Vitamin D is an essential hormone; it improves immunity; assists in the absorption of important nutrients; increases feel good hormones; and oversees cell activity by acting on the P53 gene, which identifies damaged cells and assists in their self-destruction.
Our bodies need the sun to make Vitamin D.
Those of you who live below 30 degrees latitude have it easy! Just 10-20 minutes of unprotected sun (between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm) can stimulate the production of 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D.
However, those of us in northern climates should be aware of our Vitamin D levels, especially as we head into the dark, winter season. How can we ensure that we have adequate levels of Vitamin D, without the sun's assistance?
I started my inquiry with a "25-OH Vitamin D" blood test issued by my naturopath. The labwork reported a Vitamin D level of 37 ng/mL, which many conventional doctors will state as acceptable. However, research indicates that 60 ng/mL is a desirable level of this crucial hormone.
I was concerned because my blood work was completed in the height of summer; what would happen to my Vitamin D as I headed into the winter months? Some Vitamin D can be stored in fat cells for use in the winter months, but I clearly wasn't producing enough in the summer to have a lot left over.
My naturopath and I developed a plan to increase my Vitamin D through diet and supplementation. Here's what we came up with:
1. Eat fatty cold water fish (either salmon or sardines) once a day. Salmon has about 500 IUs of Vitamin D per serving; sardines about 300 IUs.
2. Take 3 mL of fermented cod liver oil daily (about 1000 IUs). It sounds horrific, but I actually love it. I buy Green Pasture's "Blue Ice Cinnamon Tingle" which contains cinnamon cassia oil and (in my opinion) makes the oil quite tasty.
3. Supplement with 4,000 IU of Primal Sun capsules.
4. Eat good quality egg yolks (about 40 IUs per egg).
I feel like my supplementation is already making a difference. I'm waking up at 5:00 am without an alarm clock, well before the sun has risen. I have completely resisted a nasty cold and a brutal flu bug that are rampaging through my school. Basically, I feel amazing! I will be fascinated to see if I can actually increase my Vitamin D without the sun.
Here's a delicious recipe, combining two sources of Vitamin D: salmon and egg yolks.