Vitamin D3 is a critical building block of the body’s health. It works in tandem with many of your body’s functions and systems, including the heart and nervous system, the skeleton, and the immune system.Did you know that 70% of the body’s immune system is housed in the gastrointestinal tract? Your body’s ability to absorb nutrients is directly related to the state of your immune system — and the case could not be more so than for that of the vitamin directly related to your immunity. Consistent lack of Vitamin D-3 is associated with auto-immune disorders, osteoporosis, rickets, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and loss of bone density –but many times this deficiency is asymptomatic. Severe issues are normally due to a chronic deficiency that worsens over time, and because of this it is important to do regular blood work.
You may have a vitamin D3 deficiency even if you spend sufficient time in the sun, depending on your genetic risk factors or if you have a disease which affects absorption of nutrients. Darker skinned people are at high risk for vitamin D3 deficiency as are those with Celiac’s, Crohn’s disease, or chronic gastritis. Those who are obese, those who lack a college education, and those who do not consume milk daily are also considered among those with a higher risk association.
Studies have shown that Vitamin D3 is more effective at raising general Vitamin D levels than that of Vitamin D2. In those with normal Vitamin D3 levels, 10-15 minutes of sunlight without sunscreen is sufficient daily to provide adequate levels of Vitamin D. In addition, foods rich in Vitamin D, especially eaten with your largest meal of the day, raise your body’s vitamin D levels.
The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D is 600 International Units for those under 70 who do not have risk factors and do not live in a sun-deprived setting. However, if you struggle with absorption or immunity problems or are in a high-risk category, you may need additional supplementation. Recent studies have found that mega dosing vitamin D3 for small periods of time boosts absorption and immunity in those who are at high risk factors, suffer from immune disorders, or suffer from some form of malabsorption.
A megadose is 6,000 IU for adults under 70 and 8,000 for those over 70. Intake of Vitamin D through foods such as cod liver oil, though over 300% of the recommended daily amount, will not cause toxicity according to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements. However, because vitamin D3 is fat soluble, any extra which the body does not need will be stored by the body for a later date. For this reason it is not recommended to megadose on vitamin D-3 for long periods of time. In order to achieve the full benefits, you should megadose for a few weeks only.