I am not a big promoter of supplements and magic pills. This has cost me some business, and I'm totally good with that. I strongly believe in the power of our food, if we focus on eating meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar, to provide us with all of the micronutrients we need. However, there is one micronutrient that is difficult for us to obtain through our diet, not because we don't have access to eating the right foods, but rather that we don't get enough time in the sun. That micronutrient is Vitamin D.
Despite the importance of vitamin D, it’s estimated that anywhere from 30% to 80% of the U.S. population is vitamin D insufficient. For us Montanans, we make make absolutely ZERO vitamin D from the sunlight between November and March. Yep - that means unless you're taking supplements in the winter, you're most likely very low on vitamin D. Since we're turning back our clocks this weekend, we will have less exposure to the sun. It's time to start our seasonal Vitamin D supplementation.
Because Vitamin D is one of the most common micronutrient inadequacies it's also one of the most studied. A nutrient inadequacy differs from a deficiency in that a deficiency causes a disease, in the case of Vitamin D a deficiency causes rickets and osteomalacia. Vitamin D inadequacy doesn't cause a disease, but neither does it promote optimal health.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble micronutrient that promotes calcium absorption, it also modulates cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function and reduces inflammation. Can you guess what might cause cell growth and inflammation, and requires neuromuscular function? You guessed it, high-intensity workouts and weight lifting. From March - November, spending more time in the sun, like going for a walk in the middle of your day, will not only give you enough sun exposure to generate Vitamin D, it will also help you recover from CrossFit. However, Winter is Coming.
Vitamin D rich foods include salmon, swordfish, sardines, tuna, eggs, liver or swiss cheese. If none of things things are part of your weekly menu then you might consider supplementation. You can take a Vitamin D supplement or you can take cod liver oil. Remember, Vitamin D is fat-soluble so you need to take it with something fatty like avocado, eggs, cheese, etc.
When considering nutrient supplementation remember, the dose makes the poison. Just because some is good more is not better. Too much of any nutrient is called vitamin toxicity, and Vitamin D toxicity can seriously affect your blood chemistry leading to a whole suite of negative health problems.
For the past few weeks I have been examining nutrition myths and sometimes it's difficult to tease out science from pseudoscience. Who do I trust for science-based facts and research? Examine.com. Here's a Fact Sheet they created about Vitamin D.
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