It's Vitamin D Time Again
We receive many benefits from sunlight, many of which are unknown. Vitamin D is one we do know about, although we continue to learn more.
This is the time of year that our ability to make vitamin D from UVB rays is rapidly diminishing as we can only make vitamin D in our skin when our shadow is shorter than we are. That period ends in October and won’t re-appear until April. So we have six months of vitamin D winter, and our summer storage will be rapidly depleted by December, unless we supplement.
What are the benefits of vitamin D? First of all our immune system, Vitamin D enables us to make our own antibiotics, called antimicrobial peptides. In fact adequate vitamin D is more effective than a flu shot at preventing flu.
It is very effective at preventing and treating colds and flus. Vitamin D is also essential for bone and muscle health. We can’t absorb calcium without vitamin D.
Vitamin D also has pain reducing and anti-inflammatory effects.
Optimum vitamin D levels as measured in a blood test are between 50 and 90 ng/ml.
Optimum levels of vitamin D significantly reduce risk of heart disease and strokes.
Cancer risk is reduced as well, especially breast and color cancer.
Vitamin D also reduces the risk of asthma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and eye disorders.
So how much vitamin D should we supplement with?
About 1,000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight.
Adults can safely take up to 10,000 IU's daily.
If you test low on a vitamin D test, your doctor may have you take a 50,000 IU tablet of vitamin D2 weekly. However, the synthetic vitamin D2 is much less effective than D3, the form we make in our bodies and the form found in most supplements.
At the onset of a cold, flu or other infection, you can take up to 1,000 IU's per pound of bodyweight for 3 days. So, for a 150 pound adult, 150,000 IU’s for three days. This is not a toxic dose, in fact, it is easier to overdose on water than it is vitamin D. This high dosing is safe for children and infants as well, adjusted for their body weight.
Almost every baby born in this country is deficient in vitamin D. In fact, one study showed that even women taking 4,000 IU during pregnancy still delivered babies deficient in vitamin D.
So, for overall health and wellness make sure you take vitamin D throughout the winter.
The best resource for more info on vitamin D is thevitamindcouncil.org posted by a physician named John Cannell. You can also subscribe to his newsletter.