Boost your Immunity with Vitamin D
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is actually considered a pro-hormone and not truly a vitamin. While vitamins are nutrients that cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through diet or supplements, the body is capable of producing its own vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin.
Where can Vitamin D be found?
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. Regular sun exposure can stimulate human skin to produce adequate quantities of vitamin D. Sunlight is the largest single source of vitamin D for most people. Small quantities can also be found in foods such as fortified milk and other dairy products, fatty fish, and egg yolks.
Is that enough?
A daily dose of 1000 IU is recommended to ward off chronic disease. To get enough Vitamin D, it is estimated that sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per week allows the body the ability to produce enough vitamin D. However, Vitamin D can stay stored in the body’s fats for up to one month, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter. Things like pollution, use of sunscreen, spending more time indoors, working long hours in offices and away from a window or living in big cities where buildings block sunlight can greatly impede your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D.
A study conducted by the University of Maine has shown that people living above the 44th parallel (North of Philadelphia) are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D by the end of the winter, even with a good diet.
What does Vitamin D do?
Vitamin D promotes healthy bones by helping the absorption of calcium in bones. A vitamin D deficiency as an older adult could lead to osteoporosis. Also, Vitamin D is a great supporter of the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system. Children given 1,200 IU of vitamin D per day for 4 months during the winter reduced their risk of influenza A infection by over 40% (source). It is also shown to reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Furthermore, it is shown to decrease your chance of developing heart disease, according to 2008 findings published in Circulation.
Should you supplement?
If you are living in Canada, chances are you’re not getting enough Vitamin D in the winter. As the days get shorter, it becomes harder and harder to get the minimum requirements to keep a strong immune system and more people get sick. Talk to your chiropractor, naturopath or family doctor about what kind of supplements would be best for you and what quantities you should be taking.
Want to learn more about the benefits of Chiropractic and Massage Therapy? Please schedule an appointment with any of our Chiropractors or Registered Massage Therapists by calling 613.860.8600 for our Byward location, and 613.237.9000 for our Glebe location.