As we prepare for cold weather by dragging out our thicker clothes, we must remember to also prepare for winter sickness. Today’s post is about vitamin D, perhaps the most important preventative tool for winter sickness and undoubtedly the most powerful steroid hormone in the human body.
Many Americans are deficient in vitamin D, especially the elderly and those with darker pigmented skin. Vitamin D is antibiotic, anti-microbial, and is technically a hormone since it can be produced in the body itself. Imagine the inside of your body as school, with vitamin D is the overzealous schoolteacher. Vitamin D is constantly giving orders to the rest of the body, in order to keep your body functioning at its best.
How Vitamin D Keeps Us Well
Vitamin D is an integral part of a healthy immune system and deficiency is linked to an increased risk of experiencing colds, flus and other infectious diseases. Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D is one of the ways to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
When to Start Supplementing
Although sunlight exposure is the best way to get vitamin D, those of us who live in Tennessee can only obtain vitamin D from sunlight from mid-April to September. During the rest of the year, we must use a supplement to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D.
Choosing a Supplement
Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is best to choose a supplement that includes a fat like olive oil, to help your body absorb it. Check the supplement’s label to make sure it includes vitamin D3 instead of vitamin D2, as D3 is a much more effective form of the vitamin.
Since vitamin D stays in our fat cells for months, it is important to note that there is a potential for toxicity if too much vitamin D is taken, so be sure to have your levels checked regularly while you are taking a supplement. Optimal blood serum levels are 45-55 ng/ml (or 115-139 nmol/l).
You can also get vitamin D from food sources that include salmon, tuna, cod liver oil, egg yolks, and full-fat dairy products. Have a fabulous fall!
Shelby is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant in Nashville, and a graduate of the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is a passionate advocate for a whole-foods diet and promotes sustainable lifestyle changes that achieve long-term results. You can connect with her on Facebook at facebook.com/webbwellnessconsulting, on Twitter at @webbwellconsult, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.