Today we’re going to talk about the interesting relationship between cortisol (stress) and vitamin D. Is it vitamin D that causes low cortisol, or is it the cortisol (either too high or too low) that causes a vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D is required for adrenal hormone production. Not just cortisol, but other adrenal hormones as well. If a person is deficient in vitamin D, then they could also be deficient in certain adrenal hormones. This could set them up for all sorts of problems.
Potential health problems caused by stress:
- Increased risk of cancer
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heart conditions
- Sleep apnea
- Anxiety or depression
- Weight gain
Both vitamin D and cortisol are anti-inflammatories. High cortisol (Cushing’s syndrome) and low cortisol (Addison’s disease) are both related to a vitamin D deficiency.
Cortisol normally suppresses the white blood cells, and vitamin D modulates the immune system—it helps control it. Both vitamin D and cortisol can also potentially help prevent autoimmune diseases.
Another thing to note is that the raw material to make vitamin D and cortisol comes from the same thing: cholesterol.
If a person has any condition that involves cortisol, they may want to take vitamin D to potentially help normalize their cortisol.
Causes of a vitamin D deficiency:
- Lack of vitamin D in the diet
- Lack of sun
- Skin color
- Metabolic syndrome
The more stress you go through, the more you could be deficient in vitamin D. Overall, in my opinion, stress can cause a vitamin D deficiency, and a vitamin D deficiency can make you more stressed, causing a cortisol problem.Dr. Eric Berg DC