Recently we had Jeremy Mullins to our box for one of his famed Nutrition Seminars. One of the things he spoke about was Vitamin D, and since it was more or less the easiest thing to implement into my diet, I have been giving it a go (along with several other members of our box).
Before I continue, I just want to say that I am NOT a Doctor, a nutritionist or someone that should be telling you to take Vitamin D. I am just putting it out there, providing some information and trusting that you will make your own informed decisions. Maybe go get a blood test first to see if you are deficient. Heck, even consult your doctor.
What is Vitamin D?
It’s a hormone whose main job is to more or less get calcium to your bones. However, it turns out it has its “hand” in so much more!
First off, what’s going on out there? It is estimated that anywhere from 60-90% of us are Vitamin D deficient. Which makes sense – especially in these modern times – and even more-so with the winter we have been having this year! Huh? Well, Vitamin D is naturally synthesized by our bodies – all we need is to be exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, most of us are inside all day – fully clothed I imagine (and I am am pretty sure my computer monitor isn’t throwing off the right kind of radiation) .
What can Vitamin D do for me? Studies have shown that, apart from that whole calcium and strong bones thing:
- Some studies suggest that it reduces the risk of cancer.
- It helps in regulating the immune system = you will get sick less.
- It helps decrease the risk of many cardiovascular ailments.
- Depression/Mood (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? Yup, get your Vitamin D levels up and chances are you will feel happier.
- It helps prevent inflammation = you will recover faster.
- Improved sleep.
- It has been shown to reduce the risk of all sorts of other stuff, for example: rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, autism, along with the overall frequency and severity of asthma and its symptoms.
What about Vitamin D’s role for athletes? Go and read this.
You didn’t read it did you? Fine, here are the highlights:
- The Germans and Russians of the 1960-70′s were rather dominant in the sports world. Turns out they were on the Vitamin D bandwagon!
- “The medical literature indicates that the right amount of vitamin D will make you faster, stronger, improve your balance and timing, etc.”
- “Both animal and human studies have found that vitamin D increases muscle mass in subjects who are vitamin D deficient.”
- “Neuromuscular performance improves with higher vitamin D blood levels.” Notably in older people.
- “Vitamin D has been found to improve both balance and reaction time.”
- Already mentioned above, but here we go again: Vitamin D helps prevent inflammation = you will recover faster.
- Jeremy Mullins even tells us it will make us jump higher
Please notice that all of these revolve around having the appropriate levels of Vitamin D, not mega-dosing ultra high levels of Vitamin D.
How much does our body need?
Our levels should be around 50 ng/mL. I am not going to go into what that means, but go get a Vitamin D blood test and if your levels aren’t in that ballpark, well… do something about it!
How do I “do something about it”?
Lucky for us our bodies manufacture it naturally! All we need to do is spend 20 minutes in the sun at 40% skin exposure! Uhh, yeah… so, as I mentioned earlier, it turns out that most of us can’t quite make that happen. The obvious option here is to try to get more through food – and to a certain extent you can: Fish, mushrooms, eggs, meat and whatever Vitamin D fortified foods you run into, notably milk.
However, for most of us, attaining the proper levels will require a Vitamin D supplement.
How much? In the winter months, shoot for 5000 Iu/day, and in the summer drop that down to 2000 Iu/day. Of course, and again, if you don’t need it, don’t do it!
Important Note: If you suffer from Parathyroid disease do NOT take Vitamin D! Consult your doctor.
The Proof is in the Puddin’?
My blood test came back with a Vitamin D level of 17.3 ng/mL. Yup, that is pretty far off from 50 ng/mL! So I have been supplementing Vitamin D. Overall I am feeling a little better, but most notably, I have been sleeping much better. Which is something I have struggled with for a long time.
Also, anyone see Tony lately? He is all happy n sh#t since he started taking “the D”. Creepy.