Nutrition nerds everywhere are celebrating as vitamin D finally gets its place in the sun this year. It may be the complex and unfortunate events of the pandemic that has everyone taking more of the essential supplement, but with such a breadth of benefits, we’re hopeful about vitamin D supplementation finally getting the attention it deserves. Here’s why…
Unfortunately, over 40% of the adult population in the U.S. are considered ‘clinically insufficient’ in vitamin D. While many of us know that sun exposure and foods like eggs and coldwater fish provide some level of vitamin D intake, it’s said that over 90% of the U.S. population fails to consume even just 400 IU of vitamin D per day through food.
When you consider that doctors from Dr. Mark Hyman to mindbodygreen’s Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., R.D.N. agree that 5000+ IU of vitamin D is more appropriate for most adults, the dietary gap becomes starkly clear.
“Unless you’re eating 30 ounces of wild salmon a day or downing 10 tablespoons of cod liver oil with breakfast, you might need to start taking a supplement to make sure you’re getting optimal levels.” – Dr. Mark Hyman to mindbodygreen
While some of us have access to lots of sun and get a ton of the “sunshine vitamin” through daily exposure, most of us spend the majority of our day indoors — and when we do venture out, we slather up in sunscreen. Those basic daily lifestyle factors can hinder optimal vitamin levels, and, as we age, our bodies also slow down overall production of natural vitamin D.
Yes, vitamin D is a vitamin, but what many people don’t realize is that it is also a “preprohormone”. Active in the body, vitamin D actually behaves as a hormone!
+ It supports immunity.* Optimal vitamin D levels have been shown to positively affect the immune system in a variety of ways, including supporting white blood cell function, helping the immune system adapt to and ward off threats, and more.*
A deficiency in vitamin D has also been associated with a variety of autoimmune issues.
+ It promotes gut health.* Vitamin D has been shown to play a role in promoting beneficial gut bacteria, which, in turn, have a positive effect on gut function and metabolism.*
A variety of studies have shown that vitamin D plays a key role in the health and integrity of the gut mucosal lining, which acts as a barrier between your digestive system and bloodstream.*
+ It helps support thyroid health.* An estimated 20 million people in the United States have some type of thyroid disorder. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in thyroid health as it helps regulate the production of thyroid hormones* which have widespread, multifaceted functions in the body including metabolism, weight, mood, the sleep cycle, musculoskeletal health, reproductive health, and immunity. Thyroid hormones also play a role in keeping your hair, skin, and nails youthful and strong.
One interesting fact about supplements and nutrition that most consumers don’t understand is the difference between NIH’s daily recommended intake and the intake required for ‘optimal health’.
According to Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., R.D.N., “The NIH recommends 200 to 600 IUs of vitamin D a day. That’s the amount to prevent rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency. This is not a goal to aim for but rather a minimum to avoid.”
Ferira and many other trusted nutrition and medical experts believe that 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily is the true goal for vitamin D sufficiency. Ferira even states that some supplement companies assume that consumers will simply take more of their vitamin D supplements (of 400 – 2,000 IU) “as needed”.
If you’re a nutrition nerd or someone with a deeper interest in the fine print on vitamin D, we’ve got you: scroll to the bottom of our story for a few more in-depth details on vitamin D levels and testing.
We know our readers are pretty savvy on the basics of wellness, including essential supplements like Vitamin C, D, probiotics and daily greens.
Before Covid-19 entered the chat, perhaps some of us considered a solid dose of sunshine, and maybe a little cod liver oil everyday, enough vitamin D supplementation unto itself, but as the importance of our immunity has peaked, most of us are learning that it’s just not enough.
We asked frequent TCM contributor, Dr. Maya Feller to weigh in on vitamin D deficiency and she told us:
“Many of my patients have increased the amount of time they spend indoors, as a result, I’ve seen an increase in vitamin D deficiency.
