Vitamin D Supplementation
October 7, 2019
By Andrea Henkel Burke
Vitamin D –the bone helping, immune system regulating, nerve protecting, muscle supporter
All of us have heard that Vitamin D is important. But why does our body needs vitamin D?
Vitamins are essential nutrients, which means our body is not able to produce them on its own and so we need to get them through food or supplements. Our body can actually produce Vitamin D if we get UVB from the sun, along with some cholesterol, but we may still need a supplement.
Neat Trick? When you are outside, enjoying the sun, check out if your shadow is longer or shorter than your height. If it is longer, you will not get enough of the sun’s UVB to produce Vitamin D. Even in the middle of the summer, you may not get enough UVB to produce a sufficient supply of Vitamin D. You would need to be outside when the sun is standing up high – in the middle of the day. Also, you need to expose lots of pure skin (no cream, make up, textile) in order to get a full daily supply. So, having a full sunbath around noon for 15- 20 minutes will cover you very well ;).
There is some food packed with Vitamin D, such as egg yolks (yes, you don´t want to use only the egg whites for your scrambled eggs), fish (like salmon or tuna), fish oil (yum ;)), and mushrooms, which are the only plant based vitamin D source.
All right, back to the role of vitamin D in our body. Since there would be a lot to cover, I will point out some major benefits for us skiers. Many of you might know, Vitamin D does something for the bones and teeth. But what?
Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium in the intestine, that we can actually use the mineral. Calcium is the most important mineral for the bones, yet we still need Magnesium or Vitamin K to get the calcium into our bones. Since there are more minerals in our bones, Vitamin D also ensures the correct renewal and mineralization of the bone. Strong bones are fundamental for a well-functioning skeleton and good for us so if we fall we mightn’t break anything. I don’t know about you but skiing with the age of 90 is a goal of mine :)! Of course, it´s also great to have healthy teeth, and not only to be able to eat all those good calories we’ll burn exercising.
Vitamin D also supports our immune system big time. It makes sure our immune system doesn´t attack our own body cells and regulates our immune response. This means Vitamin D helps to activate the immune system, when needed, but also helps to make sure it doesn´t overreact. Having this immune regulator is key to perform well and recover fast.
Vitamin D protects our nerve cells, which are there not only for adequate brain function. Nerve cells are also part of your proprioceptive system, which also helps our balance on skies. Furthermore, Vitamin D supports muscle growth, which again helps at our current ages as well when we’re skiing at 90 years old. Vitamin D has been estimated to regulate somewhere between 200-300 genes....
When getting your blood tested, also ask about Vitamin D. You want to have a minimum of 30ng/ml, which is also 75nmol/L, depending on what the laboratory is using (but who wants to be on the low end of the spectrum in anything?). When you know your numbers you can use an online Vitamin D calculator, to find out how much Vitamin D is good and safe for you to take.
If you would like to dive even deeper into the Vitamin D topic, you can get information here, or on many other web pages.
I’ve already started taking some additional Vitamin D again. If you are thinking of supplementing, please make sure you take a high quality one! Hereis my choice. I am also happy to answer additional questions about supportive supplementation.
I hope you thought this article was helpful. I wish you great training; winter is just around the corner.