Recover Faster and Feel Happier: Why You Should Probably Take Vitamin D Supplements

Recover Faster and Feel Happier: Why You Should Probably Take Vitamin D Supplements

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With high flu levels and COVID-19 still pending, knowing how to support our immune system and protect our body has never been so relevant. While providing direct support to the immune system, vitamin D is also an incredible nutrient that impacts mood as well as athletic recovery. For any active person wishing to keep their body in primo send-off shape, ensuring that serum vitamin D levels are healthy is an absolute MUST.

Known as the “sunshine vitamin“, vitamin D is unique in the world of nutrients in that it is the only vitamin that we synthesize in our bodies as a result of exposure to the sun. Basically, when the sun, more precisely UVB rays, hits the cholesterol in our skin, a chemically inactive form of vitamin D is synthesized.The newly created vitamin D must then travel first to the liver and then to the kidneys to be fully converted into biologically active vitamin D3.This incredible vitamin ( which is actually a hormone) is integral to supporting bone mineral density, immune system function, brain health, cardiovascular integrity, healthy mood, gene expression and many Moreover.

Although we can manufacture it in our bodies, insufficient and deficient levels are alarmingly present. Recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey revealed that of 4,495 people screened for vitamin D levels, 41% had a deficiency (defined as less than 20 ng/mL). And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Agriculture, more than half of Americans don’t have optimal levels of vitamin D, regardless of age. How is this possible, when sunlight is so accessible? Well, many factors impact vitamin D synthesis.

Higher latitudes, sunscreen use, older age, and darker skin tones are all factors that would decrease vitamin D absorption. During most winter months, UVB rays are blocked, so even if you spend time in the sun, you will not produce vitamin D. Also, if you have excess body fat, the vitamin D you produce is sequestered in fat cells and is not available for the body to use.

Vitamin D receptors are found in all tissues and cells of the human body, and vitamin D also regulates over 1000 different genes (gene expression is the process by which information from a gene is transformed into biochemical the body needs to function and stay healthy). Vitamin D supports brain function and development, which impacts mood, memory, and cognition. Vitamin D also modulates the immune system, helping to ensure it doesn’t overreact or underreact. Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining gut integrity and gut homeostasis between the person and their gut microbiome. Vitamin D supports mucosal barrier function which further contributes to a healthy microbiome and modulation of inflammation in the gut.

As miraculous as it may seem, thesunshine vitamin” also supports: cardiovascular health, bone health, healthy blood sugar levels, healthy C-reactive protein levels, balanced inflammatory response, muscle strength, balance, respiratory health, prostate health, breast health, joint function and mobility, healthy aging and more!

Important to note: At low levels, the main function of vitamin D in the body is to regulate calcium in the blood to balance the body’s pH. At low levels, vitamin D is unable to support other body systems. This is why we must ensure that our tanks are FULL at all times.

Vitamin D is not a miracle cure; however, it is necessary for the functioning of so many systems, organs, tissues and genes that improving health becomes much more difficult if you are deficient or have suboptimal levels of this important nutrient.

Focus on Immun-D

If you’re an active person, a serious athlete, or anyone for that matter, looking to optimize your immunity may be high on your list. The latest research shows that when it comes to COVID-19, healthy levels of vitamin D in blood serum can be a matter of life and death. A study in Indonesia compared two groups of patients (those who died and those who survived). A total of 780 patients have been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2. It was found that almost 90% of patients who had insufficient levels of vitamin D died (levels <20 ng/mL), while only 4% of patients with normal levels of Vitamin D died (levels > 30ng/mL). A growing number of researchers and clinicians suggest that vitamin D supplementation can potentially reduce the severity of COVID-19!

