6 Ways to Rock Your Vitamin D Supplement
Yes, Vitamin D is important. But to get the benefits, you have to do a bit more than just pop a pill. Here’s how to get the most out of your Vitamin D supplement.
In the last twenty years or so, Vitamin D has gotten a lot of attention. Rightfully so, as that little vitamin D supplement sitting on your nightstand has been linked to bone health, reducing falls in the elderly, helping diabetics, and even aiding those with low testosterone (to name a few). Some scientists have even used it as a treatment with the Swine Flu along with the wonderful Coronavirus we’re all dealing with right now.
It’s even at the point to where most health professionals agree that the recommended dose need a serious upgrade. While not everyone agrees on the optimal intake – with some suggesting up to 5,000 IU a day – most at least reach common ground by consenting that the 400 IU a day standard is nowhere near enough.
That’s especially true for those of us who get to experience this magnificent Michigan weather. Yes, Vitamin D is the sunlight vitamin, but that means diddly-poo for those of us living north of Atlanta Georgia – it’s unlikely our bodies produce any D between November and March. Which makes supplementation all that more important.
But things don’t happen by just popping a capsule or two. I once had a client who was taking 3,000 IU a day and her Vitamin D levels didn’t budge. Her levels were below 20 ng/ml, which is considered an extreme deficiency. Upon talking to her, I discovered she was making a big dietary no-no that prevented her body from absorbing anything. So you have to do some extra work.
With that being said, here are 6 ways to get the most out of your Vitamin D supplement.
- Fat intake. That client I mentioned earlier? Yeah, she wasn’t eating any dietary fat. No almonds, no peanut butter – nothing. With Vitamin D being a fat soluble vitamin, that lack of fat in the diet means the vitamin won’t be absorbed, no matter how much you take. Experts believe that you need more than 10 grams of fat taken with your Vitamin D. A tablespoon of peanut butter, half an avocado, or a tablespoon of olive oil would give you that amount.
- Lack of Magnesium. It’s estimated that nearly ¾ of Americans have low levels of magnesium, which is a mineral that has quite a few jobs to do in the body. Magnesium also helps the body suck up Vitamin D. You’ll need around 400 mg of magnesium a day to keep your Vitamin D levels up.
- Real sunlight. Should you want to go the natural route, exposing your skin to the sun can dramatically increase your Vitamin D levels. However, sunlight through a window doesn’t count; you need direct exposure to the sun. That also means no sun screen, which can get a bit tricky with that whole skin cancer thing. But should you choose to go the route of sunlight, make sure nothing is between those rays and your skin.
- Split It Up. While your body is quite the rockstar, it can’t perform miracles. Asking it to absorb all the Vitamin D you take at once is unreasonable. Your best bet is to break up your doses as a breakfast/dinner thing. So those who consume 1,000 IU a day would do best by taking 500 IU in the morning and then another 500 later on.
- The Right Version. It usually helps to read the fine print. There are several forms of Vitamin D. Make sure to look at the label to ensure you’re getting the D3 form (and not D2). D2 is the plant based version and doesn’t work the magic like D3 does.
- Avoid Cod Liver Oil. Some recommend cod liver oil to get the necessary Vitamin D. They’re not wrong, as it is a good source. It also provides plenty of Vitamin A. So much Vitamin A that by the time you got the Vitamin D you wanted, you’d probably reach toxic levels of Vitamin A. It’s best to avoid this route.
I understand that in 2021, we all thought we’d be getting all of our nutrition through tablet form. While some supplements can help, it’s just not as simple as popping a pill and going about your business. Take these 6 steps to go the most of your Vitamin D supplement.