Are Vitamin D Supplements Bad For You? How to Get Vitamin D Properly
In recent years, Vitamin D supplements have become the new calcium. Left and right, doctors and health enthusiasts are recommending Vitamin D supplementation. Most people are deficient thanks to spending most of their time indoors, but supplementation can become dangerous quickly.
The problem with Vitamin D supplementation is that Vitamin D is not a vitamin at all, but a hormone, and supplementing with Vitamin D can cause your body to produce less of it’s own. The other problems have to do with over-calcification. One of Vitamin D’s roles in the body is to hold on to calcium, and here in the U.S. we consume high amounts of calcium. Without adequate Magnesium to balance your calcium intake, Vitamin D will cause calcium to concentrate in your arteries, which is how heart disease begins for many people.
Another factor in Vitamin D supplementation is using the right kind. Many Vitamin D supplements are Vitamin D2 which is synthetic, and appears in many supplements. You want to use Vitamin D3, which is natural and mimics the Vitamin D used in your body. However, it is not enough to just supplement Vitamin D3. Inside the body, Vitamin D requires Vitamin K2 to prevent over-calcification and also work properly in the body. The best way to get Vitamin K2 is to get a Vitamin D3 supplement that also contains Vitamin K2. This will ensure you get the proper ratios. It is also pertinent to supplement with magnesium, either magnesium citrate or malate as much as you can handle per day without getting loose stool.
Finally, if you are going to supplement with Vitamin D3, get a blood test to see what your levels are. It is commonly believed that ideal Vitamin D levels in the blood are in the range of 30 to 74 ng/ml. Many find that 60 ng/ml works well for them. You’ll want to test your levels before beginning supplementation, and test again after 3 weeks of supplementation. If you want to raise your Vitamin D 20 ng/ml, say from 30 to 50, you should supplement with higher daily doses of 6,000 to 10,000 iu for the first week and then lowering to 5,000 iu for the remaining weeks. This will allow most people to raise their levels without risking overdose of Vitamin D, provided their starting point is not already high.
Now that you have all that information, I’m going to let you in on a secret. The best way to supplement Vitamin D is to not supplement at all. Get out in the sun. If you can, direct exposure to sunlight is the safest and most reliable method for raising our Vitamin D levels, and if you have access, this is how you should raise your levels before using any other means. For many people, a little sunlight is all they actually need. 20 minutes of sun, 3 to 4 times a week, can raise Vitamin D levels 20 ng/ml or more over the course of a few weeks. The best way to get Vitamin D by using sunlight is to expose as much skin as possible. If your backyard fences are high enough, or you simply do not fear public indecency charges, then as the saying goes: “Let it all hang out.” In fact, for guys, the skin on and around the “groin” produces the most Vitamin D and Testosterone when exposed to Ultraviolet and Infrared light. After that, our back produces more Vitamin D than our front, but be sure to expose as many sides of your body as possible. I have a more in-depth article on the subject of sun exposure here.
Thankfully, 20 minutes is all you need, so even those who sunburn easily should be able to take advantage of sun exposure. It’s best to use as little sunscreen as possible when getting sun for the purpose of health, and if you can, try to avoid sunscreen as much as possible without getting sunburns. It is better to use it than to get a sunburn, but if you are one of those people who can slowly get a tan, and then go the whole summer without using any sunblock, do it.
For more information on proper Vitamin D supplementation, look into the work of Dr. Carolyn Dean (google search Caroline Dean Vitamin D) for information on the crucial role of Magnesium in proper Vitamin D utilization. Other great sources include the work of Dr. Jack Cruse, or Biohacker Ben Greenfield on their respective websites: www.jackkruse.com and www.bengreenfieldfitness.com
Lastly, a great, reliable Vitamin D3 supplement with a balanced ratio of Vitamin D3 to Vitamin K2 is this one, by Thorne.
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