- The vast majority of people are vitamin D deficient, up to 80-90% of Americans.
- The best source of vitamin D is from the sun and the best time to get it is around noon.
- If supplementing, look for Vitamin D3, not vitamin D2.
- Getting even 10-20 mins of sunlight daily can improve your immune function and health.
- Vitamin D is a natural anti-depressant.
…vitamin D is far from an ordinary vitamin and is actually a potent neuroregulatory hormone.
It was wintertime and I knew that he works indoors mostly. I suspected he was experiencing vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight, which would be a contributing factor to a compromised immune system. On top of this, from what I gathered, he had a less than optimal diet because he had been doing a lot of traveling. I had some vitamin D with me so I thought it would be the perfect time to see if it was as effective as I had read.
I wasn’t worried about any danger of it reacting with any of the medicines he was taking, as vitamin D is essential to your body and it produces it on its own. I told him to take 5,000 IU’s and stop taking the other cold meds from his physician. Seeing how they weren’t making any difference anyway, this way I could isolate if indeed vitamin D could alleviate his cough and boost his immune system.
Guess what happened? The next morning, he was still coughing, but it wasn’t that hacking, painful cough that I saw him suffering from previously. I told him to continue taking the 5,000 IU’s a day and see what would happen. The second day, it became noticeably less and after a total of just THREE days, his cough was completely GONE! Honestly, I surprised myself because I didn’t expect the results to be so dramatic. This is when I really started taking it more seriously and looked into it further. The benefits of vitamin D have been documented in several studies, having a positive effect on things ranging from diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis to the flu and common cold.
The human body has about 30,000 genes and vitamin D assists in the regulation of nearly 3,000 genes as far as we know. It plays a significant role in the functionality of a healthy human being. The vast majority of people today are insufficient in vitamin D, contributing to a wide range of health issues like a compromised immune system, issues in nutrient absorption, among others.
It’s been estimated that approximately 80-90% of people in USA are vitamin D deficient, our most common deficient nutrient. This is due to a combination of more people working indoors throughout the day, as well as (hopefully, inadvertent) misinformation from health care professionals, claiming that exposure to the sun is bad for you.
Exposure to sunlight is the best and easiest way to get your daily requirements of vitamin D.
Agreeably, you shouldn’t stay out until you are cooked. But in moderation, there are multiple benefits of the sun. UVB is all that is needed for your body to produce vitamin D, while UVA is what causes skin cancer, cataract formation, wrinkled skin, and premature aging when exposed to excessively.
Vitamin D2 or D3?
While there are several types of vitamin D, some forms are more inactive in your body that others. The two that humans use for supplementation is ergocalciferol (D2) and cholecalciferol (D3). Between these two, it is D3 that benefits us most. Your liver and kidneys convert it into a more active hormone form, enabling your body to reap the benefits of this great, necessary substance. In fact, vitamin D is far from an ordinary vitamin and is actually a potent neuroregulatory steroidal hormone. The majority of the population has far below optimum levels, so you should get your levels tested and see what your levels are.
Always try to avoid fortified processed foods when getting nutrients because oftentimes they use inferior quality supplements. A perfect example is “fortified cereal” or “fortified milk,” which use the inferior vitamin D2, which not only has fewer benefits than vitamin D3, but also has been observed to irritate your blood vessel lining if consumed too much.
If you get your vitamin D via exposure to the sun, you don’t have to worry about overdosing, as your body will shut down production on its own. For fair skinned, slim or fit individuals, 15-30 minutes of exposure to at least your hands and face should suffice, or until your skin gets slightly pink. Darker skinned individuals may need up to several hours per day for optimal vitamin D production. The more surface area of your body that is exposed to sunlight, the better.
While there are several contributing factors for people getting sick during the winter, a big reason is that usually during winter, people are not outside as often, thus leading to a vitamin D deficiency. In addition to this, there are less UVB rays during winter, which is what is needed. In late winter, the average level of vitamin D of people in the United States is 15-18ng/ml, which is far below the optimal level of 50-70ng/ml. In actuality, levels of 15-18ng/ml is a serious state of deficiency and can lead to a compromised immune system, amongst other problems. It’s no wonder why people catch the common cold or flu more often during winter.
Even when people do get sick and they don’t have a deficiency, the symptoms tend to be far less severe and your body is able to recover at a much faster rate. In the event that you are unable to get adequate sunlight, other sources of Vitamin D are available as well.
Definitely check out the article I wrote on the benefits of Vitamin D, as it will illuminate just how important this vitamin is to our well-being. Also, this article on the best sources of Vitamin D goes into detail about optimal doses and proper vitamin D testing.
In the end, do the best you can to get even 10-20 minutes of sunshine daily during midday. One of the many benefits of vitamin D is that it’s a natural anti-depressant! So get up and get your vitamin d on because we need more happy people in this world ☺