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Deficiency in This Vitamin Can Lower Immunity

Scientists in Japan gave school children Vitamin D drops during the winter and found that fewer of these children got the flu while taking these drops. A recent Israeli study also showed that low plasma Vitamin D levels increased the likelihood of viral infection “among patients who were tested, even after adjustment for age, gender, socio-economic status and chronic, mental and physical disorders.”1

Who Is Most at Risk?

Studies show that 42% of Americans are low in Vitamin D levels. Certain groups of people are most at risk of being deficient:

  • Older people. As we age, our skin and kidneys are not able to make Vitamin D as easily as they used to.
  • Those with darker pigment skin. The darker one’s skin the more slowly this vitamin is produced.
  • Those with digestive problems. People with diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, or digestion issues often have reduced nutrient absorption in the gut.
  • Those who live in northern climates. Since the sun is not as intense and not out as long per day, many people living up north do not get enough sun exposure.
  • Those taking certain medications. Some medications interfere with Vitamin D absorption.
  • The obese. Vitamin D supplementation goes mainly into the fatty tissue of obese individuals, which stops it from getting to the blood where it can benefit the body.

If Vitamin D is so important for your health, and many are low in it, how do you get it? One way is to get out in the sun. A good recommendation is 15-20 minutes three times per week minimum. Another way is through supplementation. A third option is to increase your intake through the foods you eat. A typical person needs 15 mcg per day of Vitamin D. (For those over 70 years of age, 20 mcg per day is better.) One mcg is equal to 20 international units.

Good Food Sources of Vitamin D

Here are some good food sources:

  • Salmon. A 3-ounce serving will give you from 10-18 mcg of Vitamin D. Wild coho salmon contains the lowest (10 mcg), and canned sockeye salmon contains the highest (18 mcg).
  • Rainbow trout. A 3-ounce serving of this fish will give you 16 mcg.
  • Tuna. Typically 6 mcg can be found in a 3-ounce serving.
  • Portabella mushrooms. These contain 8 mcg per 3-ounce serving. A tip for getting a little extra is to put the mushrooms in the sun for a few minutes before eating them. The UV rays then raise the Vitamin D levels.
  • Beef liver. This is also high in cholesterol, however.
  • Egg yolks. These contain 1-2 mcg. however chickens that are raised out in the open—in the sunlight—may produce eggs with up to 3-4 times higher Vitamin D levels.

Fortified Food Sources

These foods are usually fortified with Vitamin D by the manufacturers:

  • Orange juice. This will yield 2.5 mcg per cup. But be careful of the high sugar levels here.
  • Milk. The typical fortification is 3 mcg per cup.
  • Cereals. Within the past few years, many cereal manufacturers have raised the fortification to 2.5 mcg per serving.
  • Nondairy milks such as soy milk, almond milk or rice milk. These will usually have 2.5 – 3 mcg per cup. Again, these can be high in fat, calories, and sugar.

If you would like to have your blood tested to see if your Vitamin D levels are appropriate, we can do lab testing for you. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 864-963-9304 if you have any questions.

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

Photo by Michele Blackwell on Unsplash


Foods to Help Protect Ourselves from Viruses

In these days of our concern over COVID-19, we all want to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our families. But it is easy to feel out of control and helpless. One big thing that you can control is what you put into your mouth. Eating immune-boosting foods will increase your chances of avoiding any illness. No food will cure any virus or guarantee that you won’t get it, but having a strong immune system will lessen the likelihood of illness coming your way. Seventy percent of our immune system resides in our gut, so keeping our gut running properly is an excellent way to keep our immune system strong.

Immune-Boosting Foods

These are some foods that have shown immune-boosting properties:

  1. Fruits. Especially those high in Vitamin C such as oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, apples, sweet cherries, berries, and plums.
  2. Vegetables. Some of the best are the cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli or raw mustard greens. Other excellent veggies are spinach, bell peppers beets, and artichokes. Yellow vegetables also pack a lot of Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes and carrots top the list
  3. Omega-3 Rich Meats. Salmon and oysters are your best bet here due to their high zinc levels.
  4. Good Fats. Some of the best fats come from fish oils, avocado, olive oil and nuts.
  5. Herbs and Spices. At the top of the list are garlic and turmeric. Other good ones are rosemary and anise. Rosemary improves our gut health, and anise has antiviral properties to boost immunity.
  6. Seeds and Nuts. These are high in Vitamin E, which supports our body’s ability to fend off invading bacteria and viruses. Some of the highest in Vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts, and walnuts.
  7. Liquids. Good hydration helps to prevent infections and deliver nutrients to our cells. The very best liquid is, of course, plain water. Other good ones are green tea or herbal teas such as ginger or ginseng. Avoid liquids high in sugar or caffeine.
  8. Chocolate. Everyone’s favorite! This food lowers your response to stress, which is especially helpful during times like these when many of us are feeling more stress. 40 g. per day is enough.

Other Thins You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family

  1. Eat less salt and sugar. These do more to deplete your body’s resources than to help.
  2. Get physical exercise. Exercise expels toxins from your body and strengthens your immune system. Regular exercise also lowers your body’s stress hormones.
  3. Avoid processed foods. These are usually lacking in nutrients and contain many toxins.
  4. Get plenty of sleep. A sleep-deprived body is a lot quicker to pick up viruses or bugs that you don’t want.

We hope you all are staying healthy and safe during this time. Please give us a call if you need more counseling about your health.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Klein on Unsplash

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.