Foundation Five: Vitamin D
Mountains of research show that achieving healthy vitamin D levels is one of the easiest ways to prevent disease, promote long-term health, optimize body composition, and reduce injury and illness rates.
Why You Need It:
Vitamin D deficiency is rampant at all latitudes due to sunscreen use (SPF 15 reduces vitamin D synthesis by 98%). You’re pretty much guaranteed to have low D unless you actively seek out daily sun exposure without sunglasses or sunscreen.
Mountains of research link vitamin D deficiency to heightened risk of heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, and obesity. What follows are just a few reasons everyone should get enough D:
- Vitamin D is a key player in achieving optimal body composition by supporting metabolic rate and preventing fat infiltration into muscle.
- A healthy vitamin D level is necessary for a robust immune system. It’s also protective against musculoskeletal injuries and fractures.
- It is associated with muscular strength and power. For example, a recent study found that overweight adults who took vitamin D in conjunction with a strength training program increased their explosive power significantly more than a group that didn’t take vitamin D.
- The likelihood of having depression and other brain/mood disorders is significantly higher in vitamin D-deficient individuals, most likely because vitamin D enhances the metabolic processes in brain neurons, protecting the brain from oxidative degeneration.
- Vitamin D has been linked with fighting numerous cancers including lung, breast, colon, and prostate. In the case of lung cancer, supplementing with vitamin D may help offset elevated levels of an enzyme that is associated the development of aggressive lung cancer tumors.