Anyone who hears me talk about health and nutrition knows I am a part of the Vitamin D Revolution. Vitamin D is used by the body for a host of health systems including your bones, muscles, heart, immune function, and more. That’s why they call it an “essential” vitamin!
And unfortunately, too many people are not getting enough Vitamin D. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the overall rate of Vitamin D deficiency is over 41% for all adults, with that rate jumping to an alarming 82% for African-Americans and 69% for Hispanics (darker skin has a decreased ability to produce Vitamin D from sun exposure — more on that later) .1,2
That’s why I typically include a Vitamin D level test in my patients’ blood work. And I recommend that if your doctor is not doing so already, that you ask it to be added to yours.
The Science of Vitamin D
There are 3 ways that your body can get Vitamin D:
- The Sun — There’s a reason why Vitamin D has the nickname “The Sunshine Vitamin” — your body synthesizes it from its internal store of cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunshine. However, most people are not getting enough sunshine on their skin to create sufficient amounts of Vitamin D.Unlike our ancestors, we work primarily indoors (and no, sitting by the window won’t cut it; the window most likely filters out the important UV rays needed for Vitamin D synthesis). It takes about 20 minutes of sun exposure per day directly on our skin to jumpstart proper Vitamin D production.Plus, we use a lot of sunscreen, which is recommended for the prevention of skin problems caused by over-exposure to the sun. But this ends up filtering out the important rays for Vitamin D production. So, while sunscreen is important, it might have the unintended effect of reducing our ability to get an adequate amount of vitamin D.And remember the higher rates of Vitamin D deficiency for dark skinned people I mentioned earlier? That’s because the higher melanin levels in their skin lower natural Vitamin D production from sun exposure.
- Food — There are, unfortunately, relatively few food sources of Vitamin D. Wild caught salmon is a good one (and great for getting some important Omega-3 fatty acids too). Mushrooms, egg yolks, and cheese can provide some Vitamin D. And there are foods, such as milk, that have Vitamin D added to them in various amounts. But none of these is going to get you to the needed levels every day.
- Supplements — For me, Vitamin D supplementation is the surest way to get the right amount of Vitamin D every day. But there is a lot of confusion in the nutritional supplement market when it comes to choosing Vitamin D.
Taking the Confusion Out of Vitamin D Supplements
If you look at your standard multivitamin label, you will find that it has some Vitamin D in there. These formulas usually contain between 200 IU and 400 IU of Vitamin D. That will get you partway to the official recommended daily amount of 600 IU for anyone past their first birthday (but younger than 71, where the recommendation jumps to 800 IU).
Now, those are the numbers from official sources in the United States. However, non-government scientific councils in the U.S. and around the world (and some official government councils in other countries) have much higher recommendations — almost 10-times higher!
Those higher recommendations have to do with getting your blood serum levels of Vitamin D to levels that match people who traditionally get their full Vitamin D needs met via the sun.3
And to do that, the recommended amount through supplementation would be 5,000 IU. That’s the recommendation that I am going with as well. The math and the blood tests lead me to that conclusion too.
It Takes More Than Just Taking More Vitamin D
However, the science does not bear out just taking a 5,000 IU Vitamin D supplement and calling it a day. My research, backed by research conducted by other doctors and scientists, shows me that to get the most out of what Vitamin D, it needs to have the right levels of other nutrients present along with it.
Here’s a breakdown of the key co-factors that work with Vitamin D:
- Magnesium: I have written before about the importance of maintaining proper magnesium levels, due to its necessity for over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. Many of these processes overlap with Vitamin D’s function, such as for heart and bone health.* A recent research paper in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association looked at the science of how magnesium and Vitamin D interact and concluded that they work in coordination, and that in fact a deficiency in one can be related to a deficiency in the other.4
- Vitamin K2: Most multivitamins overlook this important nutrient, but Vitamin K2 is essential to maintaining bone and cardiovascular health, just like Vitamin D and magnesium.*
- Zinc: This essential mineral works in tandem with Vitamin D to promote bone health and immune function.*
- L-Taurine: Taurine is an amino acid that aids in the absorption on Vitamin D.*5
- Boron: Boron helps support bone and joint health and plays a crucial role in proper magnesium absorption.*
Putting It Together for a Better Vitamin D
Let’s go back to that multivitamin label for a second. What you will see is some Vitamin D, some magnesium, and some zinc. There might even be a little bit of boron in there. But don’t go looking for L-Taurine and Vitamin K2 in a run-of-the-mill multivitamin. You won’t find it there.
And for that matter, you won’t find any of these vital nutrients in a single-ingredient Vitamin D supplement.
I suppose you could get yourself separate bottles of Vitamin D, Magnesium, Boron, Zinc, and so on.
Oh, and then that brings up the issue of what type of magnesium to get. Most people end up with the commonplace Magnesium Oxide, which has poor bioavailability.
So, what can you do instead of loading up your cart with a bunch of separate supplements?
You can try my Dr. Redcross Wellness™ Ultimate Vitamin D™.
Ultimate Vitamin D™ is specifically formulated to get the most out of Vitamin D. It contains the recommended 5,000 IU of Vitamin D, along with Magnesium Citrate (which is more absorbable/bioavailable than the standard magnesium oxide found in most cut-rate supplements), and Zinc (as patented OptiZinc®, a zinc chelate that research studies show is absorbed better by the body than regular zinc).
Plus, Dr. Redcross Wellness™ Ultimate Vitamin D™ has those other important co-factors I mentioned earlier — L-Taurine, Vitamin K2, and Boron (I included a patented form of Boron called FruitX-B® Calcium Fructoborate, which clinical tests show to be a fast-acting form of this mineral).
As a complete Vitamin D formula, Ultimate Vitamin D™ has multiple benefits, including support for your:
- Bones & Muscles*
- Immune Function*
- Cardiovascular System*
- Energy Metabolism*
- Brain Health*
Ultimate Vitamin D™ goes beyond the basics — and it can make a great addition to your daily healthy living routine!
1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310306/
2 – https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/
3 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22264449
4 – http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2673882
5 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8241636