Vitamins — the essential molecules of the human body. Without them, we succumb to diseases like rickets, anemia, blindness, brittle bones, and high blood pressure. Except for Vitamin D, all vitamins are only available through diet and supplementation, so it's paramount that we are aware of our intake of these crucial molecules.
This article explains about Vitamin D, E, and K.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it dissolves in fat. It is one of the most important substances for us humans. When vitamin D lands on its receptor on cells, a large amount of anti-inflammatory genes are activated throughout the body (1). Over 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D, not to mention the rest of us who have sub-optimal levels.
Optimal vitamin D levels have numerous benefits:
Protects us against cold and flu (2),
Levels in pregnancy linked to IQ (3),
And lessen the risk of a positive COVID test (4).
Vitamin D is not present in useful quantities in the vast, vast majority of foods, and it is basically impossible to get enough through food. Miniscule quantities are present in some fish like tuna and salmon. Instead, vitamin D is best understood as the 'sunshine vitamin', where regular exposure to sunlight on bare skin (no sun-block) is required to generate it in our bodies. A useful alternative that I and many other people use is a vitamin D supplement. The recommended intake for that is around 5,000 IU per day. It's better to take it during the morning because sunlight is only available during the day.
Vitamin D is also covered in my IMMUNITY article.
Vitamin D is considered 'deficient' at a blood level below 30 ng/ml. However, optimal body performance is seen at a much higher level - above 60 ng/ml (5).
Not many people know about vitamin E. It is a group of eight fat-soluble compounds - four 'tocopherols' and four 'tocotrienols' - and functions as an antioxidant in the body. Although deficiency is exceedingly rare, Vitamin E is important for vision and immunity.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin E is 15 mg. Good sources include:
Extra-virgin olive oil
Vitamin K has two forms - K1 and K2 - of which K2 is very important yet not talked about. Vitamin K2 is crucial since it 'ensures calcium is not deposited in your arteries but transported to your bones and teeth where it belongs, reducing your risk of atherosclerosis and kidney disease, and supporting your hormonal health'. (6) Vitamin K2 is very important for maintaining bone density, preventing the onset of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. There are tons of other benefits of vitamin K2, but that's for another time!
Vitamin K2 is mostly present in:
Because it's so difficult to obtain enough vitamin K2, I think it's a good idea to supplement this one.
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