First up...a recent interesting study was published linking Vitamin D deficiency to pelvic floor dysfunction and conversely an increase in Vitamin D supplementation to an increase in continence! View Study Here
Vitamin D for humans is obtained from sun exposure, food and supplements. It is biologically inert and has to undergo two hydroxylation reactions to become active in the body. The active form of vitamin D in the body is called Calcitriol.
Calcitriol promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food in the gut and reabsorption of calcium in the kidneys - this increases the flow of calcium in the bloodstream.
As I reside in England (we didn't have sun this year!) and am part of the African Diaspora, I'm actually in the high risk group for being deficient. Those of us with dark skins living in non-sunny countries are much more likely to be deficient than those with paler skins. So what to do? Well after a lot of thought and research I simply settled on an oral spray to help pep up my levels.
Low Vitamin D levels are also linked with many other metabolic dyfunctions including weight-gain, poor auto-immune function, poor bone health, poor cognitive function and a predisposition to developing cancer, an increased risk of developing Gestational Diabetes and poor muscle function.
Good food sources of Vitamin D: Shitake mushrooms, salmon, sardines, tuna, mackarel, herring, cod liver oil and eggs.
Exposing your unprotected skin to two sessions of 15 minutes of sunlight each week will naturally produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D but if your body cannot produce enough vitamin D because of insufficient sunlight exposure you will need to obtain it from foods or supplements. Experts say that people with a high risk of vitamin D deficiency should consume 25 μg (1000 IU) of vitamin D each day so that there is a good level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the bloodstream. Elderly people, as well as people with dark skin should consume extra vitamin D for good health.
You can easily get a test for Vitamin D if you're worried or in a high risk group. Check out the information from the Vitamin D Council and Dr. Mercola also has a wealth of articles and webinars on the topic too.