Each month we’ll bring you a note from one of our therapists. It might be something they’re reading, learning or just something they want to share.
This month’s note is from Robin Mulvey, PT, DPT, CCVT:
Happy February everyone! As we continue making our way through another winter season in Iowa, many of us (including myself) are dreaming of warmer days to come. We’re missing the sun. More specifically, we’re missing Vitamin D. While most of us know that we need “the sunshine vitamin” to stay healthy, not many people know why it’s so important. So, I’m here to shine some light on the subject. Pun intended.
Vitamin D actually isn’t even a vitamin at all. It’s a hormone; and a powerful one. It helps facilitate many functions throughout our bodies, including regulating bone metabolism (reduces risk of bone fractures), supporting the immune system (fights and prevents infections and even some cancers), and maintaining a healthy gut microbiota. It also helps significantly improve mental health; the sunshine vitamin is nature’s antidepressant.
From a physical therapist’s standpoint, Vitamin D is particularly helpful for our patients working through conditions like chronic pain and vestibular dysfunction. New research is showing that Vitamin D serves a strong anti-inflammatory role in the body, and optimal levels can help decrease pain intensity for better long-term management in chronic pain sufferers. Other new studies are also showing that increasing Vitamin D intake can reduce recurrences of vertigo caused by BPPV. As a certified clinical vestibular therapist, that is super exciting news!
Getting daily sun exposure is the best way to achieve optimal Vitamin D levels, but there are other ways we can supplement while the winter sun isn’t shining. Start by including higher Vitamin D-containing foods in your meals, such as salmon, tuna, trout, egg yolks, mushrooms, and plain yogurt or kefir. Cod liver oil or a combined D3/K2 supplement can also be helpful, and there’s even special UVB lights on the market if you’re really feeling fancy. Here at Core, we strive to help you optimize your health on a holistic, whole-body level. Ask your Core PT if you’re interested in learning more!