Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin

Doesn’t it feel like we’ve been in the middle of winter for MONTHS now?!?  Because it’ll still be some time before spring and summer arrives, I wanted to write a post on the benefits of vitamin D since it *is* the sunshine vitamin afterall and that’s what we’re all craving the most right now!

Vitamin D has been a regular topic on many media outlets lately, so I wanted to give you a bit of information on what it is, how we get it and why it’s beneficial.

In a study released by Stats Can, only ⅓ of Canadians had blood levels of vitamin D above what was considered sufficient for “optimal health” and 10% of Canadians had blood levels of vitamin D that was considered to be “inadequate”.  Men were more likely than women to have inadequate levels of vitamin D.

Types of Vitamin D

The two main forms of vitamin D are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which are obtained from plants and derived from animal products, respectively.  Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin when there has been exposure to UVB (ultraviolet B) light from the sun.  The plant and animal sources are absorbed in the small intestines with the help of bile, and then transported into circulation.  The vitamin D is then carried to the liver via the bloodstream, where it is converted into 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (calcidiol).  Calcidiol is converted into 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (calcitriol) in the kidneys or in the immune system, and this is the active form of vitamin D.  Vitamin D is stored in the liver, bone, brain and skin.

Calcitriol is important because it:

  • Increases the absorption of calcium from the intestines,
  • Increases the resorption of calcium from the bone, and
  • Increases serum calcium levels, which then allows for the storage of calcium in the bones.

Sources of Vitamin D

  • Sunlight
  • Cod liver oil, cold water fish (including herring, mackerel, salmon)
  • Butter
  • Egg yolks
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Fortified foods

Therapeutic Uses of Vitamin D


Rickets is caused by a vitamin D deficiency during childhood.  Vitamin D deficiency during childhood causes rickets.  This is a condition in which there is a malformation of the bones due to the decreased deposition of calcium phosphate.  Symptoms in young infants include restlessness, poor sleep, and reduced mineralization of the skull away from the sutures.  Symptoms in older children include delayed sitting and crawling, bossing of the skull, and costochondral beading.  Stunted growth, delayed teeth eruption, bow legs or “knock knees”, and enlargement of the epiphyseal growth plants occur, especially in the radius and the ulna.  The fontanelles fail to close, which results in a large head.


Vitamin D deficiency causes osteomalacia, which is a condition that involves skeletal demineralization, particularly in the spine, pelvis and lower extremities.  Symptoms include nervousness, insomnia, burning of the mouth and throat, and diarrhea.


Low levels of vitamin D in adults can cause osteoporosis, which results in decreased bone mass and increases the risk for bone fractures.

Fracture Prevention in the Elderly


Vitamin D has been shown to be protective against colon cancer.  It may also be effective in the treatment of breast cancer.

Cardiovascular Disease

Low levels of vitamin D may be associated with a higher prevalence of diabetes, obesity, high triglycerides and hypertension.


  • Fatigue, weakness, fever, chills, weight loss.
  • Disorientation.
  • Anorexia, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation.
  • Dehydration, increased frequency of urination, kidney dysfunction.


** Please note that this is NOT medical advice and that you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking this supplement


If you’d like to sit down with me to test your vitamin D levels, discuss the benefits of vitamin D for you, and determine which supplement companies are good reputable brands that you can trust, CONTACT ME HERE and we can set up a complimentary 15 min discovery call/meeting to get started.

What’s a discovery call/meeting?  It’s where we get to know each other better to ensure that I’m the right practitioner for you and that you have the opportunity to ask your questions about Naturopathic Medicine before we move forward with an initial Naturopathic consultation.


Here are some more posts on supplements:




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  • Bhan A, Rao AD & Rao DS.  Osteomalacia as a result of vitamin D deficiency.  Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am.  2010 Jun; 39(2): 321-331.
  • Binkley N, Ramamurthy R & Krueger D.  Low vitamin D status: definition, prevalence, consequences, and correction.  Endocrinol etab Clin North Am.  2010 Jun; 39(2): 287-301.
  • Davi G, Santilli F & Patrono C.  Nutraceuticals in diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  Cardivasc Ther.  2010 Aug; 28(4): 216-226.
  • Drechsler C, Pilz S, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Verduijn M, Tomaschitz A, et al.  Vitamin D deficiency is associated with sudden cardiac death, combined cardiovascular events, and mortality in haemodialysis patients.  Eur Heart J.  2010 Aug 5 [Epub].
  • Marz RB.  2002.  Medical Nutrition from Marz (2nd Ed).  Portland, OR: Omni-Press.
  • Mezawa H, Suglura T, Watanabe M, Norizoe C, Takahashi D, et al.  Serum vitamin D levels and survival of patients with colorectal cancer: post-hoc analysis of a prospective cohort study.  MBC Cancer.  2010 Jul 2; 10: 347.
  • Murray MT.  1996.  Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements; The Essential Guide for Improving Your Health Naturally.  New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
  • O’Malley G & Mulkerrin E.  Vitamin D Insufficiency: a common and treatable problem in the Irish population.  Ir J Med Sci.  2010 Aug 9 [Epub].
  • Ooi LL, Zheng Y, Zhou H, Trivedi T, Conigrave AD, Seibel MJ & Dunstan CR.  Vitamin D deficiency promotes growth of MCF-7 human breast cancer in a rodent model of osteosclerotic bone metastasis.  Bone.  2010 Jul 16 [Epub].
  • Vitamin D.  Alt Med Rev.  2008; 13(2): 153-164.
  • Yin L, Grandi N, Raum E, Haug U, Amdt V & Brenner H.  Meta-analysis: serum vitamin D and breast cancer risk.  Eur J Cancer.  2010 Aug; 46(12): 2196-2205.




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