Autumn is in full swing and winter is around the corner. With these changes, vitamin D levels among the population on the North American continent north of the Mexico border drop. The fact is above the 45th parallel it is reported that from November to February/March, even on a sunny blue-sky day, the angle of the sun is such that vitamin D production when bare skin is exposed is dramatically diminished.
Many of us experience shifts in mood during the winter months. To offset winter mood imbalances, alternative health practitioners recommend that folks have their vitamin D 25 OH levels measured. The range is 20-100 for most laboratories. Yet, falling within the range does not necessarily mean you are good to go. For many, a target blood level of at least 55, for a 25 OH vitamin D blood test is considered beneficial. Of course the target blood range is different for everyone, and one’s health care provider can best determine what the best range is for a given individual. Also, it’s very important to take the blood test now through December, as Vitamin D declines in fall and winter if one isn’t taking any supplemental D.
From GreenMedInfo comes this great compilation of natural substances to take to increase immunity, or to hit a cold or the flu at the first signs:
While there are a broad spectrum of natural substanceswhich have been studied for their anti-influenza properties, vitamin D deserves special consideration due to the fact that it is indispensable to produce antiviral peptides (e.g. cathelicidin) within the immune system, and can be supported for pennies a day.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010, revealed that children receiving 1200 IUs of vitamin D a day were at 59% reduced risk for contracting seasonal Influenza A infection. Moreover as a secondary outcome, only 2 children in the treatment group versus 12 for the control group, experienced an asthma attack.
There are actually a broad range of preventive strategies that are evidence-based, and available without prescription.
1) Echinacea Tea: J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Aug;6(4):327-34
2) Elderberry: J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.
3) American Ginseng: J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Mar;12(2):153-7.
4) Green Tea: J Nutr. 2011 Oct ;141(10):1862-70. Epub 2011 Aug 10.
5) Probiotics: Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):e172-9.
6) Vitamin D: PLoS One. 2010;5(6):e11088. Epub 2010 Jun 14.
And be sure to take Vitamin D3, which is the natural, assimilable form. Vitamin D2 is synthetic, and does not work as well.