Dr. Maya Feller
“Globally, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency impacts approximately 1 Billion people. The reasons are multifactorial and can include limited intake of vitamin D-rich foods as well as limited exposure to natural UVB. Taking a high-quality bioavailable source of Vitamin D can help to bridge the gap. vitamin D3 potency+ is the ideal form of this essential micronutrient and delivers 5000 IU that supports whole-body health.”
If you read The Chalkboard regularly, chances are you’ve also been a long time fan of mindbodygreen as well. Their cutting edge line of supplements has quickly become a reputable resource for us and we’ve been truly impressed by the research behind their formulations.
Here’s what makes mindbodygreen’s vitamin D3 potency+ so notable:
+ Its (almost) vegan — and wildly sustainable. Yes, the gelcap is gelatin, as that’s the most natural way to go these days, but mindbodygreen sources 5,000 IU (125 mcg) of extremely rare, sustainably sourced algal vitamin D3 (as VegD3®) for this — the purest form of plant-origin vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in the world.
+ At 5,000 IU per capsule, we’re happy to see that this supplement is more potent than some popular everyday supplements available out there, many at 1-2,000 IU per serving. If there is one thing you take away from this story, keep the number ‘5,000 IU’ in mind when you shop for vitamin D*. As always, testing your vitamin levels with your doctor will give you the most effective and accurate information.
+ Organic extra virgin olive, flaxseed and avocado oils have been added to this supplement because vitamin D is more bioavailable when consumed with healthy fats. You get the additional benefits of these omega-rich oils daily:
Avocado is rich in the omega-9 fatty acid known to have anti-inflammatory properties and support metabolic health.*
Flaxseed delivers a powerful source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.*
Extra virgin olive oil is concentrated in oleic acid, the celebrated, heart-healthy unsaturated fat that predominates the Mediterranean diet.*
Vitamin D is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies that is practically impossible to restore naturally. We love that mindbodygreen’s vitamin D3 potency+ is optimized with absorption technology for bone, muscle and immune health — and we’re impressed they’ve done it with an algae-based formula!
Some of the most common signs of vitamin D deficiency include:
Whether you have marked symptoms of a deficiency or not, Director of Scientific Affairs for mindbodygreen, Ashley Jordan Ferira, PhD, RDN shared with us that, “While some supplements are needed on an individual and targeted basis, a vitamin D supplement is unique because it’s relevant to almost everyone. Our diet simply isn’t cutting it for this particular micronutrient.”
“We also know that relying on variable sun exposure won’t cut it, and comes with its own set of risks. Without a vitamin D3 supplement, the likelihood that you’re vitamin D deficient (25-hydroxyvitamin D blood level < 20 ng/ml) or insufficient (< 30 ng/ml) is high.*
Optimize your health. For a limited time, get an exclusive 20% off your first month of vitamin D3 potency+ subscription with mindbodygreen using code CHALKBOARD20 Every mindbodygreen supplement is fairly priced and sustainably sourced — get set up with the monthly supplements you need easily — and for a great deal! — while it lasts.
As promised, here is a bit more fine print on measuring your vitamin D levels for those who want to dive deeper…
+ Pivotal pharmacokinetic research demonstrates that 1,000 IU of vitamin D will increase a normal-weight adult’s 25(OH)D level by about 10 ng/ml. So, 3,000 IU would bump us up to 30 ng/ml (but don’t stop there; this is the boundary for insufficiency), while 5,000 IU would help us achieve 50 ng/ml. That’s the math.
+ Sufficient vitamin D levels—which are measured via blood work using the biomarker total 25-hydroxyvitamin D [or 25(OH)D, for short]—are considered to be greater than 30 ng/mL.
To consistently exceed this mark (remember, 30 is the starting point, not the goal), research shows you need a minimum of 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 every day.*
+ If you want to become more intimately acquainted with your vitamin D status, plus track the success of and individualize your supplementation regimen, you can ask your health care provider to measure your serum 25(OH)D level.
This story is brought to you in partnership with mindbodygreen. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.