Vitamin D for Optimal Health

Vitamin D

“Deficiency is very likely for anyone living in the Northern Hemisphere” – Patrick Holford in regards to Vitamin D [1]

Vitamin D is so important and often overlooked by most of us. It is a fat-soluble vitamin; during summer we store extra vitamin D for use during the winter when the sun isn’t strong enough for us to produce any vitamin D. We use these stores throughout the winter and normally around late winter to early spring most peoples stores are running low or out. But theses stores are just enough to keep you going, not enough to keep you healthy and functioning optimally in the winter months.

Why should you care?

Vitamin D is essential for immunity: it helps to protect us from all those nasty bugs going around that everyone seems to be getting. [2] This is the first year I have been diligent with keep my Vit D levels up and it this is the furthest I have ever made it into a winter without getting sick!

Helps boost mood: That’s right taking vitamin D can actually make you happier. Heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? It’s a type of depression linked to changes in season. People experience it in the fall and winter because their bodies aren’t able to make vitamin D, so they now have lower levels and mood falls. Vitamin D supplementation can be an easy treatment for most people.[3] I’ve told lots of friends who have been feeling the winter blues about taking this special vitamin and all have said it has really helped.

Needed to keep motivated: Vitamin D is needed to produce serotonin in the brain, hence why it helps boost as outlined above. Serotonin however is also needed to stay motivated towards goals and resist instant gratification and make poor decisions that will hurt long term progress. If you have a hard time staying motivated towards a goal it may be your low vitamin D levels. [4]

Vitamin D is essential for bone health: It helps to regulate calcium in the body and ensure normal calcification of the bones and teeth. It also helps increase calcium absorption. Even with adequate calcium in the diet if you have low Vit D, you will have poor calcification of the bones. [3]

It can help lower blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity. [5] This can help with weight management.

How do you get Vitamin D in the winter? and how much do you need?

Plain and simple you cannot get enough from food. You need to supplement with Vitamin D3 in the winter.

In our bodies we produce Vitamin D3, this is the form of Vitamin D our body knows what to do with and how to use. Vitamin D2 on the other hand is the synthetic form and our body doesn’t utilize it properly or effectively. Synthetic Vitamin D also encourages calcium deposits into soft tissue and the arteries causing many health issues. [5] Buying or taking D2 it is a waste of time, money and can be harmful to your health. Make sure you’re taking D3.

The RDI (recommended daily intake) for Vitamin D is 1,000 IUs, which is far too low. Why is the RDI so low? Because they focus on only the prevention of overt nutritional deficiencies not on optimal levels for individuals. [6]

The following is from the vitamin D council a wonderful resource, if you would like to learn more please check them out at vitamindcouncil.org

General guidelines for Vitamin D supplementation:
Infants – 1,000 IUs/day
Children – 1,000 IUs/day per 25 pounds of body weight
Adults – 5,000 IUs/day

We do recommend that you get your blood levels of vitamin D checked before delving into supplementation. Ideally we would like to see your blood levels between 40-60ng/mL. Supplementing with 1,000IUs of vitamin D for one year would increase your blood levels by 5 points. Keep that in mind when determining how much vitamin D to supplement with. 

Please remember that you ideally do not need to supplement during the late spring and summer. You should be getting enough sun exposure and fresh air everyday to produce enough.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more contact us at info@cocoonhealth.ca or leave us a comment!

Josh

References:

  1. Patrick Holford, The Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, 2004
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9539254
  4. Rhonda P. Patrick and Bruce N. Ames, “Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and impulse behavior“. Faseb Journal. 2014.
  5. http://www.dmsjournal.com/content/5/1/8
  6. Elson Haas, Staying Healthy with Nutrition. New York: Random House, Inc., 2006
  7. Annemarie Colbin, Food and Healing. New York: Random House, 1986
  8. Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno, The encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, third edition. New York: Atria, 2012