4 Things to Know Before Taking a Vitamin D Supplement for Immune Support
We’ve heard a lot about Vitamin D in this past year. Some believe Vitamin D can play a role in improving COVID-19 outcomes, and researchers are asking for funding so that they can conduct studies to prove it.
So it’s understandable that more and more people want to take a Vitamin D supplement for immune support.
The evidence that Vitamin D strongly supports the immune system already exists.
Here’s what we do know:
During the Influenza pandemic, more people died in the winter than in the summer. Research links this higher mortality rate to lack of sunshine (Vitamin D).
Vitamin D sufficiency provides better outcomes in patients with pneumonia.
Vitamin D deficiency has been directly linked to ARDS (one of the leading causes of death in COVID infections).
There’s a connection between Vitamin D deficiency and susceptibility to infections and pathogens.
More research is needed before we can state that Vitamin D can prevent or help fight COVID-19. But it's clear that it supports our immune system to fight outside pathogens and infections.
So yes, we do advocate the use of Vitamin D supplements. But we also believe education is key. And there are 4 things we want you to know.
Taking a Vitamin D Supplement for Immune Support: What You Need to Know
1 - Knowing If You’re a Candidate for Vitamin D supplements
You might ask yourself who needs to supplement with Vitamin D, and whether you’re one of those people. And that’s a great question.
Firstly, are you part of an at-risk group? These include:
Individuals with dark skin - higher levels of melanin mean the skin synthesizes sunlight at a slower rate.
Overweight individuals - the body is less able to convert the vitamin into its hormonally active form.
Anyone who is homebound or otherwise unable to go outside often, and therefore might lack sunlight exposure.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women - there are two of you to think of now!
If you are in one of the at-risk groups, then you absolutely should supplement with Vitamin D.
You can also read our blog Five Tell-Tale Signs You Need More Vitamin D to see whether you might be deficient.
What if you aren’t in the at-risk group?
We still recommend it.
During colder months and when we spend most of our time at home, we receive less Vitamin D and can become deficient. If you aren’t deficient in Vitamin D, supplementing is still worthwhile, as getting higher doses of Vitamin D comes with many benefits.
2 - Choosing the right type
Fun fact! Vitamin D is in fact not a vitamin; it’s a hormone. This is because it’s produced naturally by the body. Nonetheless, there are two forms of Vitamin D: D2 and D3.
- D2 is the kind produced by invertebrates (like funghi and plants) during the same process.
- D3 is the kind our skin produces when we are exposed to sunlight.
D2 is only 10 to 30% as effective as D3. It’s also more sensitive to humidity and temperature, so its quality may deteriorate faster than D3.
D3 is therefore the preferred form for supplementing with, because it’s more potent. That’s why our Battle On Immune Support Capsules (Save 30% with code IMMUNE30 at checkout) contain the D3 strand. They also contain a good dose of K2. Which brings us to our next point.
3 - Combining Vitamin D with K2.
They’ve been dubbed “The Perfect Pair” and “The Dynamic Duo”.
Vitamin D releases some K-dependent proteins. This means they can only be activated by the presence of Vitamin K. These proteins are needed for regulating blood clotting and lung health among many other benefits.
Vitamin K also helps direct the calcium that Vitamin D metabolizes to the right places in the body (the bones). Without K2, calcium can build up in the wrong places, clogging the arteries and soft tissue.
Aside from its role in complementing Vitamin D, Vitamin K has a number of health-promoting properties itself. Including immune-supporting properties.
4 - Getting the Dosage Right
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D is between 400 IU and 600 IU per day, depending on which country you live in.
Yet you’ll often find supplements offering up to 10,000 IU per capsule.
So why the discrepancy?
When research around the benefits of Vitamin D first began, the main goal was to maintain bone health and prevent rickets and osteomalacia. The research did not consider the way Vitamin D can support the immune system against other diseases.
But we know a lot more now than we used to, and many scientists are calling for a revision of the recommended daily intake.
There have been concerns over Vitamin D toxication, which some experts now say can be negated by taking Vitamin K2.
It’s worth noting that a light-skinned person can produce 20,000 IU of Vitamin D in 20 minutes of sunbathing. This demonstrates our physiological capacity to handle a large amount of Vitamin D.
Overall, if you’re planning on taking Vitamin D for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to monitor your levels with periodic blood scans.
You should also consult with your doctor if you have pre-existing health conditions.
We hope this helps you feel empowered to take control of your health and support your immune system, especially in light of the current pandemic.
Please note that the information provided is not intended to be prescriptive. We encourage you to check out the research that supports this article using the sources we provide below, as well as conduct your own research.
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Blog Credit to:
Carly Forsaith - Copywriter