Vitamin D is a critical nutrient for boosting immunity as we navigate this cold and flu season. Our son has been hit hard this fall/winter with virus after virus starting in late September. Once we ruled out underlying conditions through several blood tests, we shifted our focus to boosting his immune system.
More and more research has been published recently about the critical importance of vitamin D. It is important to understand it and how it works synergistically in the body with other vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin D is actually a steroidal hormone and has several important functions:
• regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus
• facilitating normal immune system function
• stimulating the production of nitric acid which helps to regulate blood flow
• preventing blood clots
• facilitating normal growth and development of bones and teeth
• supporting improved resistance against certain diseases (multiple sclerosis, heart disease, flu)
More research has been done recently regarding depression and anxiety and vitamin D. The results show a decrease in the number and severity of symptoms when supplementing with vitamin D. It is a small but important part of treatment.
Other than through fatty fish, it is difficult to get proper nutrients through diet. This is why we see so many vitamin D fortified foods (like milk). Unfortunately, the form we need to have is not contained in fortified foods.
Northern countries like Canada don’t get enough sunshine in the fall and winter months. This is particularly important for getting our vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced by your body when your skin is exposed to the sunlight (recommendation of 10 minutes without sunscreen).
Our recommendation is a supplement of 1000 IU of Vitamin D3 to get us through the fall and winter months.
Food sources of Vitamin D:
• shiitake mushrooms (40 IU in 1 cup
• almond milk (100 IU in 8 oz)
• fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines (fish oil supplements are a great source)
• egg yolk
• beef liver
The recommended IUs for vitamin D are:
• children and teens: 600 IU
• adults up to age 70: 600 IU
• adults over age 70: 800 IU
• pregnant or breastfeeding women: 600 IU