Vitamin D is of the things recently mentioned by mainstream media as an effective booster for your health and thus useful to keep Covid-19 out. Many doctors have been mentioning this for months – and years when it comes to your immune system – so today we are going to talk about the top 3 benefits of vitamin d and why you should take it. This way you will have all the necessary information at hand, to make an informed decision, that is good for you!
What is Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. Officially, it is not a real vitamin. It is a collection of fat soluble hormones that your body can make by itself. For the most part, it is actually not taken in via foods, but it is made in your body by influence of sunlight – UV light to be exact. Sunrays hitting your skin trigger the synthesis of vitamin D.
The two most important forms of vitamin D are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. D2 is the herbal form, while D3 – or cholecalciferol – is the animal form. Vitamin D3 is the one that is actively synthesised by the body under influence of UV light. Vitamin D3 is almost 66% more effective in raising vitamin D values in the body, so this is definitely the preferred form.
So the sun is the most important source of vitamin D for humans and gives us two thirds of what we need on a daily base. The rest is taken up via your diet. As mentioned above, vitamin D can be found in plants and animal foods, but is way better absorbed from foods of animal origin. That being said, these foods usually contain only small amounts of vitamin D. Foods from fatty fish species, like eel, salmon and mackerel, contain slightly more vitamin D.
It is considered to be an essential vitamin, as it is needed for optimal functioning of your body.
The top 3 Benefits of Vitamin D for your Health
Vitamin D plays an important role in the body as it improves the uptake of minerals like calcium and phosphorus. This in turn is important for strong bones and teeth. This has a great effect on reducing the risk of bone fractures.
Vitamin D is a great booster for your immune system and can help in keeping viral diseases at bay; which could help you stay healthy instead of getting sick from Covid-19. Vitamin D has immunoregulatory properties and anti-flammatory properties and plays a vital role in the activation of the immune system defences. In these extra-ordinary times, this is probably of the main reasons why we see so many people buying massive amounts of this vitamin. In the last couple of days, the media has picked up on this story – something that regular doctors have been saying for years – and the effect is significant: at the moment of writing, vitamin D is not available in many shops.
On top of this, the vitamin also enhances the function of immune cells, like T-cells and macrophages. These are a great line of defence in your body against pathogens like viruses.
Research shows that “Several epidemiological studies have linked inadequate vitamin D levels to a higher susceptibility of immune-mediated disorders”. Thus showing that it is needed to maintain a well-functioning immune system. Low levels of the vitamin are linked with a reduced efficiency of the immune system and a higher susceptibility to infections and diseases.
Another health benefit of vitamin D is that it helps your muscles function properly and increase muscle strength. This study shows that “vitamin D status correlates positively with muscle strength and postural stability”,
There is an important side note to this point, as physical activity (especially outdoors) are obviously associated with muscle strength and profit from being in the sun.
This study shows that a healthy amount of the vitamin improves muscle strength. This is especially so for elder people, aged over 70.
Other health benefits are that it enhances your mood and affects your sleeping pattern. A vitamin D deficiency seems to be correlated to bad moods and difficulties sleeping, or feeling more sleepy.
How much Vitamin D should You take?
The current recommended intake by the NIH is between 600 – 800 IU (international units). This means 15-20 mcg per day.
However, there are many doctors with a lot of experience in the field of nutrition and supplements, suggest a higher dosage might be more beneficial. They suggest taking up to 10,000 IU per day for adults, and 4,000 IU for children and 2,000 IU for infants.
We take 6,000 IU per day and feel great. As with vitamin C, we have upped our daily intake based on what a whole bunch of experts told us and never been ill or sick since. Not one common cold or fever or anything.
When people say that these dosages are too high, please remember that sunbathing offers a great boost in your vitamin D levels. 20 minutes of full body sunbathing, can produce around 10,000-20,000 IU.
There have been tests with up to 40,000 IU, where no harm was found. This shows the body can take a whole lot of vitamin D.
Where to get Vitamin D
The best thing about this whole article is that the most of our vitamin D needs are solved by simply going outside and enjoy the sun. What else can you wish for; being outside is healthy for you in many ways and there are so many activities to choose from, that everybody can find something they like. Whether you are going for a simple walk with your dog, do some exercises, or just sit outside on your patio whilst enjoying a healthy smoothie. The sun will help you raise your vitamin D levels.
If you can’t go outside, or live in an area where these simply isn’t much sunshine, fear not! This vitamin is readily available as a supplement via a ton of (web)shops. You can basically buy it in any store that has a decent supplement shelf.
The pills are quite cheap and work great. Lot of supplements offer a high dose, so one bottle of pills can last you many months. Great in this time of a pandemic; always have something available.
As you know, we always recommend eating healthy to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs. Of course this is also true for vitamin D, however it is slightly more difficult as there aren’t that many foods that offer a decent amount of the vitamin. The best foods are cod liver oil, trout or salmon. Other foods, however healthy they are, only contain marginal amounts of vitamin D.