This year really has us all amping up our efforts to maintain optimal immunity. We’re hydrating, getting good sleep, and taking our zinc and vitamin C, and many of us are getting periodically tested for COVID-19 as we move through our lives and navigate this unknown, just trying to stay looped in with our bodies.
Health and wellness coach and author of Kicking Sick, Amy Kurtz, knows why vitamin D3 is so crucial. “Vitamin D is commonly referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Winter is approaching and is obviously a season of sunshine deprivation, which means your vitamin D levels are probably low. In fact, the majority of people get only half as much vitamin D as their body needs! Your doctor’s office can do a quick test of your vitamin D levels, which will likely inform you that you need a boost. Get outside for at least 15 minutes a day, preferably when the sun is at its highest, to get some sunlight on your face and lift your mood.” However, we definitely recommend taking a vitamin D supplement. Kurtz takes one every morning.
Kurtz shares that D is also important to “innate immunity and boosts immune function against viral diseases. We also know that vitamin D has an immune-modulating effect and can lower inflammation, and this may be relevant to the respiratory response during COVID-19. It’s one of the most important immune-system-strengthening nutrients that can reduce the risk of colds and flu, and is now frequently being used as a supplement to help aid against COVID-19 by many doctors.”
However, to add to our assurance of our bodies’ ability to fight sickness and disease, we need to be reaching adequate levels of both vitamins K2 (sometimes referred to as MK-7) and D3. Separately, both of these vitamins have been touted for their ability to balance calcium for bone strength and cardiovascular health. But recent studies show that the pairing of the two vitamins has superpower synergy, not to mention that many children are dangerously low in K2.
Studies show that many children are deficient in K2, and while vitamin D3 is helpful in facilitating strong bones and calcium, the combination of these two vitamins greatly expounds the absorption of the other. Being deficient puts children at a higher risk of bone fractures, as well as a less-than-robust immune response. Adding a K2 supplement to your child’s diet (of 4+ years) facilitates the activation of K-dependent proteins, which prevent inflammation. Because lots of inflammation is a response to harmful stimuli in the body, we want to protect this response in times of a pandemic.
While the combination of these nutrients is vital for proper development in children, it’s also critical for adults. Because these two vitamins compound the absorption of the other and promote bone density and balanced calcium levels (both things that recede as we age, especially women), we should be taking them for that alone. But calcium does a magical thing when processed through the kidneys. It transforms into its most active form, known as calcitriol, which has positive effects on our immune function as well as anticancer activity. As a bonus, because these vitamins are so crucial for bone health, they also boost dental health. Something to think about as many of us tend to get more cavities as we age, even though we’re eating far less candy—or so we say.
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