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vitamin supplementation

Sources with High Vitamin D

I have observed that there are plenty of people interested in Vitamin D, its health benefits and best supplements to take to reach optimal levels.  As you may know by now I am an eat first supplement if necessary person, so the intent of this article is to give you the basic facts about the health benefits of Vitamin D and the best sources with the highest contents found so you can decide if you need to supplement or not.

Vitamin D has many health benefits necessary for optimal function and health including:

  • Absorption and transfer of minerals across cell membranes including; magnesium, iron and zinc, as well as calcium.
  • Controlling levels of calcium in the blood. Low calcium levels in the diet will draw calcium out of the bones and into the blood thus resulting in bone loss.  Vitamin D and calcium are both needed to maintain proper balance.
  • Effective antioxidant properties
  • Reduction of cataracts
  • Maintains proper synthesis and release of insulin to control blood glucose levels which helps reduce the risk of diabetes

These are just some of the benefits of Vitamin D, and the benefits are significant enough to concern us that being deficient may bring with it several health concerns.  One of the biggest concerns with Vitamin D deficiency is the association of low vitamin D and several diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and Crohn’s disease along with many cancers like skin breast, prostate and colon.

With its various functions, getting enough Vitamin D is necessary for optimal health.  However, some have stayed away from known sources of Vitamin D for fear or toxicity.  According to the Weston Price Foundation:

Vitamin programs usually omit vitamin D because of concerns about toxicity. These concerns are valid because vitamin D in all forms can be toxic in pharmacological (drug-like) doses. The dangers of toxicity have not been exaggerated, but the doses needed to result in toxicity have been ill defined with the unfortunate result that many people currently suffer from vitamin-D deficiency or insufficiency.

Even if you have fear of toxicity, supplementation may be unnecessary due to the number of ways to obtain Vitamin D and therefore toxicity from supplementation can be avoided.  I will list the five sources that are some of the best sources of Vitamin D.

Seafood

The most varietal food source containing Vitamin D is found in seafood.  Did your mother ever give you a big, hearty teaspoon of cod liver oil before you went to school?  You most likely didn’t like the taste, however she was doing you a great favor because cod liver oil ranks really high on the list of vitamin D sources.

One small serving of cod liver oil can contain anywhere around 750-900 IUs of Vitamin D.  The RDA guidelines are around 200-400IUs daily.  This range is considered low by some researches including the Weston Price Foundation who suggest that people were consuming around 3,000-6,000 IUs before the establishment of the western die; so if you follow their guidelines then you will be all set after one serving of cod liver oil.

I suggest that you get a good cod liver oil brand that is considered pure and high vitamin.  The one I take is from Radiant Life (I do not make any money off of this suggestion).

If you really enjoy your seafood and want to add a little more Vitamin D to your diet, other seafood considered to have substantial vitamin D levels are: Atlantic herring, oysters, catfish, sardines, and mackerel.

Meat

The meats with the highest levels of Vitamin D usually come in the form of different liver varieties and organ meats.  Also look for grass-fed beef and lamb as your best source for higher Vitamin D content.

Eggs

I always get a little upset that people throw away the yolks when they cooks eggs thinking they are somehow bad for them.  Hopefully this will shed some perspective on the situation.  Egg yolks contain anywhere from 24-35IUs of Vitamin D; whereas egg whites contain ZERO!   It’s true that most of the protein is found in the egg whites but the rich vitamins our bodies need are found only in the yolk.  So either keep the egg intact or mail the yolks off to me so I can eat them.

Sun Light

Us humans have the ability to produce vitamin D from cholesterol catalyzed when our skin is exposed to the sun, however it would take a large amount of sun exposure (approximately 24 hours of UV-B ray exposure) to produce the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D; you would get a massive sunburn before this even happened.

However, don’t get discouraged.   Minimal exposure to the sun a few times a week can help add some more Vitamin D towards the optimal levels.  According to the Weston Price Foundation, sun exposure of hands, face and arms for 10-20 minutes, three times a week, provides 200-400 IU of vitamin D each time or an average of 100-200 IU per day during the summer months.

Conclusion

The necessity for optimal levels of Vitamin D in our bodies is obvious for disease prevention, hormone stabilization and maintaining a strong, healthy body.  Unlike other vitamin sources Vitamin D is primarily obtained through seafood sources and organ meats.

With sun exposure contributing only minimal amounts of Vitamin D synthesis, it is important to eat a diet rich in seafood and organ meat.  Also, supplementation with high quality cod liver oil may be necessary to reach these optimal levels.

