What if I told you that there is a vitamin out there that could fight off depression?1 Or how about one that could reduce the risk of autism?2
What if I told you that there is a vitamin out there that could strengthen the entire human frame, improve our expression of genes, and increase our overall sense of health and wellbeing?3 Would you believe me? You should, and I’ll tell you why.
The Miracle of Liquid Sunshine
When I was in chiropractic school, my friends and I enjoyed mushroom hunting through the parks in St. Louis and would often incorporate them into our meals. So as I was perusing the aisles of the grocery store a few weeks ago and caught a glimpse of these mid-to-late Fall fungi, I tossed some in the cart to cook up for breakfast the next day.
When I got home and headed out to do some yardwork, I was surprised to find the cousins of the fungi I had just purchased, strewn throughout my lawn. I carried my son over and looked at the design of mushroom stumps and realized something amazing: The mushrooms had grown up from the root systems of two trees we’d taken down a year ago, using the vitamins and minerals still remaining in the dead and broken roots.
You see, God created nature without any inefficiencies. We all know that when a tree is living, the majority of its energy is created when its leaves absorb sunlight and it absorbs water and nutrients through the soil.
The mushrooms following those roots were only part of my realization, the other part was that the awesome, super-human, fat-soluble vitamin I was discussing is basically the equivalent of liquid sunshine. The vitamin I’m discussing is cholecalciferol, otherwise known as Vitamin D3.
Now you’re thinking, “Liquid sunshine? Really?” But here’s the whole truth: Through a healthy diet, devoid of processed, prepackaged food, you consume inactive forms of vitamin D that basically circulate about your body and wait to be activated when you’re exposed to sunlight (UV B rays to be specific).
But the even cooler part is what was happening while you were seeking sunlight all summer long. There was some dead tree decomposing nearby, and a fungus happened upon this tree only to swallow up its roots and grow. When it came up and was exposed to sunlight, it did the very same thing your skin did – it activated Vitamin D into Vitamin D3. All of this is happening as the sunshine we’re exposed to begins to dwindle and our world heads into winter.
As we’re headed into what Farmer’s Almanac predicts will be a very snowy and intense winter, many of us have prepared our homes to maximize their energy efficiency and “stop heating the outside.” My wife and I are doing the same, but one thing I’ve noticed with this significant investment in the weather prepping of our homes is that many of us do not prep our bodies for the same stressors.
How to Thrive in Winter with the Help of Vitamin D
Research has shown that Vitamin D is strongly linked to mental health, and tons of us get depressed during the cold months because we haven’t winterized our bodies and we’ve used up our Vitamin D.
So our world is set up in such a way that at the time we begin to lose our supply of Vitamin D, it sprouts from the ground in the form of food. All of this is offering us an opportunity to prep our bodies for the coming onslaught of wind, gray skies, and cold.
Now that is awesome.
Here’s how Vitamin D can benefit you and help you not just survive this winter, but thrive.
Top Benefits of Vitamin D
Supports Mental Health
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression and mood swings are common, especially in northern states, and one study on college students in the Pacific Northwest found a pretty significant link between D3 and what they called “clinically meaningful depressive symptoms.”1
Supports Strong Bone Density
A study on pig models showed that vitamin D deficient sows gave birth to extremely deficient sows, but that their offspring could make bone density improvements with D supplementation to a weaned diet. It also showed that piglets fed from their mothers had variable D status and bone density dependent on the mother’s diet.3 Why a pig study? Inducing deficiency in humans would be shut down by any research review board for one. And secondly, pigs are often used in research because they bear more similarities to the way our organs work than other animals.
Promotes a Healthy Immune System
Vitamin D is widely accepted as being extremely beneficial to the immune system and according to some studies Dr. Tim found, is more effective than the flu shot at helping you dodge illness this winter.
Even our government’s research database recognizes that approximately 40% of the US population is deficient in Vitamin D. Interestingly enough, they also note, “However, important sources of vitamin D are egg yolk, fatty fish, fortified dairy products and beef liver.” 4 5 Some of the very foods we’ve been taught until recently to avoid…
Reduces the Risk of Autism
Another study that is so recent it’s only been released in e-publication showed that pregnant women’s vitamin D levels are incredibly important in decreasing risk of health issues in children. “Gestational vitamin D deficiency was associated with autism-related traits in a large population-based sample.”
Best Sources of Vitamin D
So let’s get into the nitty-gritty. You’re gonna go “Bob Vila from ‘This Old House’” on your body with some vitamin D.
First things first: Where can we get more Vitamin D? Fast answer: Just like I mentioned above, eggs, as well as fatty fish (wild caught salmon), and liver. Mushrooms, although in stores labeled as good sources, are usually not unless they’ve been specially exposed to extra UV B light to enhance their vitamin D content. Most people who don’t live near the equator should supplement over the winter to get to the levels their bodies need.
Second, are there good and bad sources/versions of vitamin D? Yes. The version you’re looking for is Vitamin D3 (aka Cholecalciferol). Additionally, good supplement sources for vitamin D are emulsified vitamin D. All that means is that the vitamin D is mixed into a fat source.
Third, how can we take our vitamin D to the next level? Any time you’re taking vitamin D, take it with a meal that has a good source and sufficient amount of fat to help you absorb it.
Last thing to really winterize your body: Many of us just finished our biggest sugar and junk food binge of the entire year. Some of you have decided to make 2017 a different year. Run with that. Stop poisoning your body with sugar-coated and soy-bean-oil-filled foods. These are the things that rob you of your precious vitamin and mineral stores in the first place. With the increases in vitamin D, we’re helping things become more efficient on the inside. That’s great, but every week that goes by where you’re still pouring toxic sludge from a drive-thru into your body, it’s like adding a draft to the doors and windows of your otherwise winterized home.
Like I said, run with your inclinations to make 2017 a different and healthier year. You’re worth it.
Stay Healthy My Friends,
Dr. Bob Griesse, DC, CSCS
1Psychiatry Res. 2015 May 30;227(1):46-51. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.02.016. Epub 2015 Mar 5.
2Mol Psychiatry. 2016 Nov 29. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.213.
3Br J Nutr. 2016 Sep;116(5):774-87. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516002658. Epub 2016 Aug 2.
4Nutr Res. 2011 Jan;31(1):48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.12.001.
5Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2010 Jan; 4(1): V–VI.