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Training. Nutrition. Supplements.

Three big aspects of a plan to get healthier and stronger.

The reason why Supplements are such a big part of Journeyman Fitness is the simple fact that 92% of people in the United States are deficient in one or more nutrients. This is according to the CDC and USDA.

To keep this post simple as possible, we’re going to narrow down our discussion to one of the most important micronutrients – Vitamin D.

How do you get Vitamin D? Well, there isn’t a “Vitamin D rich” food, so you can either get through sun exposure or through supplements. Generally, 15 minutes of being in sun exposure will be adequate for your body but the darker your skin tone, the harder it is for your body to convert it into Vitamin D3. Also, once it turns to late Fall, Winter, and early Spring when the sun is constantly behind clouds, the body is usually wrapped under layers of clothes to protect from the cold. That’s where supplements come in.

sun-exposure-vitamin-d

What happens if you’re Vitamin D deficient? You may be increasing your risk of chronic diseases like: osteoporosis, heart disease, some cancers, and multiple sclerosis, as well as infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and even the seasonal flu.

This last one – becoming susceptible to the seasonal flu – is something I want to highlight today. An article released through Nature Immunology in 2010 discussed how Vitamin D helps T cells fight pathogens in the body.

Lead Researcher Carston Geisler told Food Consumer:

“When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or ‘antenna’ known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D.

This means the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won’t even begin to mobilize.”

The “Explain it Like I’m 5” explanation – if you’re deficient in Vitamin D, you’re more likely to catch the flu.

A double blind experiment with school children showed that the incident of the flu was lower in the group who was supplemented with 1200 IUs per day of Vitamin D3 vs a group of children with a placebo. Two groups of 167 school children were tracked from December 2008 to March 2009.

It seems like a no brainer to me to supplement your daily routine with Vitamin D3. However, it’s not a quick fix to just add Vitamin D3 to your diet. It’ll take weeks for your body to raise the levels in your body so a few days of Vitamin D supplements won’t be enough. It must become a practice in conjunction with consults with your Doctor in addition to blood work to monitor progress.

But, a few weeks of additional Vitamin D is a small price to pay for a reduced chance of the flu come this winter.



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