Vitamin D and Your Health

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For Patients

Knowledge is key to making empowered decisions about your health. We’re dedicated to making your health a priority by keeping you informed on how to achieve your optimal well-being. This month, we highlight the importance of Vitamin D to your health and to our practice.

February is already almost over… Not sure about you, but we feel that this winter season has flown by! The winter is such a dynamic time of year: the cold weather changes, busy holiday season, final exams, hurrying to meet end of the year goals and deadlines, New Years resolutions… the list goes on. 

This time of year, it’s not uncommon for things to fall through the cracks, especially when it comes to making time for our health and wellness.

Does this sound like you? You’re not alone! 

If you’re looking for a next step toward improving your health and longevity, we’ve got a question for you:

Have you been getting enough vitamin D this winter? 

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin obtained from sun exposure, foods, and supplementation. It is important for mood, energy, sleep quality, thyroid function, bone health, immune function, inflammation, and more.

Our skin produces vitamin D3 when exposed to UV radiation from sunlight. Depending on where you live, the opportunity to get vitamin D from the sun decreases significantly during the winter months, leaving diet and supplementation the only way to maintain optimal vitamin D levels.

Research suggests that about 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency, while 50% of the population has vitamin D insufficiency. [1]

Vitamin D comes in two main forms: 

  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) – mainly sourced from plant foods and fortified products

  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) – found in animal-sourced foods and is a byproduct of sun exposure

Vitamin D2 and D3 are not created equal. Although both are effectively absorbed into the bloodstream, they are metabolized differently by the liver. The majority of evidence suggests that vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2 in improving vitamin D status and maintaining optimal levels. [23]


Vitamin D and Our Practice:

At the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Cleveland, we specialize in treating craniofacial pain [pain in the head, face, jaw, and neck] and sleep-related breathing disorders [snoring, adult & pediatric OSA, UARS].

Vitamin D plays an important role in our approach to treating our patients.

Vitamin D plays a significant part in bone health, as well as muscle and nerve function, alongside calcium. Existing literature demonstrates a relationship between vitamin D deficiency in patients with temporomandibular disorders (TMD), or more commonly referred to as TMJ. Ensuring optimal vitamin D levels in our patients can help improve pain, muscle strength, physical function, and healing of the TMJ, even in those presenting with osteoarthritis. [456]

There is growing evidence as well that vitamin D plays an important role in sleep regulation. Recent literature is demonstrating an association between vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency and shorter sleep duration, more frequent nighttime awakenings, and an increase in risk for sleep breathing disorders. [78,]


How can you make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D? 


Although dietary sources of the vitamin are rather minimal, foods most rich in vitamin D include fatty fish (such as salmon, swordfish, tuna, trout mackerel, and sardines), cod liver oil, egg yolk, beef, liver, and cheese. Plant foods like mushrooms (exposed to UV light) contain D2. There are also food products on the market that are fortified with both forms of vitamin D, such as certain dairy products and cereals. 

Vitamin D works synergistically with multiple other essential nutrients including magnesium, vitamin K, calcium, zinc, and selenium. Making sure that you have adequate intake of these nutrients can aid in absorption of vitamin D and help with maintaining optimal levels of the vitamin. 

Dietary sources of magnesium include root veggies, (beets, burdock root, sweet potato), leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens), nuts (almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, beans, avocado, fatty fish, dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher). 

Dietary sources of vitamin K include potatoes, winter squash (acorn & butternut), spinach, broccoli, beet greens, avocado, bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, coconut water, tomatoes, dairy milk, almond milk, yogurt, cashews, almonds, chicken, and salmon.

Dietary sources of zinc include shellfish (oysters, crab, lobster), beef, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, eggs, and fortified food products.

Dietary sources of selenium include plant foods, garlic, brazil nuts, fin fish, shellfish, beef, turkey, chicken, liver, beans, lentils, eggs, whole grains, and fortified food products.



Supplementation is often necessary in the winter time to maintain optimal vitamin D levels. When choosing to supplement, it is important to make sure you choose a high quality product because supplements do not require FDA approval before entering the market. To ensure good quality, always read the ingredients list and look for products that have received certifications from third party testing organizations, such as NSF, USP, and GMP certifications.

If you wish to start supplementation, we recommend working with a skilled practitioner to get tested and ensure you are taking a safe supplement at the dosage best for your unique health profile.

In our office, we utilize two methods of testing to asses our patients’ vitamin D status:

  • Serum Blood Test: a standard blood draw with a phlebotomist near you and get results typically within a week

  • Bio-PRF Rapid Test Kit: a novel way to test your vitamin D in office with a simple finger prick and get results within minutes

Additional Resources:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023, September 18). Office of dietary supplements – vitamin D. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. 

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, March 22). Office of dietary supplements – magnesium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.

  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021b, March 22). Office of dietary supplements – vitamin K. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.

  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, October 4). Office of dietary supplements – zinc. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.

  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021b, March 22). Office of dietary supplements – selenium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.