The Basics of Vitamin D Supplementation
More and more research is being devoted to studying Vitamin D. As some may know, Vitamin D is essential in the formation of strong bones, but it also helps keep thyroid function at optimal, aids in the release of testosterone, and enhances immune function (1). However, it’s estimated than more than half of Americans are Vitamin D deficient; and this is bad because if the body is lacking Vitamin D, then the small intestine can only absorb around 10% of the calcium you take in (2).
Low Vitamin D may be a culprit if you’re currently involved in a weight loss war. There seems to be a link between low testosterone and Vitamin D levels; testosterone helps us maintain our muscle mass while promoting fat metabolism in the body. If you want to get a bit technical, there’s also a theory going around that Vitamin D may help obese people lose weight. The concept here is that adequate Vitamin D acts like a sunlight sensor, and this sensor helps control energy balance.
Speaking of sunlight, Vitamin D is already in the body: it’s a matter of getting around 15 minutes of sunlight a day for your kidneys and liver to activate it. However, living in Michigan means we may go a week without seeing the sun, so Vitamin D supplements may be called for. If that’s the case, the safe upper limit set forth for supplementation is 2,000 IU a day. However, keep in mind that there is a strong connection between Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin A – and sometimes a deficiency in one of these may prevent Vitamin D levels from getting to a normal level.
1. Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing: Fifth Edition. New York; Avery. 2010; pp 27-28
2. Holick, Michael F. “Vitamin D: Importance in the Prevention of Cancers, Type 1 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Osteoporosis.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.(2004) 79:3, 362-371