As we get ready for winter, which also means cold and flu season, it’s time to start boosting our immune systems! The best prevention of illness is a healthy immune system, which also helps you recover from illness faster. Due to my health, I find that supplementing vitamin D3 for autoimmune disorders has helped me feel my best during this season.
What if you have an autoimmune disorder?
An autoimmune disorder is where the body has an abnormal immune response to substances or tissue in the body and begins to attack itself. Different conditions react to different substances and body parts, for instance, Hashimoto’s and Grave’s diseases attack the thyroid.
Basically, you are already at a disadvantage with a compromised immune system if you have an autoimmune condition. This means it’s super important for you to make sure you are building up your body during the winter months without overstimulating the immune system (as can happen with some immune boosting herbs). Good nutrition is the best way to start, but some of us need more than that for our bodies, especially during times of stress.
If you have an autoimmune disorder then you more than likely have a compromised gut (meaning that your digestive system isn’t functioning as well as it could, allowing particles into the bloodstream and/or not absorbing nutrients well). A great majority of our immune system is housed in our gut. It is not uncommon for a person with an autoimmune disorder to have trouble absorbing minerals and vitamins because of this reason.
A common vitamin that is often found to be low with people with autoimmune disorders is vitamin D.
Why we need Vitamin D
Vitamin D stimulates the immune system to get rid of waste in the body.
Vitamin D3 also helps to regulate something known as T cells (cells that build your long-term immunity). These T cells are important in helping build a strong immune system and they also help prevent inflammation. Inflammation is a major issue to contend with when dealing with an autoimmune disorder, whether it be your digestive system or your joints, like in arthritis.
Reducing inflammation is always a good thing but it is especially helpful for those individuals that suffer from aches and pains associated with the inflammation.
Depending on where you live, it can be difficult to get enough D3 in your system without the aid of a supplement, especially during the winter months. It is also becoming increasingly common to be lower in vitamin D3 because more and more people spend less time outdoors in the sun without using sunscreen.
Adding Vitamin D3 supplements
In the summer, I make sure to get outside for at least 30 minutes a day to soak up the sun. This means no sunscreen or sleeves so my skin soaks up the sunshine! Not only am I getting my daily dose of D3 but I think the fresh air and sunshine are great at reducing my stress levels and we all need that!
I also supplement Vitamin D3 as we live in a state with a long winter where we get none of this much-needed vitamin about 3-5 months out of the year.
Side note – one thing to be aware of when purchasing vitamin D3 is to get one that does not contain soybean oil as a filler. Nothing is more annoying than buying a new supplement only to discover it has ingredients in there you don’t want in your body.
Optimal vitamin D levels are being shown to help prevent autoimmune disorders as well. Studies are being conducted as to how much vitamin D is needed to help alter the outcome or prevent autoimmune disorders. Recently holistic professionals have recommended that levels between 50 and 75 are optimum, but these levels may be way too high, especially if other biomarkers aren’t in balance!
Before you begin supplementing with vitamin D3, it’s important to get your levels checked by a practitioner that knows how to keep your vitamins and minerals balanced. You don’t want to cause more problems than what you started with and throwing lots of supplements at your body isn’t always the best route.
The safest way to add Vitamin D is through your diet. Consuming foods that contain this fat-soluble vitamin are also going to contain the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to properly absorb and utilize it! Foods like fatty fish (tuna, salmon), fresh milk, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks are great food-based sources to include in your diet each week.