OK if you’re here thinking whatever, Leigh tell me which Viatamin D you use, then here you go: https://amzn.to/3ntXzpY (affiliate).
If you want to know why I supplement Vitamin D and why I recommend it to all my HashiGirls, I’ll tell you if you keep on reading…
Almost half the population of the US is deficient in Vitamin D and Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to osteoporosis, higher risks of heart disease, blood sugar issues such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, dementia, and cancer.
My doctor prescribes it to all her Hashi’s patients because most of her Hashi’s patients have low levels. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb phosphorus and calcium and can also help treat depression. For HashiGirls and anyone with an autoimmune disease, “leaky gut” is always an issue. This means we can really miss out on some of our most important nutrients.
A Vitamin D test is a routine blood test that it is absolutely OK for you to ask your doctor for. If you’re having trouble working up the nerve to ask, just remember you are the one living in your body. It is YOUR JOB to advocate for yourself and it is THEIR JOB to listen and help. Testing at least every 6 months is ideal. You could always check every 3 months if that is when your routine bloodwork comes up. Just make Vitamin D a part of that “routine”. I also want to stress how important it is to test during the winder months. You may be doing great all summer as you lounge by the pool for hours each day, but them become deficient in the winter months and require supplementation.
New evidence shows that “Vitamin D supplementation reduces thyroid peroxidase antibody levels in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease.” (3). Lowering our antibodies preserves our thyroid and can alleviate many autoimmune symptoms.
In fact, you can find loads of research supporting the case for supplementing Vitamin D when you’ve got Hashi’s:
“Vitamin D deficiency is frequent in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and treatment of patients with this condition with Vitamin D may slow down the course of development of hypothyroidism and also decrease cardiovascular risks in these patients. Vitamin D measurement and replacement may be critical in these patients.”(1)
How can you get more Vitamin D?
Go Outside! Our bodies have a special type of cholesterol in our skin that when exposed to UV-B light turns into Vitamin D. Sun derived Vitamin D can circulate in the blood for twice as long (2). If you have darker skin color (ie more melanin) your Vitamin D production can actually be hindered and you may need to supplement more aggressively. Older women also have less efficient Vitamin D production and could benefit from oral supplementation.
If you live closer to the equator you’ll produce more Vitamin D year-round, but the further away you live the more you may have to rely on dietary intake and oral supplementation.
So get outside and take a walk. A short walk without sunscreen for fair-skinned people can be safe and increase your Vitamin D production. Sunscreen will effectively block UV-B rays, so go a bit without before you slather up if you’re going to be out by the pool all day.
If you live in a place that is dreary or overcast most of the year then get a UV lamp to hang out with. We talked about Vitamin D helping with depression treatment, but it can also just boost your daily mood. If you’ve never heard of Season Effective Disorder (S.A.D.) it is more common in the winter months when people are less exposed to the sun. Of note, the UV-less lights that are commonly sold are really helpful for some people suffering from S.A.D. but there isn’t any evidence of them boosting Vitamin D levels because there just isn’t any UV-B rays.
Eat Mushrooms, Fatty Fish, Egg Yolks, Cod Liver Oil. These foods have significant sources of Vitamin D. If you are against supplementing for some reason coupling these foods as part of a lifestyle where you get plenty of natural sunlight may do the trick for you. If you’re a HashiGirl like me, I could eat an entire mountain of mushrooms and still not reach my optimum Vitamin D levels, even with my daily outdoor walks!
There are also foods that are fortified with Vitamin D. I know I’ve seen orange juice and dairy products with Vitamin D added. I am usually a little skeptical about this. Usually, when adding vitamins and “nutrients” they are added to foods that may actually be not that healthy already in their natural state. I wouldn’t tell you to drink gallons of OJ to meet your Vitamin D needs, because that would also be LOADS of sugar. With dairy, many HashiGirls don’t actually tolerate dairy all that well. If they’re not allergic, they may be sensitive to it and dairy can contribute to inflammation and leaky gut.
Mushrooms, Fatty Fish, Egg Yolks, and Cod Liver Oil are all great foods (if you tolerate eggs without sensitivity or don’t have seafood allergies) to include in a healthy diet high in Vitamin D in their natural state. My only concern is that if you are truly deficient (like most of us), this will take a really long time to get you back up to speed. Think: truckloads of these foods just to climb our of the deficiency hole. Luckily there is a complementary strategy to diet changes…
Supplement. I love supplements in the sense that they can really plug some holes for you. I do not advocate that you can supplement yourself out of a terrible lifestyle or an awful diet. There are no magic pills, but when you find a supplement that fills a gap—take it!
Are some supplements incredibly expensive—yep. Are all of them worth it? I’d say no. I’ve had HashiGirls in my Thriving Through Hashimoto’s 12 Week intensive course, who were spending literally hundreds of dollars each month on supplements and terrified to get off of them because they we’re sure exactly what was helping and what wasn’t. This is why I prefer, when possible, using singular supplements. Then you can track which ones make a difference.
This is the Vitamin D supplement I use https://amzn.to/3ntXzpY (affiliate) but here’s the thing, could you do all 3 options to increase your Vitamin D? YES! In fact you really might should if you’re deficient.
Starting a Vitamin D regimen is one of the first things I do with my HashiGirls because it makes a noticeable difference quickly.
So grab a supplement, get outside and take a walk in the sunshine, and start finding ways to include some Vitamin D-elicious foods into your diet and get ready to feel better.
(1)Ucan B, Sahin M, Sayki Arslan M, Colak Bozkurt N, Kizilgul M, Güngünes A, Cakal E, Ozbek M. Vitamin D Treatment in Patients with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis may Decrease the Development of Hypothyroidism. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2016 Feb;86(1-2):9-17. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000269. Epub 2017 Jul 12. PMID: 28697689.
(2)Nair R, Maseeh A. Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012 Apr;3(2):118-26. doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.95506. PMID: 22629085; PMCID: PMC3356951.
(3)Chaudhary S, Dutta D, Kumar M, Saha S, Mondal SA, Kumar A, Mukhopadhyay S. Vitamin D supplementation reduces thyroid peroxidase antibody levels in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease: An open-labeled randomized controlled trial. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2016 May-Jun;20(3):391-8. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.179997. PMID: 27186560; PMCID: PMC4855971.