Do you want a tougher immune system, stronger bones, more balanced hormones, and a better mood? What if I told you that all of these could be possible with one simple micronutrient? What if I told you that micronutrient was dirt cheap and in many cases free?
I listened to a podcast this week with Ben Greenfield and Dr. Mercola (click here for the transcript) and it fired me up to do a post on the benefits of vitamin D. This little guy is arguably one of the most important substances that modern folks aren't getting enough of and could be the first step in improving your chances of not getting sick this winter. Allow me to explain.
Vitamin D is naturally synthesized in our skin when it is exposed to UV radiation from the sun. In the modern world, people's direct exposure to sunlight has drastically reduced and there has not been a conscious shift to adequately supplement this essential vitamin. Thus we have seen all time-lows of vitamin D levels and all-time highs in autoimmune diseases, chronic infections, and osteoporosis. These are not unrelated phenomena.
While direct sunlight for 45 minutes per day is the best way to increase your vitamin D, it may not be possible or sufficient for many of us to get high enough levels (especially in the winter and especially for those with darker complexions). This is why I highly recommend supplementing with 8,000 I.U.s of vitamin D daily. Look for D3. It is one of the cheapest supplements on the market.
I want to take a moment to say that vitamin D toxicity is extremely difficult to achieve if you stay below 10,000 I.U.s daily, but there are a few caveats to be aware of to avoid any negative side effects of supplementing and they both have to do with how calcium is absorbed. If you aren't getting sufficient amounts of vitamin K2 (from fermented products, organ meats, or egg yolks), or magnesium, then you may be increasing your risk of excess calcium in the blood, so be sure to eat/supplement K2, and get 400-500mg of magnesium each day.
In a recent study on people sick with COVID-19, it was found that those with blood vitamin D levels (measured as 25-hydroxy vitamin D), of 40 ng/mL or above had the mildest symptoms. Those with levels below 40 ng/mL had much worse symptoms. This test is easy to have your doctor order, but keep in mind that even if you don't get tested the risks of not supplementing vitamin D far outweigh any small negatives of taking it (given good vitamin K2 and magnesium status).
That's all I have for you today. I want to know how many of you know your vitamin D status and how many of you supplement it. Share in the comments section below.