We recently set our clocks back an hour, and now we’re marching toward the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. That means we’re all about to get a lot less sunlight (and therefore a lot less Vitamin D).
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know my deep love for Vitamin D. Ongoing research points to Vitamin D being good for pretty much everything under the sun (pun intended). It’s been a while since I sang the praises of this supernutrient. Despite its critical role in our health, many of us are still deficient in Vitamin D. Unfortunately, this is the time of year when we need it most, and our bodies are least able to produce it.
If you are new, hi! So happy you found me. I will summarize several of my previous articles so you’ll be caught up.
If you’ve been with me for a while, perhaps you might consider sharing this article with someone who needs it (which is pretty much everybody, as we’ll see).
Vitamin D: Our Hero Supplement!
According to the CDC, Heart disease, cancer, and COVID-19 are the top three causes of death in the United States and account for more than half the deaths in the country. Can you guess what vitamin has been linked to reducing mortality in all 3 instances?
#1 Cause of Death in the US
Vitamin D deficiency is clearly linked to cardiovascular diseases, and some studies point to vitamin D supplements lowering the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
“Clinical studies have generally demonstrated an independent association between vitamin D deficiency and various manifestations of degenerative cardiovascular disease…”[Link]
“These findings indicate that vitamin D supplementation might reduce the incidence of major cardiovascular events, particularly myocardial infarction and coronary revascularisation.” [Link]
#2 Cause of Death in the US
Vitamin D is shown to increase cancer survival. “Although Vitamin D supplementation did not significantly reduce the total incidence of invasive cancer, it was associated with a reduction in total cancer mortality.” [Link]
#3 Cause of Death in the US
Much like cardiovascular disease, vitamin D deficiency is fairly clearly linked to the likelihood of being infected by COVID. It’s harder to prove (and will take longer to document) the impact that vitamin D supplementation has on preventing and surviving COVID. Studies are ongoing and do show evidence of the efficacy of vitamin D supplements.
#8 Cause of Death in the US
Vitamin D lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, affecting 10% of all Americans (13% of adults and 26% of adults over 65)
“Anastassios G. Pittas, MD, from Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, examined the results of 3 large trials to evaluate whether vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk for progression to diabetes in people with prediabetes.1 The results of all 3 trials indicated that vitamin D supplementation decreased diabetes risk by approximately 13% among patients with prediabetes.” [Link]
Other sources cite a link between low Vitamin D and mortality from any cause. [Link]
Bottom line? If you are looking for a single supernutrient supplement that will prevent or help you through heart disease, cancer, COVID, and diabetes, you’ve got it—you need Vitamin D!
The Sunshine Vitamin That’s a Simple Solution
Testing for Vitamin D Deficiency
If you’re wondering how to test vitamin D levels, you’ll be pleased to hear it’s extremely easy. Vitamin D deficiency is simple to test for—any practitioner’s office can draw a blood test.
It appears that optimal Vitamin D levels are between 60–80 ng/ml—and for many Americans, this can be achieved with a 4000 IU daily supplement dosing.
In Canada, it is recommended for kids to get 1000 IU daily. I mention Canadian dosing only because here in America we are still struggling with the importance of Vitamin D, so data for recommendations for screening and supplementation are severely lagging.
Choosing the Right Source of Vitamin D
Like so many supplements, just because the bottle says “Vitamin D” doesn’t mean you’re getting the right kind of vitamin D that your body needs. In this video, I break down the different kinds of vitamin D you may be purchasing
To make matters worse, some supplements lie about their ingredients. I wrote an article about this recently, as well as providing guidance on how to safely source supplements.
But if you would prefer to skip the research, here is the source of vitamin D I recommend for safety and bioavailability.
Bonus: If You Only Take 3 Supplements…
So now you know my recommendation if you had to pick only one supplement. What if you needed to stick to 3 … or 5 supplements? In other words, what is the wise place to get started?
I’m often asked, “If you had to pick only 3 supplements to recommend to me, what would they be?” Here is my answer. You need a quality multi-vitamin, a good source of Vitamin D, and you need to boost your Omega 3 fatty acids. If you can invest further in your health, I also recommend a strong source of probiotics and a detox formula. If you are new to supplements and looking for a safe, reliable way to boost your overall health, here are the must-haves to get started:
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