If you find yourself in a situation where you are not getting enough sun, or just want to give yourself a bit more protection during times of stress, vitamin D supplementation may help to boost your immune system and keep you healthy. But what kind of vitamin D is best, and at what dosage?
It’s estimated that 42% of Americans are low on vitamin D3 (some studies have reported upwards of 75%) (1, 1.1). Deficiency in Vitamin D could potentially put you at increased for infections. A recent randomized study found that vitamin D supplementation cut respiratory tract infections by 50% in those that were deficient and by 10% in those with normal vitamin D levels (2).
There are two types of vitamin D available on the market to buy – Vitamin D3 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D2 (cholecalciferol)
Vitamin D3 is an active form of vitamin D and is found in animal products such as fish, eggs, liver, and butter.
Vitamin D2 comes from non-animal sources such as mushrooms. Some companies have made a vegan D3 from lichen.
In order for your body to be able to use dietary vitamin D, it must be converted to a usable form. Interestingly, studies show that Vitamin D3 is twice as effective at increasing blood vitamin D levels than Vitamin D2 (3).
What Vitamin D Dosage Is Best?
Some health experts suggest taking more than 2000 IU especially have verifiably tested low. However, the above guidelines at 1000-2000 IU can serve as a good starting point for those that have not been tested.
The IOM has the following lab values for assessment (12):
Deficient: Levels less than 12 ng/ml (30 nmol/l).
Insufficient: Levels between 12–20 ng/ml (30–50 nmol/l).
Sufficient: Levels between 20–50 ng/ml (50–125 nmol/l).
High: Levels greater than 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/l).
Best Supplemental Form Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a very easy supplement to take – it is usually very small and comes in a plethora of shapes and sizes – tinctures, gummies, chewables, lozenges, sublinguals, etc. I like to use the tincture the best as it’s the easiest to take and I can basically drop it in my mouth directly or put it into any water, soups, smoothies, anything as it is tasteless.
In addition, it’s the best bang for your buck. If you buy capsules or softgels you may only get servings of 30, 60, 90, etc. Each bottle costing anywhere from $10-$30+. However, if you buy the liquid form, you can get between 365-900 doses at anywhere from 1000-2000 IU per dose. Plus, it’s much easier to take imo.
I currently take the above liquid form. You get 900 doses with each dose being 2000 IU (1 drop = 1 dose). It’s a great deal and is also suspended in olive oil as opposed to more inflammatory oils like sunflower or vegetable oil.
Formulated by Dr. Ben Lynch (author of “Dirty Genes”), I feel like this supplement is well made. It’s also easy to remember how much you are taking since only 1 drop gets you in the ballpark of the 33ng/ml serum levels that allow you to be in the “sufficient” range.
For an interesting find, Dr Axe’s company Ancient Nutrition created a formula based on TCM (traditional Chinese medicine).
His formula contains vitamin D along with medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Lion’s Mane, as well as immune enhancers such as astragalus.
The Bottom Line
Supplementing with vitamin D can offer additional protection when there is an increased susceptibility for infections such as the coronavirus. Taking 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D per day can help you reach sufficient vitamin D levels for added protection