What You Need to Know about Vitamin D
Winter is a favorite season for many people because it allows them to engage in their favorite snow hobbies. The colder months do bring some exciting new activities like skiing and snowboarding, but they also add some unwanted changes like increased susceptibility to sickness.
The colder months are also a natural time for people to experience mild seasonal depression or the “winter blues." Add COVID-19 and the restrictions into the mix, and many people have even less to keep them preoccupied and lift their spirits this winter. So focusing on your health has never been more important!
We often hear of many tips to stay healthy. While these tips contribute to good health and deserve attention, there is one often overlooked and undervalued tip that can help protect you against sickness and strengthen your immune system.
National Institutes of Health says on their Vitamin D fact sheet, “your immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
What is Vitamin D?
Let's get right down to it - Vitamin D is one of the best contributors to a healthy immune system! The sunshine vitamin (commonly referred to as Vitamin D) produces Vitamin D in our bodies once our skin has become exposed to the sun.
Benefits of Vitamin D
According to Margherita T. Cantorna, a molecular immunology professor at Pennsylvania State University, taking Vitamin D reduces your susceptibility to infection and inflammation throughout the year. Consuming Vitamin D also promotes healthier gut microbes.
How much should you be taking?
“How much vitamin D per day should I take?” This question has become increasingly popular, especially during the pandemic. The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D is a widely debated question. You'll need to take a daily dose of 600 IU just to maintain the natural level of Vitamin D you get during the summer months. The national recommended Vitamin D2 or Vitamin D3 dosage in the United States is 4,000 IU (daily) for adults.
Other factors to consider
A lesser-known fact is that people with darker pigmentation require more Vitamin D since darker pigmentation reduces the skin’s ability to produce it. The National Institutes of Health states:
“greater amounts of the pigment melanin in the epidermal layer of the skin result in darker skin and reduce the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight.”
A few other factors affect your skin’s ability to produce the sunshine vitamin. Sunlight coming through a window does not get used by the skin to create Vitamin D. Old age also slows the skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D, so age will play a role in determining how much Vitamin D you should take. Pregnant women and people with autoimmune conditions may require a higher than the recommended daily dose.
For those who naturally absorb Vitamin D in our bodies, you don't need as much through supplementation. This may not be the clear-cut answer you're looking for to determine the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D. Many variables affect how much Vitamin D each person should be taking daily.
How to test your Vitamin D Levels
You can always visit your doctor to have a Vitamin D test done, or you can get one of the multiple kits available for home testing. Companies such as Everylwell, myLABbox, and Drop all provide kits for home use.
Ways to get Vitamin D
You’ll be hard-pressed to find many foods that contain Vitamin D. So your best option is to find a supplement form of the vitamin to get your daily recommended dose. Look for vitamin or mineral supplements that contain Vitamin D. The two types of this specific vitamin are Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. While both types increase the amount of Vitamin D in your blood, NIH suggests that Vitamin D3 may help by providing it longer and at higher amounts. Ideally, you’ll want to take your supplement with a meal containing fats since this supplement is fat-soluble (I.E. absorbed the best when taken with foods containing fats).
Supplementation is the best way to consistently get Vitamin D. Incorporate these foods into your diet for natural ways of consuming Vitamin D! (Once you see the foods containing the highest amounts of Vitamin D, you’ll know why we recommend a daily supplement).
Foods containing the highest amount of Vitamin D:
- Canned Tuna
- Fortified Milk
Does Vitamin D Affect COVID-19?
Research is ongoing to determine how and if Vitamin D supplements can help fight against COVID-19. Funding from the National Institutes of Health has allowed Margherita Cantorna to continue her research. By making sure that you and your family get the recommended Vitamin D levels, you can directly control a simple and effective way to stay healthy this winter. Health is not only about Vitamin D, however. It requires many combined factors. PPE, good hygiene, sanitization products are additional tools to protect you against winter illnesses! We provide masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and many other PPE items to keep you safe and well protected this winter!