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Fitness for Body, Mind and Spirit

GreenNote Life

Fitness for the body, mind & spirit

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Improve immunity and overall health with this vitamin...

Welcome to GreenNote Fitness Reflections.

Each month I share with you what I’m doing for longevity - to live my life fully with joy while serving others. We will deep-dive into optimizing brain function and mitochondrial health while maintaining strength and balance of body, mind, and spirit.

A pandemic looms around us. Flu season begins. Immune systems are compromised. Over 40% of adults in the U.S. are believed to be deficient in one particular vitamin... Increasingly I have been interested in improving immunity and discussed it in the previous newsletter. Today we look to a super vitamin that can not only improve immunity but helps boost bone strength, promotes weight loss, enhances mental health, and fights cancer cells.

I’m not going to hold you in suspense any longer. Drumroll please. The vitamin of the hour is none other than vitamin D. Now, many of you may already be either getting plenty of sunshine or supplementing with this vitamin. That’s good news. I want to delve into why it is so vital in our day-to-day health and some studies in relation to it and COVID-19. This is one potent little vitamin. I am encouraged that we have a powerful source that can help us on our wellness journey. What is vitamin D? This I found super interesting - vitamin D is a hormone that affects the expression of many genes important for immune function. It has a huge impact on the health and function of your cells. Vitamin D has many functions, including reducing cellular growth (which promotes cancer) and improving cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state). It’s one of the nutrients that can be difficult to get from food sources alone, making supplementation a strong choice in many cases. A few benefits include:

  • Promotes weight loss

  • Boosts bone strength

  • Improves immune function

  • Enhances mental health

  • Can reduce cellular grow (which promotes cancer) and can improve cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state)

Most Americans and people around the world are vitamin D deficient Estimates from one 2012 report shows that approximately half of all people worldwide have vitamin D insufficiency, and 1 billion have vitamin D deficiency, defined as blood levels less than 12 nanograms per milliliter. Dr. Rhonda Patrick explains that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with greater risk of influenza and other respiratory infections. Ben Greenfield talks about deficiency in vitamin D in his book, Boundless: Vitamin D deficiency is strongly associated with nonspecific musculoskeletal pain, chronic pain, and hormone deficiencies. Chronically low vitamin D levels are also associated with poor sleep and may contribute to the development of obstructive sleep apnea and associated cardiovascular disease. Those at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • older adults

  • those that get limited sun exposure or have a genetic inability to properly synthesize vitamin D from sunlight

  • people who are overweight / obese

  • people with darker skin

When we don’t get enough vitamin D it impacts every area of our biology, because it affects the way our cells and genes function. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms:

  • fatigue

  • osteoporosis

  • heart disease and high blood pressure

  • cancer

  • autoimmune diseases

  • depression and mood disturbances

  • poor skin health, including redness, inflammation and dryness

  • insomnia

  • arthritis and joint pain

  • diabetes

  • trouble concentrating

  • asthma

  • hair loss

  • multiple sclerosis

  • chronic muscle or bone pain

  • psoriasis

  • fibromyalgia

  • autism

Difference between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 This is worth noting that vitamin D has two different forms:

  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) - can be found in mushrooms and fortified foods

  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) - can be found in animal foods like fish, liver, eggs and cod liver oil

The main difference between the two is in the way that they are metabolized by the body. It has been shown that vitamin D3 is nearly twice as effective at increasing vitamin D levels in the blood compared to vitamin D2. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement can help with boosting calcium absorption, promote bone health, support weight management, and more. Speaking of calcium absorption... Importance of vitamin K2 with vitamin D3 As Thorne Research explains: Combining vitamins D and K can provide greater support of the immune and cardiovascular systems than each offers separately. For example, vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption, and vitamin K is important for directing calcium to the bones and away from the soft tissues, such as blood vessels and kidneys. Ben also weighs in on the importance of taking vitamin D with vitamin K2 saying that it can limit the risk of high blood calcium levels. He likes the Thorne Vitamin D/K2 liquid blend as it is a quick and easy source in the correct ratios. Studies showing vitamin D supplementation and SARS-CoV02 virus Dr. Rhonda Patrick recently reported on a study: Vitamin D supplementation may help patients clear the SARS-CoV-2 virus. COVID-19 is a respiratory infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A growing number of studies have demonstrated the importance of vitamin D in regulating the immune system and controlling COVID-19 disease severity. Authors of a new study found that vitamin D supplementation shortened SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitamin D-deficient people. The journal Nature published this study on vitamin D and COVID-19 Vitamin D deficiency markedly increases the chance of having severe disease after infection with SARS Cov-2. The intensity of inflammatory response is also higher in vitamin D deficient COVID-19 patients. This all translates to increase morbidity and mortality in COVID-19 patients who are deficient in vitamin D. Keeping the current COVID-19 pandemic in view authors recommend administration of vitamin D supplements to population at risk for COVID-19. Recommend dosages First consult with your healthcare provider on what amounts would be beneficial for you, especially if you are on medications. There is different schools of thought when it comes to dosage. There is evidence to support low-risk with taking higher amounts. Thorne Research states that in the United States, the current recommended daily intake of 800 IUs vitamin D is based on the minimum amount to protect against bone disease. However, this amount might not be sufficient to support optimal health. Research suggests serum vitamin D levels should be in the range of 32-80 ng/mL 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The amount of vitamin D needed to achieve minimum vitamin D sufficiency – generally recognized to be a blood level of 32 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D – depends on many factors and varies from individual to individual. Thus, the requirement for vitamin D supplementation should be individualized. Either D-1,000 or D-5,000 may be ideal to maintain an optimal level of vitamin D in healthy individuals. Ben Greenfield shares this: Typical vitamin D doses range from 2,000 to 4,000 IU per day. Doses should be taken with 100 to 150 mcg of vitamin K2 to limit the risk of high blood calcium levels. Again, best to consult with your healthcare provider on dosage appropriate for you. In summary:

  • Half the world population has insufficient levels of vitamin D

  • Vitamin D is a hormone that affects the expression of many genes important for immune function

  • Vitamin D:

    • Can reduce cellular growth

    • Promotes weight loss

    • Boosts bone strength

    • Improves immune function

    • Enhances mental health

Can reduce cellular growth (which promotes cancer) and can improve cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state)

  • There are two sources of vitamin D: D2 and D3 with vitamin D3 being nearly twice as effective in increasing vitamin D in blood levels

  • Combining vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 helps with calcium absorption in the bones and away from soft tissues (blood vessels and kidneys)

  • Studies show vitamin D supplementation may help patients clear the SARS-CoV-2 virus

  • Recommended doses are best discussed with your healthcare professional

To our reflection,

Lisa Schaffer

GreenNote Fitness

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