After following Sumus’ Guide to Becoming the Health Savvy CEO, you are now fit as a fiddle, you’ve got your routine nailed down to a tee, and you feel better than ever before. It seems like everytime you turn around there is yet another headline about the importance of taking supplements, but you’re unsure which you should be taking and how much. Rather than buying a generic multivitamin, this week we will focus on why you should be adding Vitamin D3 to your health regimen. 

What is vitamin D? Vitamin D is often referred to as the CEO of our bodies; this fat soluble vitamin is essential to your health as nearly every cell and tissue has vitamin D receptors. There are two main forms of vitamin D – Vitamin B2 and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 or Ergocalciferol is the plant form of vitamin D and typically comes from mushrooms and yeast. Vitamin D3 or Cholecalciferol is the type of vitamin D your body produces after exposure to sunlight. Research suggests that vitamin D3 is better than vitamin D2 at raising blood levels of vitamin D, so we will focus on supplementation with vitamin D3.

How does Vitamin D3 work? Vitamin D3 is vastly different from other vitamins in the way that it does not really behave like other vitamins. Instead it functions more like a hormone. When our bodies obtain vitamin D through the sun or via supplementation, our body converts this into a steroid hormone called calcitriol. Once vitamin D is turned into this active form of calcitriol, it travels throughout the body and plays a part in nearly every function – it builds bones and muscles, it has anti-inflammatory effects, and helps to make enzymes and proteins that prevent diseases. 

Many doctors and researchers in the medical field are studying vitamin D3 and its capacity to impact our overall health. Among those is Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D – Dr. Patrick is a well known doctor, cell biologist, has her PhD in biomedical science, and is an expert on nutritional health. She is a staunch advocate of the benefits of vitamin D3, and her research has found that high levels of vitamin D have been linked to stronger immune systems, while low levels are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. On an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, Joe sits down with Dr. Rhonda Patrick to discuss all things health and nutrition. During the episode, Dr. Patrick states that “70% of the US population has insufficient vitamin D levels and 28% of the US population is deficient in vitamin D.” These are staggering numbers. Patrick says that the low numbers are due to the fact that many people do not spend nearly as much time outside in the sun as humans did during the hunter-gatherer days. 

  Within the last decade or so, a number of studies have been conducted on the benefits of vitamin D and the harms of insufficiency or deficiency. In January of 2022, a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston monitored over 25,000 people over a 5 year time period. The study found that people who take vitamin D3 had a significantly lower rate of autoimmune diseases – such as rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, autoimmune thyroid disease, and psoriasis. Similarly, during the Rogan podcast episode with Dr. Patrick, the two discuss recent studies linking vitamin D levels and COVID-19. A study out of the Philippines found that people who had sufficient levels of vitamin D were 8x less likely to have a severe form of COVID-19, and 20x less likely to have critical form of COVID-19. In a study out of Indonesia, research found that over 95% of patients who died from COVID-19 were Vitamin D deficient. In fact, only 4% were Vitamin D sufficient. 

As the CEO of a company, it is likely that you are spending a good portion of your day indoors in meetings or on calls. As roughly 50% of the population of the world has insufficient vitamin D levels, it is fair to assume that yours may be lower than preferred.  As summer begins to wind down, people are still panicking over the threat of new variants of COVID-19, and as the flu season begins to roll in, many people will rush to their local pharmacy to get the jab for this year’s flu. Rather than relying on vaccines, why not prioritize building up the best form of protection – your body’s natural defense system. Here are two ways to elevate your health to the next level right now –

  1. Take 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily.
  2. Try to get outside and into the sun for at least an hour per day, preferably early in the morning as obtaining vitamin D3 through direct sunlight to the body is optimal.