Vitamin D3 is the most effective form of vitamin D. Nearly 75% of U.S. teens and adults are deficient in this vital vitamin.
Vitamin D3 (cholecaciferol) can be found in foods such as fatty fish, liver, eggs and enriched breakfast cereals – but our primary source is when it is synthesized by the body upon exposure to sunlight. Melanin in darker skin blocks the formation of vitamin D3 so those with dark skin must be in the sun longer to synthesize the same amount. Especially in winter months when sunlight is limited in northern regions, up to 50% of people can test low in vitamin D3, giving us one reason why a supplement is so important.
Vitamin D3 plays a large part in ensuring proper calcium absorption and bone mineralization. Vitamin D3 is actually a part of the D prohormone group, which supports and increases the effects of other hormones in the body. When we look at D3 as a hormone rather than just as a vitamin, we see that it impacts our entire endocrine system and affects almost every aspect of the body.
Vitamin D3 deficiency is often the underlying cause behind sleep problems and headaches, two common health complaints.
The Link Between Disrupted Sleep and Vitamin D3 Deficiency
Vitamin D3 interacts with the intra-nuclear receptors to affect changes in many cell types, including those in the gut, bone, breast, prostate, brain, muscle and immune system. Vitamin D3 has been linked to non-specific body pain and inflammation, and studies have shown that the regions of the brain associated with the sleep-wake regulation are impacted by vitamin D deficiency. Dopamine and serotonin functions can be negatively impacted when we are vitamin D3 deficient. D3 deficiency has also been linked to increased rates of obstructive sleep apnea, which severely disrupts sleep.
The Connection Between Frequency of Headaches and Vitamin D3 Deficiency
Studies have shown a positive correlation between D3 deficiency and frequency of headaches and migraine headaches, though there does not seem to be much impact on the severity of headache and migraine pain. Vitamin D3 is thought to impact the frequency of headaches and migraines because it increases inflammation throughout the body, which impacts blood pressure, muscular skeletal tension and, especially in women, increases the incident of hormone-based headache and migraine. Proper metabolism of magnesium is also linked to vitamin D3, which may be another reason D3 deficiency may result in a higher incident of headaches and migraines.
Vitamin D3 and Hormones
When we view vitamin D3 as a hormone, we begin to see how important this compound is in the body. D3 is a vital component in regulating other body hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, thyroid and parathyroid hormones, as well as the proper absorption of other vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium and vitamins E and B. Getting enough vitamin D3 is a simple but important part of maintaining good health.
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