The easiest way to be healthy? Get enough vitamin D. But what is enough? What minerals are needed for vitamin D to work?
There is a direct link between vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency and mortality from health conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. (The difference between the two terms—flaw and insufficiency—is a matter of degree, like the difference between bad and somewhat bad.)
For example, without proper or optimal vitamin D levels, T cells won’t even be able to put on their pants to fight infectious diseases, including cancer or pathogens like coronaviruses and flu. They are not activated at all. Some virus or bacteria might float in and they’ll say, “Wake me up when it’s over.”
The problem is, without vitamins, it can be difficult to maintain adequate vitamin levels supplements.
In addition to anemia of the immune system, symptoms of deficiency or insufficiency include musculoskeletal pain, often diagnosed as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, bones that break easily, muscle weakness or size, low libido, testicular Low hormone levels, high blood pressure, increased pressure on blood flow, endothelial dysfunction, sudden cardiac death syndrome in athletes, and a long list of other adverse events.
It’s not just your average Doritos-eating couch potato that’s affected. Thirty-two percent of professional basketball players were found to be vitamin D deficient, while 47 percent were deficient.
Among NFL players, 26% were found to be deficient, while 47% were deficient. Deficits are common among swimmers, volleyball players, kickboxers, jockeys, runners, and even weight lifters.
Additionally, a meta-study put 23 papers on vitamin D into a mixing bowl and found that of the 2,313 college athletes they analyzed, 56 percent had insufficient vitamin D levels. Only 5% met the relatively meager RDA.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone-stimulating hormone, not a vitamin at all. After ingestion, it must be converted by the body into its active form, the hormone 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol.
Once this occurs, it plays an important role in a variety of vital functions, including protein synthesis, muscle function, cardiovascular function, cell growth, musculoskeletal regulation, and inflammatory responses.
Some of these features deserve more inspection:
When athletes have adequate levels of vitamin D in their bodies, they perform better. They are easier to build strength and suffer fewer injuries.
The vitamin actually regulates skeletal muscle, especially type II muscle fibers, by activating the expression of genes that regulate muscle growth and differentiation. When vitamin D is deficient or insufficient, type II fiber becomes scrawny. Give them nutrients and they will grow bigger.
Vitamin D also enhances muscle contraction by enhancing the interaction between myosin and actin, two muscle cell proteins, through “non-transcriptional signaling pathways.”
More generally, having optimal levels of vitamin D increases muscle protein synthesis, jump height, ATP production, and overall ability to perform aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Low levels of vitamin D are strongly associated with reduced lung capacity. However, optimal levels of vitamin D ensure healthy lung structure, capacity, optimal oxygen exchange, and the ability to perform tasks without wheezing like an old steam engine.
There appears to be a relationship—a strong relationship—between severe vitamin D deficiency and sudden cardiac death in athletes. Without proper levels, arteries can become stiff, with atherosclerosis a definite possibility. Your circulatory system starts to feel as pliable as a cheap garden hose that’s been exposed to the sun for too long.
The vitamin has a direct effect on serotonin and dopamine levels, which are essential for muscle coordination and avoiding fatigue. In severe cases, vitamin D deficiency can even adversely affect the balance.
Having sex is clearly not just the purview of athletes, but having high(er) levels of vitamins increases circulating levels of estradiol, testosterone, FSH, LH, and DHEA in the average woman, which logically causes them to be more many orgasmicas long as all other conditions (such as some nice “doin’it” music playing softly in the background) are optimal.
Likewise, vitamin D supplementation has been shown to significantly (53.5 nmol/l) increase testosterone levels in men in at least one study.
I don’t want to get into the chemistry of vitamin D and how it’s formed, but suffice it to say that we get vitamin D from certain foods and sunlight. The problem is that, with the exception of fortified dairy products, eggs, mushrooms, and fatty cod liver, few foods contain it.
As far as sunlight is concerned, every skin cell in the body contains machinery to convert sunlight into vitamin D precursor, which then undergoes two hydroxylations before becoming metabolically active.
Unfortunately, but understandably, almost everyone is scared to death by skin cancer, so most try to avoid sun exposure. If they do expose their skin to the sun, the skin is usually covered with sunscreen with an SPF of about 1 billion.
