Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Immunity boost

Kids are notorious for spreading germs.  It makes sense.  Most kids have no clue about personal space, touch everything, and don't wash their hands as often as they should.  All of those germs can add up to lots of missed days of school and just generally not feeling well.

Since we have cleaned up our diet we haven't gotten sick.  This is one of the benefits of the paleo/primal eating plan.  By giving our bodies all of the necessary nutrients, our bodies are able to function to their best abilities.  I don't think it is just a coincidence that it is summer though.  During the summer we spend a lot of time outdoors.  We make vitamin D whenever we have exposed skin in sunlight. 

The importance of vitamin D is just beginning to be understood.  It is starting to gain a reputation as a miracle drug but only time and lots of scientific studies will determine if that is true.  It does seem that vitamin D3 supports the immune system. Our bodies are a wonderful thing and seem to know how important D is for us.  All we need is a little uncovered (by clothing or sunscreen) skin and a nice sunny day and our bodies can manufacture vitamin D.  We try to spend an hour or so without sunscreen outside daily to top off our vitamin D tank.  Our bodies store vitamin D, which in my non-expert opinion, just goes to show that is is absolutely essential for good health.

Now that Hannah will be starting school she won't get as much mid-day sun exposure so she won't naturally produce as much vitamin D.  Combine that with lots of time spent in close proximity to other children and I start to worry that my normally healthy daughter will spend a lot of time at home sick this year.

So, waiting in my kitchen cabinet, is a bottle of vitamin D3 supplements.  Beginning Tuesday I will supplement Hannah with D3 anytime she might not get enough sun (Monday - Friday, winter, etc.).  Currently the RDA is very very low.  So low that it is laughed at by the natural medical community.  You would need to take 100X the RDA to have a negative effect!  1000 IU per 25 lbs of body weight is a good healthy dose to top off those D3 stores (as recommended by experts in the subject.

Vitamin D is a massive topic that I have barely begun to scratch the surface.  I plan to write more posts on the subject but in the meantime here are some informative links.

The Vitamin D Council
Heart Scan Blog

*I am not a doctor and have no formal medical training (just lots of hours in front of the computer).  


Don said...

Everybody when they get blood tests done should get their Vitamin D level tested. Everybody and always. I have for years. On the printouts the recommended range has been increasing. My latest shows a reference range of 30-100 ng/mL. Despite my taking 4200 IU of D3 every day and getting sun, my level is only 57, in the middle of the range. Based on your comment of 1000 IU per 25 lbs of body weight I should be taking 6000 IU.

The report has a footnote saying that <20 ng/mL is indicative of deficiency, while levels between 20and 30 suggest insufficiency. And optimal levels are >= 30.

Karla said...

I've heard a lot of people saying that they've learned at a doctor visit that they are low on vit. D.

Do you give Ben any supplements? I'm wondering if Justine needs any vitamins right now.

Jennifer said...

I wish I had known enough to have my vitamin D levels checked at my last blood test. I'm going to ask for it at my next check up.

I give both kids a multivitamin daily. Now that we are into September, we will all take our D supplements as well. We would have taken them today but it totally slipped my mind that we are in September. I would definitely give Justine a multivitamin and D supplement. I don't know that she has enough teeth to do a chewable yet but both are available in liquid form. The D is actually preferrable in an oil base. You can probably add it to apple sauce without her tasting it. :-)

Karla said...

thanks, I need to start doing that!