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Day 23: Vital Vitamin D & Why We Need It

Hey 40DF Fam, 

Today we are talking about a vital vitamin to our health, Vitamin D. 

In the last two years during the COVID pandemic, I thought this was vitamin D’s big break! Along with it’s good friend, vitamin C! Finally, I thought, they are going to get the recognition they deserve. 

Turns out, these two micronutrients don’t have the bank account or marketing team big pharma does. There is some money to be made in peddling these vitamins to you, but it’s peanuts compared to the mandatory vaccines they can make. You can’t make a vitamin mandatory no matter how effective it is. 

Towards the start of the pandemic, a social media post that shined a positive light on Vitamin D would be taken down because of the possible “misinformation” you were spreading. Now it’s common knowledge, and there are plenty of news articles out there that prove vitamin D lessened severity of COVID effects, and that an overwhelming majority of COVID deaths were found to be deficient in Vitamin D. There is now, all of the sudden, a clear link between severity and mortality with COVID and Vitamin D. 

Vitamin D was cool way before COVID. It’s been a vitamin we’ve needed to survive since we were created. This is why our evolving lifestyles of staying inside more and being more sedentary are literally killing us, because we fail to get one of God’s great vitamins on a daily basis. 

The importance of Vitamin D is often understated. When people think of Vitamin D they think of strong bones and avoiding diseases like rickets or osteoporosis. Rare diseases are not exactly motivating to up your sunlight exposure or supplementation.

But Vitamin D levels have also been tied to a strong immune system, a healthy life cycle of cells which reduces growth of cancer, lower risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome, better management of autoimmune disorders, and healthy nerve and neuromuscular health. 

Another big benefit of Vitamin D is better mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs more frequently in the winter time and in northern latitudes, and appears to be heavily correlated to a lack of sunlight and Vitamin D. Researchers have also seen vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are both highly prevalent in adolescents with severe mental illness. 

Unlike other vitamins, your body can create Vitamin D via the cholesterol in your body with help from UVB rays from sunlight. It’s so important that our own bodies can make it! If you live in a place where sunlight isn’t as easily attainable, you can supplement with a daily Vitamin D pill. 

If you polled Americans about where to get Vitamin D, I believe the majority would say “milk of course!” This is thanks to a job well done by milk marketers. But milk doesn’t naturally carry Vitamin D, it is fortified with it. Just as almond milk and soy milks are, as well as some orange juice products. 

I checked the almond milk in my fridge and it is fortified with 100 IU of Vitamin D, which is roughly the standard for all fortified products. The Institute of Medicine’s daily intake recommendation is 600 IU of Vitamin D for adults 1-70 years and 800 IU for adults over 70. Some health professionals recommend more like 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily. 

Even at the 600 IU daily recommendation, is anyone drinking 6 glasses of milk a day?

You can also get Vitamin D from fatty fish like tuna or salmon, egg yolks, beef liver, and cheese. Supplements are also an option and have shown to be effective.  

All of these options still don’t come close to the amount of Vitamin D your body gets from 20 minutes of sunlight. This is why a regular sunlight routine combined with a well-rounded diet of macro and micronutrients is the best way to a healthy life. 

There are ways to do sunlight right and make sure you’re maximizing your benefits from the sun. 

First, you want to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun, and it can easily be overdone, especially in the midday summer sun. Also, while we wear sunscreen to protect us, wearing sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or more reduces vitamin D synthesis in the skin by more than 95%. People with a naturally dark skin tone require at least three to five times longer exposure to make the same amount of vitamin D as a person with a white skin tone.

This is in no way a recommendation to not wear skin protection, but instead to carefully plan your sunlight exposure into small amounts. 

This is why a 15-20 minute walk in the sun can be so beneficial. Taking a walk on the beach can also give you extra benefits like breathing in fresh air, and grounding yourself through your bare feet walking on the sand. 

Proper nutrition is still extremely important as Vitamin D never acts alone. As mentioned before, it uses cholesterol and calcium to produce positive effects in your body. According to the nonprofit Vitamin D Council, “In order to receive the most health benefit from increased levels of vitamin D, the proper cofactors must be present in the body. Vitamin D has many cofactors, but the ones listed here are the most important, with magnesium topping the list: Magnesium, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Zinc and Boron.”

It’s also vital to realize that Vitamins A, D, K, and E are fat-soluble vitamins so they are best absorbed when eaten with a healthy fat source.  If you do purchase a Vitamin D supplement, you’ll notice it recommends being eaten with a higher-fat meal. 

If you’re following our guidance of the “plate method” with a large serving of veggies, a moderate-sized protein, a small to moderate starchy carb, and a small serving of healthy fats, you are getting the vitamins mentioned above. 

Get outside today and soak up some of the sun rays. Feel it replenish your body and enjoy the other benefits of fresh air or a salty breeze of the beach. Combine your daily Vitamin D intake with a mile walk or listening to a helpful podcast.


1% fitter today and every day, 

-Coach Tony