Vitamin D and D3 (Cholecalciferol) – Read This or Be Forever in the Dark!

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 of Vitamin D supplementation, rather than the simple avoidance of disease.

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 staying alive and avoiding bowed legs.

Vitamin D

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 – The Benefits

Clinical trials and other scientific studies have fairly well nailed down Vitamin D’s health effects:

  • Strengthens Bones and reduces fracture risk
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Boosts Testosterone
  • Reduces Fat Mass
  • Improves Cognitive Function. Mood, Emotional Stability and Brain Health
  • Encourages Life Longevity and improves general functionality of the elderly
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Decreases risk of Asthma Attacks
  • Reduces incidences of Type-1 Diabetes
  • Improves Insulin Sensitivity (anti-diabetic inc. Type II)
  • Reduces risk of CardioVascular Disease
  • Reduces risk of Colorectal and Pancreatic Cancer
  • Reduces risk of Multiple Sclerosis (and reduces symptoms if already suffering)

Got all that?

Good…let’s move on.

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.

37th Parallel

Reason 1 – Lack of Sunlight

Girl in the sunshineVitamin 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

Glass of MilkIt’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

Woman Doctor

Ignore government health advice. We have science.

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!

Idiots!

A New World Order – At Least 2000 IU a Day!

DoctorWhat 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.

Final Thoughts

ApprovedMagnesium 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.

What Are The Most Omega 3 Rich Whole Foods

foods that are very high in Omega 3Most Western diets are very low in Omega 3 fatty acids; an essential nutrient that has anti-inflammatory effects, prevents blood clots and ensures health at a cellular level. A lot of people are put off by the words ‘fatty acid’, associating it with dangers to heart health and ‘bad’ cholesterol. The important thing to remember is that this type of fat actually helps to reduce the types of fats you don’t want in your bloodstream. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer as well as many other serious illnesses.

Although you can buy supplements containing Omega 3, the healthiest way to get them is from whole foods that are consumed raw or are baked or steamed rather than boiled. Scientists recommend the consumption of 3 – 4 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids daily, but this requirement can increase when Omega 3 is being used as a treatment for specific conditions or when your diet includes a too high intake of Omega 6 fatty acids which are directly antagonistic towards Omega 3.  At the same time, you also want to get enough Omega 6; the trick is getting the balance right. A ratio of 4 parts Omega 6 to one part Omega 3 is generally accepted as the healthy minimum.

The main source of Omega 6 in the western diet comes from the use of processed vegetable oils, so cutting down on them and eating Omega 3 rich foods should save you from having to do all the sums!

Nuts

Brazil nuts: You’ll get close to 18mg of Omega 3 from 100g of these nuts along with plenty of trace elements and protein.

Walnuts: These nuts contain 9 079 mg of Omega 3 per 100g and are also a good protein source.

Butternuts: Of course, we’re referring to the nuts, not butternut squash. Your Omega 3 dos e per 100g is 8 719 mg.

Seeds

Chia seeds: This super-food packs 17 552 mg Omega 3 punch per 100g. Of course, you probably wouldn’t eat as much as that at one go, but it does show how rich this source of Omega 3 is.

Pumpkin seeds: Now you’ve got an excuse to nibble on this healthy and yummy snack (if you needed one) – it contains a respectable 17 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids per 100g.

Kiwi seeds: When you eat a kiwi fruit, you’re going to be eating a fair amount of seeds along with it and that’s going to give you 42 mg of Omega-3 for every 100g of fruit consumed. This superb fruit has plenty of other great nutritional benefits.

Hemp seeds: Yet another ‘super-food’, whole hemp seeds offer the perfect balance of fatty acids required for human health. The recommended daily dose of two tablespoons of hemp seed oil would deliver 3 – 6 g of Omega 3.

Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are a great source of proteins and calcium, but they’ll also give you plenty of Omega 3. 100g of Sesame seeds supplies 363mg of Omega 3.

Oils

Extra virgin olive oil: This is one of the exceptions to the ‘plant based oils in the diet’ rule mentioned above. Just make sure it really is ‘extra virgin’. You get 0.76 g of Omega 3 per 100g.

Hemp oil: As mentioned above, hemp oil is a fantastic source of Omega 3 and offers the perfect balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3.

Fruits

Avocado: 110 mg of Omega 3 might not sound like much and there’s quite a high ratio of Omega 6 involved, but remember, it’s still polyunsaturated fat and if you’re a vegan, avocado is one of your best sources of dietary fat.

Beans

Kidney Beans: Whether you eat them cooked or as raw sprouts they’ll supply 169 -170 mg of Omega 3 per 100g and a very low ratio of Omega 6.

Soybeans: Besides giving you a nicely balanced amino acid profile, you’ll get 354mg of Omega 3 per 100g of soybeans.

Vegetables

Dark leafy greens and the amazing spirulina are among the best plant-based sources of Omega 3.

Kale: Healthy Kale will give you 180 mg of Omega 3 when served raw and 103 if boiled lightly.

