By Dr. Andrea Wick EBS Health Columnist

More than half of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is especially important for people who live in areas where there is a lower angle from the sun in the winter, such as Montana.

Vitamin D helps bolster the immune system. A 2017 study published in the British Medical Journal found that vitamin D deficiency may be the underlying cause for influenza. This study found that vitamin D reduces the incidence of common respiratory infections, and that vitamin D supplementation could in fact prevent 3.25 million cases of the cold and flu each year. The outcome of a 2010 study resulted in a 42 percent reduction in the number of children contracting influenza A when receiving 1,200 IUs of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine” vitamin. Montana has had one of the highest rates of suicide in the United State for more than 50 years. Studies have shown that people who develop depression often have low levels of vitamin D in their system.

Another 2018 study in the Journal of Anesthesia Essays and Researches found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with musculoskeletal and bone pain, specifically in the lower back. The severity of pain increased as amounts of vitamin D in the bloodstream decreased.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include feelings of depression, being overweight, headaches, gut and digestive issues, bone aches, and head sweats.

Pregnant woman are encouraged to take 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily. This amount of vitamin D is found to prevent child birth defects, preterm labor and preeclampsia, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Children need 400-600 IUs daily, whereas adolescents need 2,000 IUs daily. Normal vitamin D levels decrease the rate of bone fractures and rickets among kids.

Food sources for vitamin D include egg yolks, fish, and raw milk. I usually recommend goat milk because it contains less lactose and casein than cow’s milk, making it easier for people who are lactose intolerant to digest.

Supplements are another option. I recommend vitamin K2 in combination with vitamin D. Vitamin K2 is important in helping the body metabolize calcium, an important mineral in your bones and teeth.

Another option for people who have difficulty absorbing nutrients is an intravenous vitamin D injection. The injection lasts for two-to-three months and no other supplementation is needed.

Dr. Carlye Luft N.D. will be offering a vitamin D injection walk-in clinic at Healing Hands Chiropractic on Friday, Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon; and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors. Her practice, Healing Hands Chiropractic, is located in the Meadow Village Center. Visit drandreawick.com to learn more.