Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D and Getting It in the Right Form?

Kristie Leong M.D.
5 min readJun 1, 2020
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Are you getting enough vitamin D and are you getting it in the best form to maximize its benefits?

Vitamin D plays a number of key roles in human health. Although it’s called a vitamin, vitamin D behaves more like a hormone by affecting proteins that control bone build-up and breakdown and immune cells that regulate your immune system.

Vitamin D is an immune modulator, meaning it boosts the immune system’s ability to fight off foreign invaders like viruses but also helps calm an overactive immune system that leads to inflammation.

Low Vitamin D and Disease Risk

Why should we be concerned about vitamin D? Low vitamin D levels have been linked with a number of health problems including autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, muscle fatigue and pain, depression, heart disease, obesity, and, possibly, some types of cancer.

However, research is still preliminary and only shows an association between vitamin D and such conditions. It doesn’t necessarily mean that low vitamin D causes these problems or that taking a supplement prevents them. There could be some other factors common to people low in vitamin D.

It’s not clear yet whether low vitamin D increases the risk of any disease, as the results of studies are inconsistent, and we can’t say for sure whether taking a vitamin D supplement prevents certain health problems, but it’s clear that you need a certain amount of vitamin D in your system for good health. You don’t want to be deficient!

Can You Get Enough Sunlight to Maintain a Healthy Vitamin D Level?

Unfortunately, a significant number of people have low or borderline-low levels of vitamin D, particularly older people and folks who live in Northern latitudes and those who aren’t exposed to daily sunlight. Why do so many people have a sub-optimal vitamin D level? One factor is sunlight or the lack of sun exposure.

When sunlight hits your skin, it converts vitamin D precursors on your skin to a form that can be further activated by your liver and kidneys. That’s why experts recommend exposing your skin to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes several days each…

Kristie Leong M.D.

Family physician who believes proper nutrition for optimal health & disease prevention.