We’ve all felt the effects of the days getting shorter and shorter as the seasons shift to winter in the Pacific Northwest. Most generally we aren’t thinking about how this will affect our bodies and energy levels as we continue to do our daily routines, and maybe adding moving snow to the list. The sunrise seems to come later, and the sunsets come earlier as we work diligently and look forward to the new year, but what if there was a way to get ahead of that downturn in our energy? Some recent studies have shown that vitamin D assists in reducing inflammation, and what goes down in the winter? Our vitamin D levels!
You might be thinking at this point, how does this have anything to do with homecare assistance and why should I care about inflammation? Well, our trained caregivers can diligently remind clients to get their recommended amount of vitamin D and encourage movement that will help metabolize any stored vitamin D. Inflammation is the leading cause of most diseases like autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. How do we reduce inflammation in the winter?
Back to the Homecare Assistance Guide!
Vitamin D is known for its regulatory processes for calcium and phosphorus for the healthy mineralization of bone. Throughout recent studies, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, due to our sedentary lifestyles, vitamin D deficiency is common (about 10-40% of the US population is considered deficient).
The Best Ways to Absorb
Vitamin D is best absorbed via the skin, but with the increasing recommendations to reduce time in the sun to avoid harmful UV rays, the next best thing is diet. A diet rich in fatty fish can help increase daily vitamin D intake. Lastly, there is supplementation to boost levels, Vitamin D is best absorbed when paired with fat as it is a fat-soluble vitamin. Having a reminder from one of our trained caregivers to take a vitamin D supplement with a high-fat meal every day can increase blood levels by 32%. Additionally, pairing vitamin K with vitamin D has shown to be helpful with absorption.
Signs of Deficiency and Toxicity
Living in the PNW raises its challenges for vitamin D deficiency, by mere lack of sun exposure in the winter months or a poor diet that doesn’t support absorption.
Signs of Deficiency
- Diseases related to disruptions in the digestion of fat (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, etc.)
- Obesity (vitamin D accumulates in the excess fat)
- Gastric bypass surgery (removes part of the small intestine where vitamin D is absorbed)
Symptoms of Deficiency
- Bone pain or aches
- Feelings of sadness
- Hair loss
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Immune system compromised
- Pale skin
Toxicity from over-supplementation:
- Weight loss
- Irregular heartbeat
- Hardening of blood vessels & tissues
We never recommend starting a supplement without first consulting your regular physician in case it may interact with other medications. If supplementation or diet changes are necessary, we have the best caregivers to provide homecare assistance in meal prepping and medication reminders. Make sure to watch out for the signs of vitamin D deficiency.
For more information on inflammation, see our other blogs here: