Adequate vitamin D levels are critical to immune system health and a range of other health areas. In fact, science clearly suggests that maintaining proper levels can help us to avoid dementias like, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
This essential vitamin is best produced by exposing the body to the sun and can help to keep our muscles and bones healthy.
A new meta-analysis has confirmed that proper supplementation has a protective effect against colds and flu. There had been some confusion about this in recent years due to conflicting results from past studies; however, the efficacy of this nutrient in fighting respiratory infection has now been verified.
Taking vitamin D at least as effective as flu shot in fighting respiratory infection
The study was conducted by Queen Mary University of London, and it pooled raw data from nearly 11,000 participants. In the meta-analysis, 25 double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trials looked at both vitamin D2 and D3 supplementation and its effects on cold or flu risk.
The reduction of acute respiratory infection risk through taking vitamin D3 supplementation was at least as effective as getting a flu shot. The protective effects of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had the most dramatic positive results in those who had the lowest baseline levels to begin with. And, another important point, regular doses were more effective than less frequent doses.
These study results emphasize the importance of getting enough of this fat-soluble secosteroids through supplementation and food sources. Keep in mind, 25-hydroxyvitamin D supplementation is especially important in geographic regions that are prone to lots of rain and cloudy weather, as residents of these areas will likely not receive adequate sunlight for its production.
Vitamin D3 superior to vitamin D2
In addition to a stronger immune system and support of numerous aspects of physical health, 25-hydroxyvitamin D also helps to regulate blood sugar and mood. There are two types: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Of the two, D3 is the dynamic type that’s triggered by sunlight exposure. In fact, some estimates put vitamin D3 at 300 percent more effective than vitamin D2.
Fortified foods tend to contain vitamin D2, so the better choice for this vitamin is to get plenty of sunshine and/or take a supplement containing D3. While sunlight does not actually contain 25-hydroxyvitamin D, it is essential in promoting its natural production inside the body.
Vitamin D3 supplements and natural food sources
Some great food choices include, free-range, egg yolks; wild-caught fish and organic, non-GMO soy. Of course, many dairy products have this vitamin – but, it is often the less beneficial D2 variety and dairy-rich foods tend to promote allergies in many people. (especially if the dairy is highly-processed)
When it comes to supplementation, amounts as high as 10,000 IU per day have been taken to raise blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D; however, the average ideal dose can range from 2,000 to 6,000 IU per day depending upon your current health status. Your best bet is to get a blood test to determine your current status, then ask your doctor to help you determine the best course of action.