oranges for vitamin d rich foods

The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been at the front of MS research for a while now.

It is thought that lower blood levels of vitamin D put an individual at risk for developing MS. And it also looks like vitamin D can also be used as a protection and in myelin repair once MS has been diagnosed. So to say vitamin D is important in Multiple Sclerosis is an understatement.

When first researching facts about MS, one of the interesting things you learn is that the further away from the equator you live, the more prevalent MS is. At first it seems to be mind-boggling, but when you really think about it, what is closer to the equator? Sunlight, therefore vitamin D.

This seems to corroborate the theory that higher vitamin D levels throughout your life serve as a protective factor against MS. Also, individuals born in May have higher MS rates as well. The thought is that the mother was pregnant during winter months, when Sun and therefore vitamin D exposure is lower. 

But why are these things true?

Well, as with most things, all the literature says the reason is “unknown”, but I call BS on that.

Vitamin D is crucial for many processes and conversions to happen within the body. It is one of the building blocks of a stable immune system and it is needed for calcium homeostasis, among other reactions.

Current Research

There are always numerous studies going on that involve MS. Many of them are investigating the role of vitamin D in MS, either in looking at how vitamin D can affect the development of MS or using vitamin D to treat MS.

In one study out of Ohio State University, one doctor is looking at low vitamin D levels in early life and whether or not that increases the risk of developing MS later in life.

In another study out of Johns Hopkins University, a doctor there is looking at the effectiveness of high-dose vitamin D supplementation as compared to Copaxone.

Ways to Get Vitamin D

So you want to add more Vitamin D to your life? Great choice! There are several ways to go about this. First being obvious, the sun!

Heading out for 15-30 minutes a day will be very beneficial. And, if you go out earlier in the day, you’ll be helping out your circadian rhythms as well, bonus! 

Second, there’s food. Unfortunately not many foods contain vitamin d. But a few that do are cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon and tuna. 

Third, you can supplement. Talking to your doctor to test for your current blood levels will help you figure out how much you need to take in supplement form. Many people take around 2,000IU a day.

Vitamin D and Covid

Vitamin D has been making headlines in the treatment of Covid-19 in recent weeks. Research is showing that having optimal levels of vitamin D is important if you contract covid.

A recent study in the journal Nature compared those with asymptomatic covid to those with severe covid. They found that 97% of the people in the severe group had a vitamin D deficiency as opposed to 33% in the asymptomatic group.

What’s even more important is the fatality rate. The fatality rate in the lower vitamin D group was 7 times higher than those with optimal vitamin D numbers. 

Now don’t come at me with correlation isn’t causation. I know. However, since it seems like vitamin D is correlated with a more severe case of covid and it’s a fairly easy thing to modulate, it wouldn’t hurt to be mindful of your vitamin D level.

woman in the sun for vitamin d

My Experience

For a few years now I’ve been taking a daily vitamin D supplement. I have been taking anywhere from 2000 to 6000 IU drops sublingually.

I prefer drops over pills because drops bypass my digestive track and get right into the bloodstream, for much faster and more effective absorption.

I also try to get outside for at least 15 minutes a day, without sunscreen. It was easy in the summer, but now we’re getting into the colder months it’s harder. But I’m doing the best I can!

Conclusion

Vitamin D delivered in a pill and vitamin D delivered by the sun are two different forms of vitamin D and both are beneficial! Vitamin D via pill alone just won’t cut it. Sunlight is absolutely necessary as well.

Unfortunately, sunlight has received a bad reputation and everyone feels as though we need to block it out every time we go for a short walk. In reality, this is just not the case.

I’m not saying go lay outside for hours unprotected and bake away, but being outside for 30 minutes without sunscreen will actually give you a lot of benefits!

Hopefully in the near future some of the research studies will come back with a definitive answer about high-dose vitamin D therapies and how we could possibly prevent MS and other diseases with vitamin D earlier in life.

But as for me, I know my current supplementation isn’t hurting anything, so I’m going to keep on keeping on with my drops and lazy strolls in the sun.