A Key Supplement Especially for Those Who Live in Colder Climates or Work Indoors.
By Dr. Robin Rose
- Crucial for your immune function: Studies show that people with Vitamin D deficiency are 11 times more likely to contract a cold or the flu.
- Critical for strengthening your bones: Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium leading to proper bone formation. As we age, we are prone to fractures and osteoporosis. Studies show that post-menopausal women and older men supplementing with vitamin D and calcium have a reduced risk of fractures.
- Reduces your risk of cancer: Vitamin D is associated with lowering your chances of developing various forms of cancer, including breast and colon.
- Improves lean muscle mass and strength: Studies show that having higher levels of the active form of vitamin D (which your body makes when your skin is exposed to sunlight) in your bloodstream has been linked to increased muscle strength and lean muscle mass in women.</strong> There are ongoing studies to show this benefit in men.
- It may lower your risk of diabetes: Studies show that those with higher blood serum levels of vitamin D have a lower risk (upwards of to 33%) of developing insulin resistance (prediabetes) and type 2 diabetes compared to those with lower levels of the nutrient.
- Promotes healthy pregnancy: Women that have adequate levels of vitamin D have a higher likelihood of conceiving. Higher levels of Vitamin D prior to conception were also associated with reduced pregnancy loss.
Reduces your risk of developing autoimmune disease: Having higher levels of Vitamin D may decrease the risk of developing autoimmune disease. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to the development and predicting the manifestation of several autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and systemic lupus erythematosus. Inadequate levels Vitamin D levels have also been shown to facilitate progression of existing autoimmune disease.Having adequate vitamin D levels is crucial for optimal immune function and this CANNOT be achieved without supplementation during the winter months. Studies show that people with Vitamin D deficiency are 11 times more likely to contract a cold or the flu. Supplementing with Vitamin D can reduce colds and flu by 42%. The interactions between viral infections and vitamin D appear to be more complex as more and more research continues to elucidate this phenomena. Vitamin D appears to induce a transient antiviral state through its regulation of the immune system. Studies demonstrate that Vitamin D has direct antiviral effects particularly against enveloped viruses (i.e influenza). Many adults need 5,000 IU (international units) or more of Vitamin D3 (the form best absorbed) daily during the winter months. It is best to get your levels of 25-OH Vitamin D checked for accurate dosing. Many need 5,000 IU or more of vitamin D3 a day in the winter. Without prior blood testing, we recommend starting with 2,000 IU for adults, 1,000 IU for children. In order for this intervention to be effective, it is important that you have been taking this supplement continually before the respiratory tract infection ensues.
A few more caveats: First you may see that some Vitamin D supplements are also made with Vitamin K1/K2. This is because when it comes to calcium metabolism, Vitamins D and K work synergistically, and both have important roles. Vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium from the food we eat. When calcium intake is low, Vitamin D maintains its blood levels by drawing on the body’s main calcium supply- your bones. So what does Vitamin K do? Since Vitamin D does not fully control where the calcium in your body goes, Vitamin K steps in and regulates calcium in two ways: by promoting bone calcification so that it properly accumulates in your bones and teeth, and by preventing calcium from accumulating in your soft tissues, such as the kidneys and blood vessels.
Secondly, having an inadequate Vitamin D receptor (VDR) restricts it from getting into the cells. Approximately 30% of the population has a poor VDR. Other natural ways to increase VDR activation include the intake of resveratrol, Omega-3’s, magnesium, zinc, quercetin, curcumin, ginger and regular exercise.
Terrain Health recommends Vitamin D3 2,000 IU daily from Vital Nutrients for adults
Terrain Health recommends Vitamin D3 1,000 IU from Orthomolecular for children
*You may want to test your levels every 3-6 months to ensure you are getting adequate amounts.
*Terrain Health recommends Vitamin D3 5,000 IU daily from Designs for Health for adults if you have recently had blood work done showing that your Vitamin D level is lower than 30ng/ml.
Also, it is important to note that certain people with pre-existing medical conditions including sarcoidosis, kidney disease, liver disease, and hyperparathyroidism, need to use caution when using high doses of Vitamin D as they may be at risk for developing kidney stones or worsening renal function.