The shops should be selling out of Vitamin D, running shoes and health-foods…but instead, we’re wondering when next we can buy a beer or go out for a glass of wine…or should I buy a few more cartons of cigarettes because the president is going to speak later.
If ever there was a time to be healthy, it would be now. We’re in the grips of the worst pandemic most of us have ever witnessed or will witness in our lifetimes. We’re staying away from public spaces, forgoing Christmas gatherings, skipping church, social distancing, visiting friends through fences while wearing face-masks…we’re making some rather drastic changes to our individual culture and even to our circle of friends and associates. Changes that pick at the fabric that makes us “Us”. The confusing thing to me is watching these same people making all of these changes but then do nothing about the food going in their mouth or the nonsense going in their ears.
If all you’re doing is washing your hands (more) and wearing a mask with a side of social distancing here and there then I’m here to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. You’re off to a good start, but you’re still doing it wrong. In combat and sport, there’s a thing called Offence AND Defence.
What’s the best Defence? A Good Offence.
That’s right, wearing a mask and all those other passive avoidant behaviours are all Defence…and there’s nothing wrong with Defence. But, how about you start working on your Offence. Turn yourself into a stronger human because strong humans are hard to kill. Eat right, take your vitamins and exercise. Eating right isn’t actually rocket science (put down the sugar, eat more vegetables and drink more water) and nor is exercise for that matter (work up a sweat for 20-30 mins most days of the week) so I’ll focus on ‘take your vitamins’ because sometimes that can actually be rocket-science.
It’s quite frightening that when our dear leader addresses us in regard to when we can drink beer again he doesn’t deliver some really sound advice on how to improve our health through simple things like diet and exercise. It’s the typical medical approach…make sure the heart attack patient knows to take their meds, but for Heaven’s sake don’t give them any advice on diet and exercise…the two things that could actually reverse their disease process.
So, if you’re really worried (or even if you’re not that worried) about the current virus situation then by taking just one supplement (Vitamin D) you will immediately improve your immune system and better your chances against infection by building a stronger immune system…guaranteed!
Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) is such a no-brainer for so many reasons, it’s hard to list but here goes.
The only two ways to get this Vitamin is either through sun exposure or through diet (fish oils, egg yolks, certain mushrooms and red meat) or supplementation (Vitamin D supplementation).
We live in sunny SA so it stands to reason that we should all have sufficient Vitamin D levels, right? Wrong. Most people (even in sunny South Africa) only spend 7-8% of the time outdoors and 68% of the time we are inside our residence (bring on Level 5 lockdown), 5.5% of the time in vehicles, 5.4% in an office, 11% in other indoor locations and finally bars and restaurant 1.8%. In Winter these numbers just get worse. Lockdown = more indoor time = less Vit D.
As we age the ability of our skin to produce Vitamin D drops by twofold.
In the past, Vitamin D was associated with calcium and phosphorus metabolism in the Kidney but more recently, research has shown the presence of Vitamin D receptors in our immune system which are responsible for taking in the inactive Vitamin D and converting it into the active form.
White blood cells (leukocytes) involved in fighting infections and other disease contain Vitamin D receptors and require Vitamin D for proper function.
Vitamin D can be turned off by Sugar. Eat sugar = drop in immune function.
Kidney disease = loss of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D increases the expression of antimicrobial peptides in human monocytes and neutrophils which aid in the prevention of disease.
Research has shown that Vitamin D may enhance the expression of the human Cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (hCAP-18) which is of specific importance in host defense against respiratory tract pathogens.
It is well accepted that respiratory tract infections increase as Vitamin D levels drop.
Because Vitamin D is stored in fat tissue, the more fat you have the more you can store which means the less available Vitamin D in circulation for your body to use.
Research also shows that respiratory mortality (death due to respiratory disease) is directly proportional to your Vitamin D levels: Less than 30nmol/L = increased risk (3 times more likely) while greater than 50nmol/L = less risk.
So that’s just some simple bullet points on Vitamin D that should make it pretty clear how important this vitamin is for you…especially during this time. The big take-away is in addition to all the precautions, we have to take, we also need to boost our immune systems as naturally as possible. Even with social distancing and mask-wearing, the chances of exposure and infection remain high.
A free bottle of Selenium to the person who can tell me why Selenium is so important in regards to mutating viruses.
Yours in health
Dr. Peter Solomon
PS. I highly recommend the Metagenics Vitamin D3 Supplement.