Spinach: Spinach is one of the healthiest foods out there and cooked spinach delivers 138 mg of Omega 3 per 100g. Like Kale, it has very low levels of Omega 6.

Mustard (greens): If you want to spice up your diet a bit and haven’t yet tried them, mustard greens are an excellent food. There are 22mg of Omega 3 in 100g of cooked mustard greens and you’ll get a good dose of vitamin A along with that.

Collards: This nutritious vegetable will give you 93 mg of Omega 3 and a very low ratio of Omega 6. They’re also rich in vitamins and trace elements.

Spirulina: If you can get hold of dried spirulina, the cooked wholefood will deliver 42 mg of Omega 3 and once again, we’re looking at a low Omega 6 content.

Fish and Eggs

You’ll probably have heard that fish is a good source of Omega 3. It is, but if you take the fact that mackerel, supposedly the best source of Omega 3 among fish delivers 1 422 mg of Omega 3 per 100g, you’ll see that its outperformed by certain nuts and seeds. Eggs give you 78 mg of Omega 3 per 100g – not nearly as much as raw Kale.

 

What Foods are very high in Antioxidants

foods high in antioxidantsAntioxidants can prevent cell damage and reduce the effects of ageing as well as preventing common diseases by combating the free-radicals produced by cells as part of their normal functioning. You can buy antioxidants as supplements and also consume them is as whole foods.

If you are involved in any sort of fitness regime then antioxidants maximises the training effect.

 

Examples of antioxidants include Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium and vitamins A, C and E. If you want to get antioxidants into your diet, fruit and veg are the best sources – but which of these have the highest concentration of anti-oxidants?

Blueberries

The USDA rates blueberries as the best source of antioxidants you can get. For centuries, Native Americans consumed them as a food and used them for a medicine and recent research shows that they really do help to reduce brain ageing, fight cardiovascular disease, suppress cancer and more. They’re full of bioflavonoids such as anthocyanins and proanthoantocyanidins that will help you to prevent disease.

Strawberries

Strawberries rank among the top antioxidant fruits you can get – but be aware: you need to get them fresh and you shouldn’t store them for more than two days. If you want the best from your strawberries, the ideal is to grow them in the garden and eat them freshly picked.

Acai berries

This reddish-purple berry from Central and South America is hot news for those seeking a super-effective anti-oxidant. The fruit pulp is richer in antioxidants than blueberries and strawberries, but getting fresh acai berries mightn’t be all that easy!

Goji berries

These berries have been used in fresh or dried form for centuries in Chinese medicine. There aren’t many modern medical trials, but it is certain that they contain anti-oxidants that would prevent macular degeneration (age-related loss of eyesight) among other ailments related to the accumulation of free radicals.

Spinach

Whether or not you’re fond of spinach, it’s well worth including in your diet since it’s one of the top antioxidant foods you can get. It’s rich in Beta-carotene and a range of vitamins and features high on the list of plant-based foods you should consume to maintain your health.

Kale

This nutritious super-food is packed with antioxidants such as Beta-carotene and flavonoids, both of which are known fighters against the development of cancer. Vitamin K is another antioxidant that Kale provides and although this vegetable might be a trifle unusual, it isn’t too hard to get hold of.

Carrots

Carrots get their orange colour from various forms of carotene, a group of antioxidants that have enjoyed a lot of attention and been the subject of a lot of research. A study conducted over a ten year period in the Netherlands suggest that you’re far less likely to develop cardiovascular ailments if you eat lots of carrots and another study showed a link between Beta-carotene and a reduction in macular degeneration.

Spirulina

Spirulina is the new sensation in the world of health foods and healthy eating. It gives you a rich supply of carotenoids, bioflavonoids and vitamins that will fight free radicals, helping to keep your body healthy. According to its supporters, Spirulina protects you against cardiovascular disease, cancer, macular degeneration and other ailments associated with the presence of free radicals.

Cocoa

Do you love chocolate? Well, the cocoa in chocolate is actually good for you! The flavonoids and procyanidins in cocoa can help to protect you against cardiovascular disease according to studies conducted by the American Society for clinical nutrition. Raw cocoa contains more antioxidants than green tea.

Green tea

Green tea has been prized for its health benefits for thousands of years. One of the main reasons it has gained this reputation is thanks to the flavonoids and a lesser known group of antioxidants known as catechins. Drinking green tea several times a day will help your body to get rid of free-radicals and helps to prevent other illnesses associated with the products of oxidation,

Other whole food antioxidants

Black plums and prunes are known to kick a strong antioxidant punch as are raisins, blackberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries. Among vegetables, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, beets, red bell peppers, onions (especially when raw), fresh corn on the cob and aubergines are among the noted sources of antioxidants.

You’ll notice that there’s a rainbow of colours in this list of natural food sources that supply antioxidants. Did your granny tell you to have one of every colour of vegetable for a balanced diet? Well, these days, science backs up her claim. Fresh green, yellow, red, black and orange coloured fruits and vegetables supply a variety of antioxidants that will help to keep you healthy.