By: Alonso Chavarriaga
The Benefits of Vitamin D
Contrary to its name, vitamin D is not really a vitamin but a steroid hormone precursor. When infections occur in your body, vitamin D helps increase production of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Typically, most of the vitamin D in your body is absorbed through the sun’s rays. To address the rising deficiency in the American population, many foods are now starting to come fortified with vitamin D.
Ray Doustdar, CEO of BUICED Inc, recognizes the importance of getting a daily dose of vitamin D. He cites a huge, double blind placebo-controlled Japanese study that was published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition as an example. More than 350 children took part in the trial, and results showed that antiviral drugs reduced the risk of a flue infection by 8 percent, compared to 50 percent or greater with a dose of vitamin D. The study goes on to detail how vitamin D is most protective against influenza A, but not as protective against the less common influenza B.
Vitamin D also helps the body maximize its absorption of calcium from your intestine, building stronger bones and teeth. When combined with calcium, vitamin D also helps to prevent osteoporosis in older adults. Even with the right calcium levels, bones can become weak, brittle, and more prone to fracture if there isn’t enough vitamin D in your system.
Taking Vitamin D
Just sitting in the backyard for 10 minutes and exposing your arms and face to direct sunlight without any sunscreen will give your body the dose of vitamin D it needs, according to Doustdar. If you are unable to soak in the rays due to your job’s hours, location, or any other situation that doesn’t afford you that luxury, you will need to focus on getting vitamin D from food and supplements.
Modern medicine, Doustdar believes, is focused on treating symptoms rather than prevention. Doustdar recommends breaking away from this mindset and actively looking for ways to increase your body’s vitamin D levels. “Take vitamin D however possible,” says Doustdar. Whether it’s through diet and supplements or sunlight, getting the right amount is key.
When looking for a supplement, make sure it is vitamin D3 and not D2, since your body reacts exactly the same to D3 as it would with sunlight. Many multivitamins come with vitamin D already, or you can opt for a vitamin D specific supplement. Keep an eye on dosage levels; vitamin D3 should be around 70 to 90 nanograms per milliliter for healthy, optimal levels.