Vitamin D.

1 Jan

For most people, Vitamin D levels drop considerably in the winter (or summer if you live in the Southern Hemisphere).  Vitamin D is very important for both muscle tone and health, and recent research suggests it’s important for the immune system.  Obviously, the winter is an important time to keep your immune system as strong as possible so you can fight off the common cold and the dreaded flu.  Now, some new research shows how much Vitamin D the average person needs to maintain optimal levels. According to the recommended levels in this new research, it is believed that 30-50% of Americans and Canadians are deficient.  In order to raise your Vitamin D levels into the optimum range throughout the year, the Endocrine Society has recommended the following daily intake levels of Vitamin D (from all sources):  Children under one years old: 400-1,000 IU/day; Children 1 to 18 years old: 600-1,000 IU/day; Adults: 1,500-2,000 IU/day.

Is All Vitamin D Created Equal?

Research published in the June edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that Vitamin D3 supplements could provide more benefit than its close relative, Vitamin D2.  This is important because it is difficult for most people to get enough Vitamin D through food and sunshine, especially during the winter months.  Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D, but it is usually in the Vitamin D2 form.  The research shows that Vitamin D3 is better at raising the Vitamin D levels in your blood when given as a supplement. Dr. Laura Tripkovic explains: “We know that Vitamin D is vital in helping to keep us fit and healthy, but what has not been clear is the difference between the two types of Vitamin D. It used to be thought that both were equally beneficial, however our analysis highlights that our bodies may react differently to both types and that Vitamin D3 could actually be better for us.”

To get their results, researchers analyzed the results of 10 studies with a total of over 1,000 people.  They stated, “Vitamin D3 could potentially become the preferred choice for supplementation. However, additional research is required to examine the metabolic pathways involved in oral and intramuscular administration of Vitamin D and the effects across age, sex, and ethnicity, which this review was unable to verify.”

Is Vitamin D Really That Important?

According to the National Institute of Health: “A growing body of research suggests that Vitamin D might play some role in the prevention and treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, multiple sclerosis, and other medical conditions. Laboratory and animal evidence, as well as epidemiologic data, suggests that Vitamin D status could affect cancer risk. Strong biological and mechanistic bases indicate that Vitamin D plays a role in the prevention of colon, prostate, and breast cancers.”

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