Vitamin D : The Immune Connection
I know that we all felt the shift in our internal body time clock this week. It takes a few days to adjust and it has a particular affect on the awakening response and our stress handling hormone cortisol.
It also has an affect on our exposure to sunlight and as the days get shorter there is less and less of the calming and nourishing effects of sunshine and fresh air.
That leads me to the topic of Vitamin D which is often called the Sunshine Hormone. With all the research we are seeing recently it could also be renamed as the Immune Support Hormone.
Immune Health and Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been making headlines during the last few months, namely because emerging research shows a link between vitamin D deficiency and a depressed immune system.
That information has spurred many to start taking huge doses of D supplements without knowing their levels and the impact it might have on other body functions and systems.
The body mind and spirit work in connection. Everyone thing we do, eat, think, take, drink has an effect on the whole. While not enough Vitamin D is very very common there can be complications from too much of a good thing.
How much D is the right amount, and can you get it from sunshine, or food or do you need a daily supplement?
Here is the scoop on your Vitamin D needs.
Vitamin D is unique in a couple of important ways.
- If you are healthy and get outside the body can make its own vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
- Vitamin D is also hormone-like, fat-soluble vitamin responsible for regulating your body’s uptake and use of calcium, promoting bone mineralization, and supporting a healthy immune function as we are now seeing in the all the research.
How Vitamin D Supports your Immune System
First, it boosts the “innate immune system,” which is your body’s built-in primary defense against bacterial infections and viruses. Secondly, it enhances the function of dendritic cells, which chomp up bacteria and viruses and present them to be added to the immune system in a process called adaptive immune function, which creates antibodies to new threats.
Studies estimate that a lot of American adults are deficient. However, the rate of true vitamin D deficiency is likely even higher, because research has found that the previously recommended levels of vitamin D were actually too low.
I have been geeking out over reference ranges recently and I can not find a consensus of what is considered the optimal amount of Vita D which can make things a little confusing.
Conventional medicine ranges define vitamin D3 levels of 20-30 to 80-100 ng/mL as normal, yet Functional Medicine recommends keeping your vitamin D3 levels around 60 to 90 ng/mL for optimal health.
The 3 Sources of Vitamin D:
- So here are my thoughts: Get updated labs. If you levels are low, start with 2 Cataplex D a day, which is approx 1,500IU. If you have issue with digesting fat, or do not have a gallbladder then, take them in the morning when stomach acid is higher and add a gallbladder supplement like AF Betafood or Choline.
- Add in more Vitamin D rich foods. Unfortunately very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. It is found in egg yolks, cheese, cod liver oil, beef liver, fatty fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel. The amount of vitamin D in these foods is quite small, and if you’re following a plant-based diet, then you will need to supplement.
- Get outside for a little sun exposure like in sunlight. That being said we are seeing low levels in folks that live in Sunny California, so that means there is more to uncover. It also the time of year when we have less daylight and much cooler temps in most part of the USA and to make it even more confusing how much sunlight is also different for everyone based on where they live and the color of their skin. Depending on where you live supplementation during the winter months is a good idea.
Once you know your levels and add in one or more of the above, then Re-test in 3 months to check your levels and make adjustments as needed. Feel free to check in with me if you have a quick 5 minute question about what is right for you.
Never take more than 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day without a physician’s supervision and regular blood testing.
No matter how you get Vitamin D, just remember that it isn’t a silver bullet against experiencing immune challenges but will certainly help your whole body to function more optimally
I hope you have a great week, stay safe and do what you can to keep stress levels low.
P.S. Just a quick reminder that we are doing two Purification Groups in the next few weeks; Dec 5th and Jan 4th 2021.