5 Reasons to Take Vitamin D
Are you taking Vitamin D? If not – then you should re-consider. Living in Michigan means that us residents reside in a Batcave and don’t get to see the sun several months out of the year. I hear it from clients more and more who are told that they are deficient in Vitamin D but have no idea how to fix it. Personally, I would classify Vitamin D as one of the few supplements worth spending your money on.
But when it comes to Vitamin D, people always want to know the best sources of vitamin D. There’s some in seafood, and dairy products are fortified with Vitamin D, but your best supply actually comes from the Sun. Well, not exactly: the sun simply triggers signals in the body and the liver and kidneys go to work to eventually supply us with Vitamin D. If you can get outdoors on a sunny day for a solid 20 minutes (three-four days a week) you should actually be all set with your Vitamin D needs.
The problem for us folks in the mid-west is that the sun likes to play tricks on us and only seems to come out when we’re confined to the indoors. You can supplement with Vitamin D (make sure the label says that the ingredient is Vitamin D3-there’s a technical name for it, but just look for D3) but the most popular question is how much vitamin D is too much? The RDA is 400IU, but that’s just enough to prevent the onset of rickets. Researchers have concluded that 2,000 IU is safe for consumption; in fact, scientists believe that up to 10,000 IU per day is safe without any toxic side effects – although that much may not be needed (1).
With that cleared up, let’s talk about some benefits of Vitamin D:
- Living Longer – Heck, that sounds like a benefit! In all seriousness, there’s been a relationship between low circulating Vitamin D levels an mortality (2). So, if you want to live longer make sure you’re getting some quality rays outside of taking a good Vitamin D supplement.
- Falls – It’s possible that Vitamin D can help prevent falls in the elderly. In a nutshell, Vitamin D improves the efficiency of the nervous system.
- Testosterone Production – Vitamin D may help the body’s production of Vitamin D. Here’s the kicker though: if you’re testosterone is normal, Vitamin D won’t do much to increase it. However, those with low testosterone can benefit from adequate Vitamin D levels since there seems to be a connection between low Vitamin D and testosterone.
- Blood Pressure – Research lends itself to helping lower blood pressure. As a disclaimer, Vitamin D won’t make dramatic changes in your BP overnight, but it appears to help lower it over time. One study found that women who supplemented with Vitamin D lowered their blood pressure by nearly 10% (3).
- Weight Loss – Vitamin D may help you lose weight. Now before you shutdown your PC and bolt out the door, understand this: Vitamin D supplementation may help those who are overweight lose a bit of weight – it won’t give you six pack abs if you’re already at a good weight. Keep in mind that most of these benefits occur when you supplement because of a deficiency and not because you’re taking Vitamin D.
Are we caught up on the benefits of Vitamin D? It’s not by any means a complete list, but it shows that supplementing with Vitamin D (if you have low levels) can help you live longer, lose some weight, and live a healthy life.
1. Vieth, R. “Vitamin D Supplementation, 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations, and Safety” (1999) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69;5, 842-856
2. Melamed, M.L. et al. “25 Hydroxyvitamin D Levels and the Risk of Mortality in the General Population” (2008) Archives of Internal Medicine 168;15, 1629-1637
3. Pfeifer, M. et al. “Effects of a Short Term Vitamin D3 and Calcium Supplementation on Blood Pressure and Parathyroid Hormone Levels in Elderly Women.” (2001) Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 86;4,