Tag Archives: vitamin d

Vitamin D and COVID-19

Food Sources of Vitamin D

In a pandemic, with a stay at home mandate, there is little you are able to control. However, self-care and diet are one aspect that you do have control over. What you and your child eat can contribute to how your immune system responds to COVID-19. Of particular interest, is the link between vitamin D and respiratory illness. Studies are linking individuals with vitamin deficiencies with more severe cases of COVID-19 and higher mortality rates.  Vitamin D plays an important role in immune function, including fighting diseases.  It has been linked to severity of respiratory infections in the past such as influenza. 

Here are a few ways to naturally increase vitamin D intake:

Vitamin D from the Sun
  • Eat fish. It is found in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. Eating six ounces of salmon gives you approximately 4,000 IU of vitamin D.
  • Go swimming. Vitamin D can be absorbed by the sun. However, to make enough, you need 15 minutes of sun exposure with no sunscreen and with lots of skin exposed such as wearing a swimsuit. Location and skin type can also affect absorption of vitamin D by the sun. 
  • Eat eggs. Vitamin D is found in egg yolks and can be enhanced by eating eggs from chickens that have been pasture raised. Why is pasture raised important? The chickens absorb sunlight when they are in the pasture, which adds more vitamin D to their eggs.
  • Read about it. Dr. Michael Holick, is a leading authority and researcher on vitamin D, he recommends 2,000 IU a day for adults and 1,000 IU for children. His book, The Vitamin D Solution, offers inexpensive, easy ideas to reverse vitamin D deficiency.

Science tells us vitamin D can reduce the symptoms of infectious diseases such as influenza and COVID-19. It plays an important role in bone and mental health as well. Enhancing intake is easily done with diet and sun exposure. However, it doesn’t hurt to supplement it, especially during a pandemic. When buying supplements make sure you buy from a quality source such as your chiropractor or O’Briens Pharmacy.

References

Grant WB, Lahore H, McDonnell SL, Baggerly CA, French CB, Aliano JL, Bhattoa HP. Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. Nutrients. 2020; 12(4):988.

Holick, M.F. Vitamin D Deficiency. New Engl. J. Med. 2007. 357:266-81.

The Brain Boosting Benefits of Vitamin D

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a not only a vitamin, but a hormone as well.  As a hormone, it helps with the absorption of calcium, which supports strong bones and muscles. It boosts your child’s brain by activating genes that release brain chemicals that play a role in mood and cognitive processing such as dopamine and serotonin. 

Why is it important?

Every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including major organs, such as the brain and heart. Our immune system also needs vitamin D to function.  It fights diseases and even reduces the likelihood of developing the flu. When vitamin D is deficient your child’s brain functioning is compromised, which may result in psychological disorders such as depression and ADHD. 

How does it boost my child’s brain? 

Vitamin D is linked to serotonin.  Serotonin is referred to as the “happiness hormone” for a reason.  An optimal level of serotonin is of significant importance for the brain and mood.  If serotonin is low depression and mental health issues may occur.  Research has also linked vitamin D with executive functioning (higher level cognitive skills needed to regulate behavior), memory, and cognitive impairment.

Ways to naturally boost vitamin D:

  • Spend time in the sunlight. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because the sun is one of the best ways to receive this nutrient.  Science tells us vitamin D from the sun is present twice as long in body than vitamin D from supplements. 
  • Eat fish.  Wild-caught fish is rich in vitamin D.  Salmon is especially great for the brain and contains about 50% of the daily recommended intake.  Other types of fish also contain vitamin D such as shrimp and tuna. 
  • Eat free-range eggs.  Chickens who have access to sunlight produce eggs with more vitamin D. 
  • Exercise. Harvard recently showed that vigorous exercise can boost vitamin D. Aerial yoga can be vigorous…

A healthy diet and plenty of sunshine are always the best ways to derive vitamin D. However, if your child is deficient, talk to your doctor about whether a supplement is needed. It’s always important to have levels checked with a blood test to confirm a deficiency and talk to medical professionals about the risks and benefits of supplements before giving your child any kind of supplement. Sunshine and running are free brain-boosting ways to increase vitamin D and best of all, they don’t require blood tests!

References

Hogberg G, Gustafsson SA, Hallstrom T, et al. Depressed adolescents in a case-series were low in vitamin D and depression was ameliorated by vitamin D supplementation. Acta. Paediatrica 101(7), 779-783 (2012).

Tolppanen AM SA, Fraser WD, Lewis G, et al. The association of serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 and D2 with depressive symptoms in childhood-a prospective cohort study. J. Child. Psychol. Psychiatry 53(7), 757-766 (2012)

Holick MF. Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Am. J. Clin. Nutr 80(6 Suppl), 1678s-88s (2004).