The following is a guest post by Health Coach and Zenergy Member Jody Moss.It was originally published in October 2017, but seemed to have gotten lost in our website migration. Enjoy!
The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are getting cooler. Time to get out the vitamin D supplements!
One of the best sources of vitamin D is the sun. But as we head into winter, the chances of absorbing vitamin D from the sun on our bare skin are diminishing. For those in higher altitudes, the sun’s low angle makes it even harder to get enough UVB rays on large parts of our bodies.
Foods rich in vitamin D are the other main source. Consuming lots of cold water fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, raw milk and pastured egg yolks can help boost your vitamin D levels. But even if you’re partial to cold water fish, it is nearly impossible to get enough vitamin D from food.
Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium, magnesium and zinc, which is why many brands of milk (and orange juice) are fortified with it. Unfortunately, the vitamin D2 added to milk is a synthetic form made from irradiated mushrooms. Vitamin D2, which isn’t as readily absorbed and utilized by the human body, is not half as effective as vitamin D3.
A healthy digestive system is important for obtaining vitamin D through food. You need enough HCl (hydrochloric acid) in your stomach, healthy pancreas excretions and healthy intestines for vitamin D to be metabolized and absorbed. As we age, our bodies don’t produce as much HCL as needed for proper digestion. A healthy liver and kidneys also are vitally important so that you make enough bile to process the vitamin D. If you have digestive issues, you may need to take more vitamin D3.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is capable of being dissolved in fat, unlike water-soluble vitamins. Ideally, you should take your vitamin D supplement after a meal containing high-quality fats such as avocados, cold water fish, raw nuts, coconut oil, raw milk and egg yolks.
Vitamin D is essential to fostering a strong immune system, one that destroys viruses and bacteria. One reason for increased flu cases during the winter months is the declining amount of UVB that you receive from the sun. Increasing your vitamin D levels can help you reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases.
Wondering where to start? Get your vitamin D levels checked by your physician—the test is called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. It’s a good idea to check your vitamin D levels in August, when they area likely at their highest, and in January, when they are potentially at their lowest.
If you do decide to supplement with vitamin D, look for vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 for enhanced calcium absorption. Vitamin K2 (found in leafy greens and fermented foods) escorts calcium into your bones and keeps it from building up in your arteries. Without K2, our vitamin D supplement can’t do its job and could even cause arterial plaque.
Jody Moss is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Medicine and a student at Nutritional Therapy Institute.