It all depends on your Mood

Has anyone ever experienced “winter blues” or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? Well, sure, especially when I was living on Vancouver Island during the winter months. It turns out that many components associated with the sun have a positive impact on our mood: the heat on our skin, the sun’s rays coming through the clouds and, yes, the production of vitamin D! Vitamin D receptors are found throughout the central nervous system, where vitamin D plays an essential role in the production of neurotransmitters, such as feel good chemical messengers dopamine and serotonin, for example. Studies show that low serum vitamin D levels are associated with reduced cognitive function, anxiety and depression. Research from a double-blind study in Australia showed that taking as little as 400 IU of vitamin D for just five days produced measurable improvements in mood!

Athletic recovery, with vitamin D!

Almost every competitive athlete has had that moment when they trained really hard for an event and then their body was bombarded with cold symptoms. Sound familiar? Well, believe it or not – as wonderful as exercise is – overexertion and training add compounded stress on our bodies that can actually impact how well our immune system works. As stated above, vitamin D is an awesome tool that can keep our immune system in tip-top shape during training and before an event, but it also has a unique ability to help our body modulate pain – yes, pain. PAIN.

Vitamin D is beginning to be understood as a hormone associated with chronic pain when at low levels, and linked to pain relief when those levels are increased. Current research shows that those who suffer from musculoskeletal pain, headaches, menstrual pain, fibromyalgia and even pain accompanying sickle cell disease have low levels of vitamin D. Studies show that simply increasing these levels results in pain relief. Other research indicates that 85% of vitamin D deficient patients responded favorably to vitamin D supplementation with a significant decrease in pain.

What does this mean for you as an athlete? This means vitamin D levels support a healthy training program, allowing you to train harder, longer, while supporting healthy immune system function. This also means that vitamin D can help promote athletic recovery by relieving occasional pain associated with an active lifestyle. I know that for me, keeping vitamin D on hand at home, in my office, and certainly taking some during these dark winter months will be a key to sustaining my athletic success, no matter the season, no matter the activity !

Supplementing with vitamin D: what you need to know

A few things to know about vitamin D:

1) As mentioned above, vitamin D3 is what our bodies make and is the most bioavailable form when taken as a supplement.

2) Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it needs fat to increase its absorption and utilization.

Therefore, my favorite supplement products will naturally be those in the D3 form and associated with healthy fat!

Here are some of my favorite vitamin D products:

  • Mykind Organics Vegan D3 Spray by garden of life: I love the convenience and taste of this spray, and for me it is a must have for my desk drawer of essentials. This product is sugar free and lightly sweetened with organic stevia. D3 is combined with Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil and Organic Cranberry Seed Oil to help increase absorbency. 1 spray is 1000 IU, so it’s easy to adjust the amount to what’s right for you. Simply spray and you’re done!
  • Ultimate Omega-D3 by Nordic naturals: This 2-in-1 product is the perfect way to synergistically blend vitamin D3 with omega-3 essential fatty acids. This combination is a great way to further support heart health, cognitive function, healthy inflammation levels and more!
  • Vitamin D3 Body Cream by Life-Flo: If you’re like me, you do NOT want to feel like you’re taking a million supplements. So why not supplement with D3 every time you put on body lotion? That’s right, vitamin D3 body creams are a quick and effective way to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D in the body. It is a practical product to leave at your desk, near your bedside table or in your car for your travels!

In terms of specific dosage for your body, most vitamin D researchers agree that optimal vitamin D levels are between 30 and 65 ng/ml of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D. GP or naturopathic doctor local. From there, they can help you gauge the right dosage recommendations for you. Some researchers suggest that 5,000 IU per day is a good starting point for most athletes. Keep in mind that the most bioavailable forms are associated with healthy fat, so liquid sublingual forms will be the fastest absorbed and most easily utilized.

Whether you’re an avid athlete training for a specific event, an active individual, or a weekend warrior, ensuring you get enough vitamin D3 through your diet, lifestyle, and your supplements is a great way to support healthy immune system function, a positive mood, and promote healthy recovery.

Emilie Ipsen, CHN, CNTP, MNT, NHC, is a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner with a Masters in Nutrition Therapy from the Nutrition Therapy Institute of Denver. Ipsen currently works as a health nutrition coach at Natural Grocers.

#Recover #Faster #Feel #Happier #Vitamin #Supplements

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