I was so happy to see the sunshine this weekend even though it was still a bit brisk. Getting out in the sun has been shown to boost your immune system as well as mood. In the meantime, optimizing your vitamin D level as well as the special happy lights can help you combat the dreary blah days. I have written about vitamin D before but it is such an important hormone I want to revisit this.
Vitamin D is a hormone that helps build bone, keep your brain young, helps mood, fight cancer as well as many other indirect functions. Everyone is always surprised when they have low vitamin D levels but I see this more often than not. If you are not taking vitamin D and don’t just live in the sun like a lifeguard then you are probably low. How do you know? Measure it!
If you don’t know which vitamin D to take and what your level should be then read on for 3 key tips….
- Goal of vitamin D levels
- Vitamin D 25 OH (hydroxy) is the primary marker. While normal ranges are quite wide, optimal ranges that I target are between 60-80. If you have had any type of cancer then I target 80-100.
- Pair high doses of D with K2
- Always take vitamin D3 as this is what our body is built for and have receptors to recognize this form. Most of the prescription 50,000 IU are vitamin D 2 and this is why they don’t always work as well. So many times, practitioners have the right idea of starting someone on high dose vitamin D and tell them to take it for a few months and then stop. The minute you stop the levels are going to plummet again! It is important to measure your level about 3 months after starting vitamin D to make sure what you are taking is working and that you are not getting too much. Vitamin D is fat soluble which means our body can store it so there is a risk of toxicity especially if the levels go above 100. In the future, the acceptable level might increase but for now this is the general target zone.
- How much to take?
- If you have a below the reference range of vitamin D then you will need at least 10,000 IU daily. Vitamin D is best absorbed when taking with a main meal. Anytime you take above 5000 IU of vitamin D at a time, you should have K2 in the same capsule to help guide this into the bones rather than creating an opportunity for calcium to bind to the arteries and form plaque. If you have bone loss, then pick a vitamin D that has more K2 in it as studies with K2 indicate more bone building! (Try our K force for this)
If raising the vitamin D level is not enough to get your mood to bounce back on dark days then invest in one of the sun lamps specifically created for seasonal affective disorder. There are a multitude of “happy lights” and these can really help!
Vitamin D has also been shown to have protection against viruses especially ones like the flu. Taking 50,000 IU three days in a row has been shown to be efficacious as the flu vaccine. This is one of the reasons I have the 50,000 IU three days in a row when someone gets the flu or covid!
To your health,