Vitamin D Supplementation for Winter

November 30, 2016

Limited sunlight during the winter months, especially in the Northern latitudes (such as South Dakota), means that a vitamin D supplement is key to maintaining health.


Research by the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHNE) shows that over 75% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. Also, due to having less melanin in their skin, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are found to be deficient in 90% of their populations.


Classically, vitamin D is known for its role in bone maintenance. Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium in the small intestine. I recent years it has been noted that bone marrow, brain, colon, malignant cancer cells, and immune cells exhibit vitamin D absorption sites. This means that vitamin D plays a role in organ function throughout the body.


The incidence of vitamin D deficiency has nearly doubled in the last 10 years making some researchers wonder if it may be a result of increased obesity in recent years.


Vitamin D functions as a cytokine, a complex in immune cells that kills microbes and maintains healthy cells in order to protect the body. Immunologic effects of vitamin D increase protective immunity and tolerance to infections.


Without adequate vitamin D, the body struggles to fight infection, leading to more cold and flu outbreaks, as well as autoimmune and chronic disease.


Vitamine D deficiency has been linked to musculoskeletal weakness, allowing more sprains and fractures; autoimmune diseases such as MS; rheumatoid arthritis; and type 1 diabetes as well as depression and depressed immunity. One study showed how vitamin D supplementation reduced injuries in youth football teams compared to teams that took no vitamin D.


Most adults in our region would be well served taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily during the winter. Since vitamin D is oil soluble, International Units (IU) are used to measure content rather than milligrams (mg). That dose will lower chances of catching a cold and help ensure that insidious health concerns like multiple sclerosis (MS) and fractures are less likely to occur.


Instead of relying on flu shots and loading up on emergen-C and over the counter remedies this winter, avoid infections by taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily.


Vitamin D is inexpensive, but that doesn't mean one should by cheap vitamin D. Our office carries a complete line of Metagenics vitamins, supplements, and medical foods. It is better to pay a little more for a product that has been rigorously inspected for potency and purity. In other words, vitamin D from a discount store may not have exactly the reported amount of D and may have harmful impurities that were not listed on the label.


Stop in and ask for some vitamin D for your family – for children under 12 years of age we can determine the dose of D based on the child's weight.