Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is a required micronutrient for maintaining optimal inflammatory responses and healthy immunity. Aside from fortifying the immune system, vitamin D3 increases muscle protein synthesis and leads to higher circulating testosterone, FSH, and LH.*
Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiencies are rampant, especially in the areas with the least exposure to the sun. That's because the body naturally produces Vitamin D when skin has direct exposure to sunlight. Adding to the problem, it's difficult to absorb enough D3 in our diets. Without proper or optimal vitamin D levels, T cells aren't effective and flat out don't activate.*
To make matters worse, it's really difficult to achieve or maintain adequate levels of D3 with most supplements. Studies show that D3 in microencapsulated form is the most bioavailable and longest lasting. Its effects remain constant for up to 14 days, making it superior to the oil-based vitamin D3 supplements that make up most of the market.*
- Supports optimal inflammatory responses*
- Boosts immune function*
- Elevates mood*
- Promotes health cell maintenance*
- Supports healthy skin and bone development*
A recent study found that at least 56% of athletes worldwide have inadequate vitamin D status. And 42% of US adults are vitamin D deficient.
Most are at least aware of the importance of vitamin D in health and performance. Some even try to bring their vitamin D levels up to an optimal range. The problem? It isn't easy to get those levels up.
Little-Known Benefits Of Vitamin DVitamin D increases muscle protein synthesis and aerobic and anaerobic exercise capacity.
- Vitamin D helps maintain muscle mass during long periods of inactivity.
- Vitamin D insufficiency correlates strongly with reduced lung capacity.
- Vitamin D deficiency causes arteries to get stiff.
- Vitamin D modulates innate and adaptive immune responses.
- Vitamin D, at optimal levels, give women higher circulating estradiol, testosterone, FSH, LH, and DHEA, all of which lead to better health and even better sex.
But even if the average athlete or person perked up and assumed responsibility for their vitamin D status, they'd have several hurdles to overcome.
Hurdle 1: Getting Sunlight, But Not Too Much
The best and most natural way to fortify vitamin D is lying virtually naked in the sun at least twice a week for 20 minutes.
However, this sunbathing has a legitimate risk of skin cancer. Even if we regularly expose our skin to the sun, most of us wear sunscreen, which blocks the skin's ability to convert UVB radiation into vitamin D3.
Besides, many people live at the "wrong" latitudes and only get therapeutic amounts of sunlight a few months out of the year.
Hurdle 2: It's Hard to Get Enough Vitamin D From Foods
What about eating a lot of vitamin-D-rich foods? It's a logical course of action, but it also has its shortcomings. For one, there aren't that many naturally rich vitamin D foods. Aside from eggs, cod liver oil, certain fatty fish, some algae, and a few varieties of mushrooms, vitamin D is generally in short supply.
Besides, the amount of vitamin D in food doesn't reflect its bioavailability. A lot of the vitamin is bound up in the actual food and remains bound when you eat it.
Interactions between vitamin D and other fat-soluble nutrients and other factors such as age, health, genetics, and obesity can lessen vitamin D's effect.
And heat, moisture, oxygen exposure, and poor storage diminishes vitamin D potency. That means you can cook out food's vitamin-D content.
Hurdle 3: You Need a Mineral to Make It Work
Vitamin D has a biochemical partner that helps with uptake and use. This partner is the mineral magnesium, which is already largely deficient in the typical American diet. Some surveys have calculated that 85% of Americans are lacking in this super-important mineral.
In two studies involving patients suffering from vitamin D rickets, magnesium supplementation decreased resistance to vitamin D treatment. In contrast, intramuscular infusion of high amounts of vitamin D alone (up to 600,000 IU) didn't do squat.
To further complicate things, athletes generally have it even worse because magnesium sweats out. The more you sweat, the more magnesium-compromised you are, increasing your body's inability to transport, synthesize, and activate vitamin D.
What About Vitamin D Supplementation?
Next to lying in the sun, supplementation is generally the most efficient way to up your vitamin D game. The trouble is, vitamin D supplements are prone to the same manufacturing and absorption problems attributed to vitamin-D-containing foods.
Recent technological advances have changed all that. The only form of vitamin D3 worth taking is microencapsulated D3. This form is vitamin D3 molecules encapsulated in liposomes or solid lipid nanoparticles.
The vitamin then presents as tiny beadlets and is protected from moisture, oxidation, pH, temperature, and mechanical forces. The microencapsulated product is stable, water dispersible, and, most importantly, highly bioavailable.
Studies show that the effects of microencapsulated vitamin D3 remain constant for up to 14 days, making it far superior to the conventional vitamin D3 supplements that comprise most of the market. People who use it have reported rapid and impressive vitamin D3 increases.
- Aranow C. Vitamin D and the Immune System. J Investigative Medicine, 2011 Aug;59(6):881-886. ABSTRACT: Quote: "It is now clear that vitamin D has important roles in addition to its classic effects on calcium and bone homeostasis. As the vitamin D receptor is expressed on immune cells (B cells, T cells and antigen presenting cells) and these immunologic cells are all are capable of synthesizing the active vitamin D metabolite, vitamin D has the capability of acting in an autocrine manner in a local immunologic milieu. Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. As immune cells in autoimmune diseases are responsive to the ameliorative effects of vitamin D, the beneficial effects of supplementing vitamin D deficient individuals with autoimmune disease may extend beyond the effects on bone and calcium homeostasis."
- Autier P, Gandini S. Vitamin D Supplementation and Total Mortality: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Arch Intern Med. Sept. 10, 2007;167(16):1730-1737. ABSTRACT: This study identified 18 independent randomized controlled trials, including 57 311 participants. A total of 4777 deaths from any cause occurred during a trial size-adjusted mean of 5.7 years. Daily doses of vitamin D supplements varied from 300 to 2000 IU. The trial size-adjusted mean daily vitamin D dose was 528 IU. In 9 trials, there was a 1.4- to 5.2-fold difference in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D between the intervention and control groups. Intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates.
- Adit A et al. Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(4):384-390. ABSTRACT: Study performed a secondary analysis of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a probability survey of the US population conducted between 1988 and 1994. They examined the association between 25(OH)D level and recent URTI in 18 883 participants 12 years and older. The analysis adjusted for demographics and clinical factors (season, body mass index, smoking history, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Serum 25(OH)D levels were inversely associated with recent upper respiratory tract infections.
- Marineua AR et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ, 15 February 2017. ABSTRACT: 25 eligible randomized control trials totaling 11321 participants aged 0 to 95 years were identified. Vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute respiratory tract infection among all participants.
- Urshima M et al. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010, May;91(5):1255-60. ABSTRACT: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial compared vitamin D(3) supplements (1200 IU/d) with placebo in schoolchildren. The results suggested that vitamin D(3) supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren.
- Simoliunas E et al. Bioavailability of Different Vitamin D Oral Supplements in Laboratory Animal Model. Medicina, 2019, 55(6), 265. 2597 C. ABSTRACT: The results of this study suggest that the oral vitamin D supplement vehicle has an impact on its bioavailability, thus it is important to take into account how much of the supplied vitamin D will be absorbed. To maximize the full exploit of supplement, the best delivery strategy should be employed. In this study, the microencapsulated form of vitamin D was the most bioavailable.