Vitamin D is essential to our survival, that’s why it’s called a Vitamin – the “vita” part is taken from Latin and means ‘life’.
Most people know that – it’s no secret…but what many people don’t know about are the health benefits that Vitamin D actually provides, and not just in the avoidance of something negative either.
Sure, you won’t get rickets if you grow up with the minimum daily amount, but there is far more to the “sunshine vitamin” than escaping death and avoiding the bowed legs.
What’s even less understood by people about Vitamin D is the quantity you need on a daily basis to really get the benefits from it. It shouldn’t be taken lightly either, because it can make difference between happiness and depression, strength and perpetual fatigue, sexual health and limp libido…and yes, the difference between a long life and premature death.
Vitamin D – A Global Insufficiency
The majority of people are not deficient in Vitamin D, but they do have an insufficient amount in their system.
The fine line between those two terms: deficient and insufficient is that a deficiency will cause dramatic health problems, whereas as insufficiency will cause more subtle health problems that are nonetheless negative on both a physical and mental (cognitive and emotional) front.
Reason 1 – Lack of Sunlight
Vitamin D is also called the sunshine vitamin or sunlight vitamin because it is synthesized in our bodies when the Sun’s radiation hits our skin.
There are several reasons why you might not get enough sunlight to synthesize an adequate amount of Vitamin D but one very large factor is your geographical location.
People who live above the 37th parallel (line of latitude) do not see enough sunshine throughout the year to make sufficient Vitamin D. Summer, perhaps, but even then, much of that is spent indoors working.
By the way, there is a lot of the globe above the 37th – just check it out. Most of North America for one thing.
And we mentioned another reason above; a LOT of people work in offices, warehouses, shops, workshops etc. without getting much real sunlight.
Reason 2 – Diet
It’s hard to get enough Vitamin D from your diet, and most of us don’t eat the right things anyway.
Oily fish is one of the best sources, but even then you’d have to eat like a seal to get what you need in Vitamin D.
In the case of Vitamin D, your diet should almost be viewed as a bonus to the primary collection method – the Sun. Read above: Reason 1 to see the problem there.
Vitamin D “fortified” foods give somewhat of a false sense of security as well. They generally contain a token amount (100 IU) which isn’t much to write home about, especially if the price tag is bumped up because of it.
Reason 3 – Old Health Data and Ridiculous Governments
Would you believe us if we told you that government health agencies are stupid? Yes, yes, you probably would.
Well, it’s true. The Recommended Daily Allowance in most developed countries is still pathetically low. Oh, you might not die if you get as much as they advise, but you sure as hell aren’t going to be at your peak.
It’s almost as if they want a weak and sickly population. And then they complain about the burden on the hospitals and care givers. It’s infuriating.
Canada, for example, is a country well and truly above the 37th Parallel. Hell, it’s above a country that is mostly above it!!
…and they recommend that adults over 50 take a daily supplement of 400 IU Vitamin D. And as if that doesn’t suck enough, they say men and women between 19 and 50 should aim for 600 IU a day from their diet AND supplements.
To cap it off, they advise the safe upper limit is 4000 IU per day!
A New World Order – At Least 2000 IU a Day!
What hope do we have, seriously, if governments are useless, nature is mean, and living anywhere but near the equator isn’t sunny enough?
We have science, that’s what.
Thankfully, there are ongoing studies in the field of nutrition and supplements, and the researchers don’t just stick with information from the mid ‘90s when they are considering the necessities of human health.
What we should be looking at is a minimum daily intake of 2000 IU (an International Unit – 1000 IU = 25 micrograms).
Most governments think 4000 IU is the ceiling, above which you should not go, but there are plenty of people taking more than this quantity per day, and only getting positive effects from it.
There are cases of much higher doses but from our perspective we would probably say that between 2000 and 4000 IU in the form of supplementation is good enough for rock and roll.
Types of Supplements and D3
There’s a few types of supplement, from capsules to softgels, liquid and tablets, but if you remember the general rule that Vitamin D is soluble in fat – and therefore should be taken with food (inc. a source of fat) – then you can’t really go wrong.
Vitamin D3 – aka Cholecalciferol is more bioavailable than its D2 cousin, so if you have the choice, which you will, take the D3.
Magnesium is a mineral that is often undervalued and under-dosed. You can read about magnesium here.
If you are taking a multi-vitamin, it might be an idea to replace it with more specific supplements, like a separate Vit D3 and a Magnesium. Multi-Vitamins tend to include the bare minimum, which is why you’ll probably find the 400 – 800 IU Vitamin D dose on the label.
The other option you have is to take a supplement which is geared towards physical performance, such as Prime Male (read the review here).
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are getting enough of this essential Vitamin.