The case for vitamin D
There is one supplement that should be mandatory and available as a free subscription from your doctor, and that is Vitamin D. Why vitamin D? Well, what we know about vitamin D in 2016 in actually mind-boggling, especially when you consider the lack of action that is being taken.
We now know, that vitamin D has receptor cells on almost every cell and piece of tissue in the body. If you’re deficient in vitamin D, then your tissues and cells are deficient, period.
Why is it so important?
– Vitamin D is not even really a vitamin it’s actually a secesteroid, a hormonal precursor that closely resembles the stress hormone testosterone, and the misunderstood cholesterol. This doubles it importance.
– Vitamin D drastically decreases Alzheimer’s risk. It powers your brain.
– Vitamin D massively reduces your heart attack and cardiovascular disease risk. It works wonders on your blood.
– Vitamin D prevents bone loss. It works in coalition with calcium and magnesium to combat osteoporosis, arthritis and fractures.
– Vitamin D is a mood booster. It’s rejuvenates the chemicals that affect our mood.
– Vitamin D protects you against Skin Cancer, Psoriasis, and Eczema. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that the body utilises very efficiently.
And to borrow from the incredible Mark Sisson’s Daily Apple:
It regulates the levels of calcium and phosphate in the bloodstream, and it promotes the mineralization and growth of bones, working together with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin K2. Severe deficiency can cause rickets.
It plays a massive role in the immune response, activating and “arming” the killer T-cells for defense against infections and bacteria.
It modulates the expression of genes that regulate cell proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation, suggesting a potential role in cancer incidence. Epidemiology suggests links between vitamin D deficiency and most cancers, including breast, colorectal, and pretty much all the big ones.
It reduces systemic, chronic inflammation.
And all of this, is an understatement.
The answer is lack of awareness.
To truly bring it home, we need to bring in some good old emotion. So think back to when you were last on a sunny holiday, or just step outside (if the sun is shining) for a few hours of UV ray therapy. How do did you (or how do you) feel? Most likely, you feel awesome. Consider this feeling your body as speaking to you. And it is speaking good things.
How does one go about optimizing our health then? The best thing to do is to get a vitamin D test. They are pennies-on-the-dollar when you consider the price you pay for other things in life (be it wine, days out, or medicinal costs) What could be more important than your health? If you live in the UK, you can get sent a small test kit from the NHS, that takes 2 minutes to complete. It costs only £28 and you’ll have results usually within 1 week. Check it out here.
If you live in the USA, there are many options available, but the gold standard is probably from the Vitamin D Council. The test costs around $55, and again, you’ll have the result back pretty sharp.
The ‘ideal’ range you want your results to show is 60-80 n/mol (24-32 ng/ml). Even better is to shoot for 90 n/mol (35 ng/ml). However, going over this, sends you spiralling down the bell curve, if not monitored carefully. But don’t worry too much, Charles Poliquin has his athletes on 120 n/mol! Unless your a power athlete going for gold, or Chris Hoy, you shan’t need to go that far.
How to take vitamin D? Without question, the best way is a good few hours of sunlight everyday. But of course, If one doesn’t have the privilege of such a luxury, then oral supplementation is a must, liquid form a necessity. One more thing to mention when using Vitamin D as a supplement: There are two rules when buying. Firstly, avoid capsules and tablets, for they are not absorbed very well, liquid on the on the hand, goes down like hot chocolate. Secondly, it will be sold as D3, do NOT buy D2 (unless told by a health professional), as it is naturally produced by the body, and additional D2 could be dangerous.
Start with a liquid or gel such as this fantastic product by Solgar. I have personally used this myself, and after a matter of weeks, I got myself tested (I didn’t bother with a pre-test). And the NHS went out of their way to personally call me to say they were worried my D3 levels were so high. I was at 92 n/mol. After much research, I know that this is perfectly safe, in fact in south europe, this is common place.
There are generally two ways you can go about dosage. The easiest way is to take 3000-5000iu’s a day, with food, either in the morning or night. This is about 1 pipette of liquid if your using solgar’s product. This is both safe and easy. The second way, which is world-renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin’s preferred approach, is to do 2, twice a week mega-doses of 35-50,000iu’s. You could do this every 3-4 days. And again, it is safe and relatively easy to do. If you’re having doubts, consider that a few hours in direct sunlight converts into about 40,000iu’s anyway. So this dose is actually quite miniscule.
So there you have it. I encourage you all to do more reading on this fascinating, very important, but largely unappreciated vitamin/hormone. We all care about our health. We want to live long. We want to live well. We want to be around for our family. We want to live the best lives we can. Do your body (and brain) a favour, and start feeding it some edible gold, Vitamin D.
To get Solgar’s very cheap, but non-the-less brilliant D3 supplement, click here.
For further reading, check out these fantastic articles.