Then there’s pollution, which further limits the amount of UVB radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. You also need to consider the angle of the sun. In winter, the vitamin D-producing UVB rays don’t reach above 35 to 37 degrees latitude (that is, anywhere north of San Francisco, New Mexico, Arkansas and North Carolina).
Finally, there’s Mother Nature’s cruel sunlight/vitamin D paradox. Let’s say you choose to say hell with skin cancer and ditch sunscreen. Well, but any melanin you develop to get a tan actually blocks UVB absorption to the point that dark-skinned athletes need to expose their skin to UVB light 10 times longer than light-skinned athletes Get enough vitamin D to go.
One of the oldest and most nausea-inducing nutrition tropes is “you just need to eat a balanced diet.” Okay, Boomer, go back and watch the old CSI reruns on Magnavox. It’s just not that easy, especially when it comes to vitamin D. The least risky approach is to supplement, if possible—weather, climate, and latitude permitting—with regular, mostly naked body exposure to sunlight.
However, without a blood test, there’s no way to tell if you’re vitamin D deficient or deficient. Even if you do have a blood test, there is a wide range of medical opinions on what is “normal.”
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) believes that a blood level of 20 ng/mL will meet the needs of 97.5% of the North American population, regardless of life stage, but this provides a substantial amount of vitamin FU for approximately 14.5 million people, making up the other 2.5% .
Regardless, to achieve a level of 20 ng/mL, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU for children and adults under 70 years of age, and 800 IU for adults over 70 years of age.
However, the Endocrine Society isn’t too fond of the numbers. They prefer that people – at least those who don’t get enough sun – consume 1500 to 2200 IU per day, but even that is based on guesswork and might still be a little too conservative.
Most biohacking and rebellious nutritionist types, including me, agree that you absolutely should be taking a daily vitamin D supplement, even without any noticeable symptoms or benefit of a blood diagnostic test. Having said that, most of us believe vitamin D levels should be maintained at 50-70 ng/ml, but how this is done and how much supplements/sunlight is needed to achieve this level varies from person to person.
My own general guideline is to take about 5,000 units of vitamin D3 per day. However, some caution is warranted because vitamin D is fat-soluble and stays in the body much longer than water-soluble vitamins.
Possible negative effects of vitamin D “toxicity” include anorexia, frequent urination, nausea, thirst, vomiting, and possibly altered mental status and kidney failure, but you would have to take a lot of vitamin D for this to happen, or make standard Too many poor vitamin D supplements.
Aside from this caveat, many people are unable to boost their blood levels with the generic vitamin D capsules they buy from the same places they buy toothpaste and canned soup.So, consider taking microencapsulated vitamin D3, such as I’m good™.
Studies have shown that this microencapsulated form is the most bioavailable and longest lasting. Its effects last up to 14 days, significantly better than most oil-based vitamin D3 supplements on the market.
Vitamin D, no matter how much you take, if you don’t have enough, it won’t do your job magnesium, also. Without enough magnesium, vitamin D cannot be metabolized. Without it, vitamin D hangs around the 7-11 like a bum, potentially leading to elevated calcium and phosphate levels, with a host of physiological and metabolic consequences.
Perhaps not coincidentally, most Americans, especially athletes, are also deficient in magnesium. So magnesium deficiency may be the culprit, or at least one of the culprits, in what we think of as vitamin D deficiency. I recommend doing the right thing and taking 400 mg. magnesium every day.Ideally, use fully chelated magnesium, as in ElitePro™ Minerals.
Be careful AM et al. The role of magnesium in vitamin D activation and function. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018 Mar 1;118(3):181-189. PubMed.
Canat M et al. Vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with sexual dysfunction in premenopausal women. Int Urol Renin. 2016 Nov;48(11):1789-1795. PubMed.
Musa A et al. Vitamin D supplementation increases adipokine concentrations in overweight or obese adults. Eur J Nutr. 2020 Feb;59(1):195-204. PubMed.
Pilz et al. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Hormone Metabolism Res 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. PubMed.
de la Puente Yagüe M et al. The role of vitamin D in athletes and their performance: current concepts and emerging trends. Nutrients. 2020 Feb 23;12(2):579. PubMed.