Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Don’t overlook vitamin D in boosting immunity

November 11, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has infected millions of people in the United States and continues to spread faster than many expected. Without a vaccine, experts say the best way to avoid infection is to wash your hands regularly, practice social distancing, wear a mask and keep your immune system healthy.

Most people think first of vitamin C when considering immunity, but overlook another powerful vitamin that boosts their immune systems. And the best thing about this vitamin is they can get it for free.

Vitamin D is a unique vitamin most people don’t get enough of. By one estimate, 40 percent of American adults suffer a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin because it is produced naturally when skin is exposed directly to sunlight. Unless you live in the northern part of the country, 20 minutes to 30 minutes of direct sunshine on your arms, legs and face several times a week should be enough to provide the vitamin D you need.

Vitamin D has long been recognized for its essential role in bone health. Working in concert with other vitamins, minerals and hormones, vitamin D promotes bone mineralization.

Lack of vitamin D can lead to a loss of bone density that can contribute to osteoporosis and broken bones. In children, a vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a rare disease that makes bones weak and soft, stunts growth and, in severe cases, leads to skeletal deformities.

What many don’t know is that vitamin D provides other health benefits:

Fights disease: Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system and regulating cell growth and differentiation. A study suggests supplemental vitamin D could help prevent cancer, in particular breast, colon and prostate cancers.

Combats depression: Research has shown vitamin D could play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a lessening of their symptoms.

Promotes weight loss: Some evidence suggests getting enough vitamin D could enhance weight loss and decrease body fat. This study found that women who fulfilled their vitamin D requirements experienced more weight loss.

Researchers are also studying vitamin D for its possible connections to several medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and such autoimmune conditions as multiple sclerosis.

Most people don’t get enough vitamin D from their diets because few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Depending on where you live, the time of year and other environmental factors, you might not get enough vitamin D from the sun, either.

Here are some examples of people who might benefit from vitamin D supplements:

Vegans who avoid foods rich in vitamin D.

People who’ve undergone bariatric or gastric bypass procedures that affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Older people who’re less likely to spend time outdoors and whose systems are less efficient in synthesizing vitamin D from food.

People with darker skin tones who require more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as light-skinned people.

Supplementing with vitamin D is critical for so many people. But not all supplements are manufactured in a way that’s easily absorbed or have been tested for purity and efficacy. 

Use a vitamin D supplement that provides 2,000 international units of cholecalciferol, the most potent form of vitamin D.

Use a supplement that represents the culmination of recent scientific research, including two industry leading vitamin D studies. 

Use a supplement clinically proven to deliver vitamin D3 into the bloodstream to aid in calcium absorption to maintain strong bones and teeth, support a healthy heart and immune system and facilitate healthy cell development.

It’s important, too, to use a vitamin D supplement that’s gluten free and contains no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives.

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