 

Resource:

Weston Price Foundation

Boston Globe: Vitamin D deficiency tied to a host of dangers

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Sunday, October 30th, 2011 Nutrition No Comments

Should You Supplement? Vitamin C, the Key to Open Many Doors

Now that you have read the first and second installments of Should You Supplement? and restored your Omega-3 levels within your healthy nutritional plan; it’s time to look into another common supplement which may help you achieve optimal health.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is an essential nutrient that we humans cannot manufacture so it must be obtained through the consumption of various fruits and vegetables.  Some of the best food sources for vitamin C include;

  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupes
  • Peppers
  • Kiwis
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruits

Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants that can protect against damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals, as well as toxic chemicals and pollutants like cigarette smoke.  Free radicals can build up and contribute to the development of health problems.  I’m sure most people could give one or two examples of the symptoms and diseases that vitamin C helps to treat, and potentially prevent.  Some are proven, and especially where prevention is concerned, many still need more proof through scientific studies to tout the useful aide of this vitamin.  Some of the symptoms and diseases treated and possibly prevented with vitamin C include:

  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Cancer
  • Stress
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Skin aging

Maybe a Little Vitamin C Supplementation Will Keep You From Being Sicker than a Dog

Vitamin C may also have many positive benefits for proper body function including:

  • Improve macular degeneration
  • Lowering of cholesterol
  • Formation of collagen
  • Reduction of inflammation and joint soreness
  • Absorption of iron
  • Maintenance of proper immune system function
  • Maintenance of healthy cartilage, bones, and teeth
  • Reduction of asthma
  • Reduction of cortisol levels
  • Wound healing

There is no doubt that vitamin C is necessary for a healthy lifestyle but there are the questions of what happens if I get too little, what happens if I take too much, how much should I take and how often?  These questions do not have easy answers because it really depends on the person and the current situation they are in.  Through the research I have done I will give you my general findings.

According to Elson M. Haas M.D. ; “For most purposes, vitamin C in many forms of use is nontoxic.”  Both he and Dr. Eric Serrano agree that vitamin C is not stored in the body with excess amounts being excreted through the urine.  Overdose is not much of a factor and not serious for most adults consuming under 5-10 grams/day.  The most common side effect of too much consumption is diarrhea.

Hass states that, “Many medical problems have been found to be associated with low blood levels of vitamin C. These problems include various infections, colds, depression, high blood pressure, arthritis, vascular fragility, allergies, ulcers, and cholesterol gallstones.”  Seems like if you had to choose between the two, it may be better to have too much than two little, however the optimal amount is ideal, so what is that optimal amount?

The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance – By The Food And Drug Administration) recommends 60 milligrams per day for adults to maintain normal body functions but is this recommendation too small?  As stated earlier in the article, vitamin C is a factor in so many body functions it seems that the amount needed should be dependent on other factors in our daily lives.  Hass explains that vitamin C needs are increased with all kinds of stress (physical, emotional, and environmental).  It is important to note that smoking decreases vitamin C levels along with birth control pills, estrogen for menopause, cortisone use, and aspirin.

Both Dr. Hass and Serrano recommend doses higher than the suggested RDA daily dosage.  Suggestion for vitamin C use is about 2–10 grams per day for an active and healthy person.  Hass explains his reason for suggesting higher doses depend on the needs of the individual, “Requirements for vitamin C vary and may be higher according to state of health, age (needs increase with years), weight, activity and energy levels, and general metabolism. Stress, illness, and injuries further increase the requirements for ascorbic acid.”

Vitamin C is easily absorbed by the body with an average absorption rate of approximately 90% and it is best absorbed when doses are spaced out throughout the day.  According to an article by Dr. Serrano, “Maximal absorption is attained by the ingestion of several spaced dosages of 500 mg to 2 grams throughout the day.” Vitamin C’s half-life is 3 to 4 hours. This means you need to take vitamin C every 4 to 6 hours to keep your levels elevated.”

Serrano recommends dividing doses three times daily.  He claims that the most important times to take vitamin C are one hour prior to training and two hours after your workout is completed, “By ingesting 2 to 4 grams at these times the Cortisol response will be minimized and the antioxidant effect of vitamin C maximized.”

Great Ways to Add Vitamin C to your Diet

As we have seen, vitamin C is a very important vitamin for optimal health and supplementing with doses higher than the RDA suggested levels may be beneficial for an active individual looking to build a strong body and prevent or even combat certain illnesses and diseases.  The Vitamin C Foundation has a list of the amount of milligrams of vitamin C found in popular foods. http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/usda.html.  Peppers have the highest amount of vitamin C content at just less than 2 grams and oranges have a measly 0.059 grams.  The point being that supplementation of vitamin C may be necessary to maintain optimum levels.  Serrano suggests a time released vitamin C pill and to never buy chewable tablets because the acid can destroy tooth enamel.

Personally I do supplement with vitamin C and consume about 4-8 grams spaced out over the day.  I take about 2-4 grams in the morning and then about 1 gram dosages spaced throughout the day.  If I feel like I’m getting sick I increase the dosages.  I get my vitamin C supplements from Wholesale Nutrition.

Along with a balanced and healthy diet, supplementing a little vitamin C a few times a day may be just what we need to build the best bodies we can inside and out.

Resources:

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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 Nutrition No Comments
 

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