“Vitamin D isn’t just the most important supplement, it’s probably the most important biohack from the world of anti-aging and human performance.”— Dave Asprey
Vitamin D provides energy, decreases the chance of long term health risks, increases overall daily performance, and most importantly, optimizes quality of life. I know many people who have significantly changed their lives by beginning to supplement Vitamin D. I have witnessed close friends demolish anxiety disorders, breathe life into under-active libidos, lose 30+ pounds of fat, and even eliminate the mid-afternoon “brain fog” by adding this awesome supplement to their daily routines.
More people need to know about the short AND long term benefits of this awesome vitamin hormone. Here are the 5 things everyone should know about Vitamin D
1) Having insufficient Vitamin D levels could seriously limit how long you live
50% of all Americans are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency or insuffiency. Insufficient Vitamin D levels can be associated with:
· Increased loss of muscle strength
· Increased risk of cancer
· Decreased immunity
· Higher blood pressure
· Development of neurological disorders
· Development of diabetes
· Decreased libido
· Increased stress, anxiety, and depression
· Decreased testosterone and estrogen
2) Vitamin D is a rockstar pro-hormone
It is responsible for:
· Regulation of Calcium and Phosphorus absorption
· Facilitation of muscle contractions
· Maintenance of healthy bones/teeth
· Support of immune system
· Support brain/nervous system
· Regulation of insulin and aid in diabetes management
· Support of lung/cardiovascular function
· Elevating mood and energy
3) How It Works
Long Story-Short: Sun hits skin > Makes Vitamin D (non-active form) > Liver and kidney make active form of Vitamin D > Vitamin D goes to work.
The nitty-gritty science of the process is as follows (feel free to skip this part):
First: Ultra Violet B light waves make contact with the skin, then interact with cholesterol derivatives in the epithelial tissue, thus synthesizing Vitamin D3.
Second: Vitamin D3 is then sent to the liver to be converted to “25-hydroxycholecalciferol” (this is actually a pro-hormone).
Third: The pro-hormone is passed along to the kidneys where it is converted to its active from: “1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol” (aka calcitriol).
Fourth: Calcitriol is released back into the blood stream where it will regulate how our bodies use Calcium and Phosphorus.
And what’s the big deal with Calcium and Phosphorus? These bad boys play major roles in controlling muscle contractions, transmitting messages throughout the nervous system, and stimulating hormone secretion.
4) How much Vitamin D should be present in our blood and how can we control that?
Vitamin D is measured in “nanomoles per liter of liter of blood” aka nmol/L. Here’s a breakdown of how your Vitamin D levels could look:
o Deficient: <20 nmol/L
o Insufficient: 20–29 nmol/L
o Sufficient: 30–49 nmol/L
o Optimal: 70–100 nmol/L
Testing for Vitamin D requires a blood test, specifically a “ 25(OH)D blood test.” You can ask your doctor to do this at a regular physical, just ask.
The government and many health agencies recommend we have “sufficient” levels of Vitamin D in our blood. But “optimal” levels are where we can actually GAIN ADVANTAGES. This is where we see massive improvements in major areas of our lives.
“Men who took 3,000 IUs of Vitamin D per day for a year had a 25% increasein testosterone compared to the placebo group.” This is huge for human performance and anti-aging.
5) Three ways to raise your Vitamin D levels
1. Ultra Violet B Exposure: In most states, we have a very small seasonal window of time we can actually get “enough” UVB light. We need the following conditions to reach sufficient levels:
· 30 minutes of sunlight exposure per day
· Between 11am-3pm
· Between Late May and early September
· Increased skin exposure = less clothes
2. Ingestion of Vitamin D-rich foods: Consuming 100 IUs of Vitamin D will translate roughly into +2.5 nmol/L of Vitamin D levels in the blood. (There are variables to this equation, see end of article to see if they apply to you) In order to get your volumes to “sufficient,” the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee recommends that we, as adults, consume 2,000 IUs per day.
How it works: Ingestion of Vitamin D starts at the “SECOND” step from above. Vitamin D is digested, sent to blood stream, and subsequently reaches your liver.
Examples of Vitamin D-rich foods —
§ Egg yolks: 40 IUs
§ Fortified Milk: 120 IUs
§ 6oz of Salmon: 1500 IUs
3. Supplementation of Vitamin D
Recommended Vitamin D supplementation is roughly 1,000 IUs per 25 lbs of body weight. It is best to take Vitamin D in the morning as it is absorbed and activated more efficiently throughout the day. Vitamin D is also inversely related to melatonin, so it presents a clear conflict with achieving quality sleep if taken at night.
To reach OPTIMAL LEVELS of VITAMIN D we should start by evaluating our diet and UVB light exposure. If we can make small tweaks to our day and enhance this naturally, great! However, for those of us who have day jobs and live in New England it’s probably best to supplement Vitamin D to reach OPTIMAL levels.
When making changes to your diet, supplementing or finding ways to get more sun exposure, please consult your physician.
After making changes, blood tests will show that it sometimes takes 30–45 days to actually see results in your Vitamin D blood levels.
Vitamin D Variables
There are variables in people’s ability to activate Vit D3 effeciently.
· Aging can decrease our ability to “activate” Vit D by 75%
· People with darker skin filter out the UV B light decreasing the interaction between cholesterol derivatives and the light, thus decreasing activation of Vit D 3.
· Adipose tissue can “trap” Vitamin D leading to a 55% loss in blood levels for those carrying excess fat.
· Glass blocks UVB in sunlight. Great for preventing skin cancer, bad for Vitamin D production.
Vitamin D has been gaining popularity over the past 5 years and rightfully so. It began as just another vitamin the government encouraged you to be aware of to maintain sufficient levels of health. More recently, it is being described as a “performance enhancement vitamin,” which is why people are paying more attention to this pro-hormone, and you should too.
Cheers to Vitamin D,
Joe Drain CSCS
- Andrews, Ryan. All about Vitamin D. Retrieved fromwww.precisionnutrition.com
- Asprey, Dave. The Bulletproof Diet. New York: Rodale Inc., 2014. Rodale Inc, New York.
- Dr. Holick, Michael (2013). Vitamin D Solution. Retrieved fromwww.Drholick.com
- Dr. Mercola, Joseph (2012). Vitamin D — One of the Simplest Solutions to wide ranging health problems. Retrieved from www.mercola.com
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements(2014, November 10th). Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from ods.od.nih.gov
- Thomas, Susan (2015, May 7th).The Balance of Calcium and Phosphorus. Retrieved from www.livestrong.com