Our bodies need vitamin D in order to function properly; many of us get less during the winter. Lack of vitamin D can lead to a variety of symptoms including depression, sleep disturbances, increased aches and pains, and overall just feeling unwell. Long-term low levels can increase risk of cardiovascular issues and bone issues like osteoporosis. Your level, which can be tested with a simple blood test, will provide a number in the format “ng/mL”. Although the “normal” range varies according to who you ask, most doctors will say that anything 12-20 ng/mL is considered deficient. We encourage women to stay above 35-40 ng/mL, and if not, we recommend taking a vitamin D supplement.
You may be asking yourself why a gynecologist cares about your vitamin D levels. We take into consideration many factors that contribute to women’s health and make sure we are thinking about your future health, too. We want to do what we can now to prevent major health issues women face like depression, heart disease, and bone density loss. This means looking at more than just your uterus.
Vitamin D can be obtained through foods like eggs, meats, dairy products, and other fortified foods like breakfast cereals. If your vitamin D levels are just a little low, focusing on better dietary sources may be adequate. But if you are very low/deficient you will need to begin taking a vitamin D supplement in order to bring your levels back up to normal. We may recommend a month or so of a higher dose to stabilize your level followed by a lower daily dose to maintain. For best results, take with a meal that includes healthy fats, as vitamin D requires the presence of fat to be absorbed.