For those who use cannabis, some find it quite effective for treating anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, but could vitamin D be something to add to your arsenal?
Everyone and their mother seem to be taking back that D this time of year. And not just any D, but one that promises to lift up your spirits and make you feel a little more complete.
And it’s no wonder. With us being at the climax of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), we’re all looking for ways to lift up our spirits, sense of self and to motivate us to keep on keeping on. For those who use cannabis, some find it quite effective for treating anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, but could the D in which we speak, namely vitamin D, be something to add to your arsenal?
Over the holidays, a friend of mine gifted me with a container of certified organic, dairy free, soy free, gluten free, vegan, non GMO, locally made vitamin D pills by a Toronto based company, Well Told Health, that she swears by.
I started popping a pill every morning so I can rise and shine with a smile on my dimpled face, but realized I didn’t even know if I was taking the right dosage, if it interferes with any other meds and supplements I’m on, and what it’s actually doing for me and my psyche in the grand scheme of things.
And so, I did what any curious consumer would do – I casually reached out to Monica Ruffo, founder and CEO of Well Told Health directly, to get all the deets on the little pill that could, directly from the source. Here’s what I asked and what she had to say:
What exactly is vitamin D?
You may not know that vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all. It’s a hormone that our body makes in relation to the sun; and “vitamin D” or “D hormone” regulates not only mood, but skin, teeth, bone and overall health.
Why was it named vitamin D?
It was named “vitamin D” in the 1920’s when they were going about naming all the vitamins they were discovering and didn’t know any better and the name stuck. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a whole host of health issues. Here in Toronto, Dr. Pam Goodwin, Director of the Marvelle Koffler Brest Cancer Center at Mount Sinai, published very talked-about research she did on the link between vitamin D deficiency and breast cancer. You can see it here.
Why did you decide to create your own vitamin D capsules when there are already so many on the market?
98% of vitamin D supplements are made from hormones that are harvested from sheep. Yup. So as health nuts and animal lovers we set out to create a plant-based Vitamin D that is just as effective but without any sheep hormone… and we did! It turns out that when you take a Portobello mushroom and turn its gills to the sun, it produces vitamin D much like humans and sheep do! Who knew!
Tell me about the vitamin D you’ve created.
This form of vitamin D is just as effective for us humans –you can see all the research on our website. We are proud to say that our unique vitamin D booster is crafted solely from specially grown Portobello mushrooms with some spinach and quinoa to help with absorption. Nothing else.
What are the biggest misconceptions about vitamin D?
We wrongfully think that we don’t need vitamin D in the summer, but if you work indoors or never go out without sunscreen your vitamin D levels will be low year-round.
What’s the recommended dosage?
Vitamin D is actually a tricky thing: because it is a hormone, individual needs vary greatly because our body’s ability to make vitamin D vary greatly. The best thing to do is have your doctor measure your vitamin D in the winter and the summer and recommend the appropriate dose for each season. Personally, I take 5,000iUs daily. Vitamin D fabrication is not something my body is terribly good at unfortunately. That being said, Health Canada allows no more than 1,000 IU in each capsule dose (in contrast the FDA allows up to 5,000IUs in a single dose). So many people have to take more than one capsule to get enough.
Any educational tidbits you want to add that readers should be aware of?
Unfortunately, vitamin D is not something you can get in adequate doses other than form the sun or supplements. Once you understand that it is a hormone, it is easy to understand why. Dairy products are often “fortified” with vitamin D which just means that they have added a supplement to them. Liver is also good for vitamin D because the hormone is concentrate in an animal’s liver if that’s something you care to eat. But if you really want to get the proper therapeutic dose, you really should get the blood test and then take a predictable dose in the form of a supplement.