#15: WhatSUPP — Vitamin D

January’s Supplement Spotlight  Vitamin D

Do you have a case of the winter blues? During the colder months, do you find yourself a little depressed, catching a cold or two and miss being outdoors in the sun? If so, then it could be because you’re deficient in Vitamin D. And you’re not alone. In fact, Dr. Mark Hyman in his book, The UltraMind Solution, says that up to 80 percent of the population is Vitamin D deficient. So why is it important to get more Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is needed to build strong and healthy bones. It strengthens the immune system, improves cardiovascular health and even plays a role in balancing blood sugar. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression, dementia and autism. If it’s so important for the body, then why are so many people deficient in Vitamin D and how can we get some?

How do I know if I’m getting enough Vitamin D?

For starters, Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. That means that it gets absorbed in the presence of fat. So, if you’re eating a low-fat diet or no-fat diet, then you may have problems absorbing Vitamin D even if you are supplementing. Second, Vitamin D gets absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, so if you have some type of gut issue, whether it’s leaky gut, dysbiosis or bacterial overgrowth, you too may have problems absorbing Vitamin D. Third, unless you’re eating copious amounts of high quality animal liver, it’s very difficult to obtain Vitamin D from dietary sources even from fortified foods like 1% organic milk.

What about the sun? Doesn’t the sun give us all the Vitamin D we need? If you’re a lifeguard, the answer is likely yes but for everyone else, that answer is no, especially, if you live in the northern hemisphere and/or work indoors. Plus, because of concerns over skin cancer, most people use sunblock which stops 97% of the skin’s production of Vitamin D. That doesn’t mean you should skip the sunblock altogether to get your Vitamin D but you should balance the benefits of sun exposure versus sun damage. A quick rule of thumb is 20-40 minutes of peak sun exposure (depending on how dark your skin is) should be enough to make Vitamin D naturally.

So how do I know if I’m getting enough Vitamin D? Have your doctor test your Vitamin D levels. While most labs state that normal Vitamin D levels range between 30-100 ng/ml, many other reputable sources, including the Vitamin D Council and Dr. Mark Hyman, state that the optimal range is somewhere between 50 ng/ml and 80 ng/ml.

Best bets for supplementing

If you’re not a lifeguard and not eating tons of liver, then your best bet is to supplement with Vitamin D. There are a lot of brands out there selling Vitamin D supplements, so here are some quick and fast rules when selecting the right one for you:

  • Always look for Vitamin D3 and stay away from D2. D2 is the synthetic form and does not get absorbed as well.

  • Beware of the oils used in cheap Vitamin D supplements. GMO oils like soybean and corn may cause other digestive side effects.

  • Look for a Vitamin D supplement that’s easily absorbable. One that we recommend is Biotics Bio-D Mulsion Forte. It’s in a liquid form which enhances absorption, and importantly, has been clinically tested with significant improvements in serum Vitamin D levels.