Hello and welcome to Tip #13 in our Full Year of Resolutions! This week’s tip is all about how you can increase vitamin D to healthy levels for optimal health. This is so important! It’s also fairly easy to do.
The challenging part of this week’s tip is that not all doctors seem to be onboard. We encourage this with all our tips, but especially when it comes to supplementation, we want you to work with your doctor. Vitamin D is so important to your health that we encourage you to find a doctor who recognizes its importance and will help you get to healthier levels.
Fortunately for us, we found a good doctor who wanted our vitamin D levels up to 70 -100 nanograms per milliliter, or ng/ml, and he worked with us to get there.
We Don’t Know That We’re Low
When I first meet with clients, I always ask what their vitamin D levels are. Many of them don’t know. Some of them say their doctor tells them their levels are just fine. I always ask them to bring blood work with them on our second visit. About 80% of my clients have low vitamin D. In fact, vitamin D is the most common deficiency I see amongst all my clients. Most of them are around 30 ng/ml, and their doctor says it’s fine.
If your doctor thinks that 30 ng/ml is okay, you might want to work with a different doctor. Or perhaps have a heart-to-heart with them and explain why that’s simply not enough vitamin D for optimal health.
Chances are, if you’re that low on vitamin D, it’s a contributing factor to any health issues you are having. Working with a doctor who will test you often and help you get to healthy levels of vitamin D can have a significant impact on your health.
Vitamin D and David’s Health
When David first met with Dr. Gundry to review his bloodwork, it showed he had really low levels of vitamin D. He immediately got David on supplementation to get him up to 70-100 ng/ml.
We need more vitamin D than we think. According to Dr. Gundry, most Americans have very low levels of vitamin D. He estimates that in sunny southern California, where his office is based, 80% of his patients are vitamin D deficient. When it comes to his patients who are battling an autoimmune disease, 100% of them have super low vitamin D levels.
We had no idea we were low in vitamin D before we reviewed our blood work with Dr. Gundry. He put us both on 10,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day. After reviewing blood panels again, he raised David’s amount to 15,000 IUs. He’s been supplementing at that amount for 4 years now, which is keeping his levels right at 100 ng/ml. Since reaching that level, he has seen immense improvement in his health and well-being.
The more we’ve studied and learned, the more amazed we’ve become at the power of vitamin D. When we first began working with Dr. Gundry, we realized that David had a leaky gut. When the gut lining is compromised, it can’t do its job of keeping toxins and other harmful things out of your bloodstream. This overwhelms your immune system and makes you susceptible to viruses and compromises your health in many ways. Vitamin D stimulates the stem cells in your small intestines, which helps them to heal the gut lining. This in turn is a great protection to your immune system.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in children with severe malnutrition. It is very difficult to cure malnourishment because the gut becomes too damaged to process food. An important study found that when given 200,000 IUs (a very high dose) each day, children in Pakistan were able to heal from malnutrition. This life-changing outcome was attributed to the fact that the vitamin D helped to heal the gut wall.
In addition to gut health, this vitamin is very important because it helps the liver process calcium, resulting in stronger bones. Most of my clients with osteopenia or osteoporosis have really low levels of vitamin D. And these conditions are frighteningly common – 1 out of 3 women and 1 of 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. This is avoidable with healthier levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D increases brain health and helps prevent autoimmune diseases, mental health problems, and cardiovascular disease. If I haven’t convinced you yet, this should get your attention… There is a well-documented link between vitamin D intake and risk of cancer. In addition, vitamin D deficiency is associated with sleep disorders, as it helps regulate sleep. You’ve already heard us talk about the importance of sleep, as it truly is the foundation of our health.
Wow! Vitamin D really is a nutritional superpower! And it’s pretty easy to increase vitamin D and add more of it to your regimen. Here are some effective ways to boost the vitamin D in your life:
Catch Some Rays
Did you know that humans now spend less time in the sun than at any other point in human history? Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin for a reason; we make 90% of our vitamin D from exposure to the sun. Because of fears of skin cancer and aging skin due to sun exposure, we carefully slather on the sunscreen and stay under an umbrella. But in doing so, we’ve actually screened out some of the good sun we need.
Of course there is still need to be careful of overexposure to sun. And if you know you’re at risk for cancer from the sun, you’ll have to be more careful. ‘Start low and go slow’ is our motto when it comes to sunshine. The best time of day to get some sunshine is between 10:00-4:00. Be cautious and smart as to how you go about it, but sun exposure is a wonderful (and necessary!) way to naturally increase your levels of vitamin D.
Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of sun needed. You’d think with how much David is in the sunshine with his love of fishing, cycling, and pickleball that he wouldn’t need so much supplementation, but he does. Some people simply don’t convert the sun to vitamin D very well. If that’s you, you probably need to supplement in other ways as well.
Take a Supplement
One of the reasons it is so easy to increase vitamin D is because it rarely has any bad side effects. Vitamin D3 is the recommended form, as it increases vitamin D levels overall in the blood more effectively than other D vitamins. Dr. Gundry had us take the Nature Made Vitamin D3 supplement from Costco. This one gives you 5000 IUs per pill, so we started by taking two per day and then adjusted as needed with frequent monitoring. There are many excellent D3 supplements out there.
Eat Your D
It is possible to consume vitamin D naturally, but it is not naturally present in many foods. Oily fish, such as herring, swordfish, and cod, have high levels of vitamin D. Certain types of mushrooms (dried shiitake, raw maitake) also have high amounts.
Greens are another great natural source of vitamin D. We’ve talked in previous tips about ways to add more greens to your diet. Leafy greens are particularly nutrient-dense. Organ meats are also highly nutritious. They’re especially rich in vitamins A, B, D, E, and K. I’m still working on trying to increase my organ meat consumption, but David loves this healthy recipe for liver with onions and mushrooms. He says it’s the best liver he’s ever had.
Boost Your Health with the Power of D
This tip truly has a whole lot of ‘bang for the buck’ and is so simple to add to your health regimen. When you get your bloodwork done at your next checkup, ask your doctor to check your levels of vitamin D. For most people, all it takes is a simple finger poke. When the results come in, work with your doctor to get to that healthy 70-100 ng/ml range and increase your Vitamin D.
We’ll talk more about this and other tips on our free monthly coaching call. Just text COACHING to 1-647-558-9895 to get on our email reminder list for all of our More Than Healthy coaching events.
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