people with certain medical conditions. These include (5Trusted Source):
  • granulomatous disorders
  • congenital disorders
  • some lymphomas
  • dysregulated vitamin D metabolism
Although uncommon, vitamin D toxicity can occur, especially in cases of:
  • accidental overdose
  • prescription errors
  • misuse of high-dose vitamin D supplements

Vitamin D toxicity is rare, but it does occur with extremely high doses. It usually develops over time, since extra vitamin D can build up in the body. Nearly all vitamin D overdoses result from taking high amounts of vitamin D supplements. It's almost impossible to get too much vitamin D from sunlight or food.
 

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