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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Saffer

Get Your Vitamin D

As we head into the flu season, it's imperative we have our vitamin D levels optimized! Research has shown that vitamin D has antimicrobial, antiviral, and pro-hormone properties and is protective against upper respiratory infections. There is an overwhelming amount of information and studies that show the positive effects the role of vitamin D has in the prevention of coronavirus infection and mortality.

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a hormone that your body makes, starting when your skin is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays. The way our bodies make vitamin D is to convert sunshine into chemicals that are used by the body. The cholesterol in our skin converts previtamin D, and makes it into usable vitamin D3- provitamin D. Vitamin D actually becomes a hormone within the body; it impacts not only our skeletal structure but also our blood pressure, immunity, mood, brain function, and ability to protect ourselves from cancer. Every cell in our body has a Vitamin D Receptor (VDR) and helps explain why vitamin D is fundamental to our health. This is important because the majority of the US population is believed to have a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D exists in two forms:

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the form the skin produces in response to sunlight and is also in certain foods derived from animals.

Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) comes from non-animal sources (fungi and plants) exposed to ultraviolet light to convert cholesterol-like substances into vitamin D. Important to note: Most studies have found that vitamin D2 is much less potent than D3 in raising blood levels of vitamin D.

Natural sources of Vitamin D:


  • Raw maitake mushrooms: These contain the most vitamin D2, and are also a good source of prebiotics and a great way to keep your microbiome healthy.

  • Dried shiitake mushrooms

Mushrooms with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light also contain vitamin D2. These may include:

  • UV-exposed raw Portobello mushrooms: These have the most vitamin D2.

  • UV-exposed raw white mushrooms

Egg Yolks

Egg yolks can also be high in vitamin D3, especially if the chickens are free-range.

Oily Fish

Fish listed in the order of highest to lowest amounts of vitamin D3

  • Cod liver oil

  • Cooked wild salmon

  • Cooked mackerel

  • Herring

  • Sardines


The amount of vitamin D your skin makes depends on many factors, including the time of day, season, latitude, and skin pigmentation. Depending on where you live, and your lifestyle, vitamin D production might decrease or be completely absent during the winter months. Sunscreen, while sometimes necessary, also can reduce vitamin D production.

How much time should we spend in the sun to allow sunlight to help our bodies to make vitamin D? According to Dr. Andrew Weil, founder, and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, states that daily exposure is helpful. A helpful rule: estimate the amount of time it would take for your skin to turn pink – or slightly, but noticeably darker – in the sun. Then reduce that time by 50 percent if you have fair skin, 25 percent for darker skin, and get that amount of exposure between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. two to three times per week.

"Vitamin D has a huge impact on the health and function of your cells. Among its many functions, vitamin D reduces cellular growth (which promotes cancer) and improves cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state). But what's even more fascinating is how vitamin D regulates and controls genes. When we don't get enough, it impacts every area of our biology because it affects the way our cells and genes function." -Dr. Mark Hyman

How do we know if we have enough vitamin D?

Know your level- vitamin D is measured through a test called the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. You can request this test through your physician, or in most states, you can order this test yourself online through your local lab- check their website to see. You can also order a finger-prick test through GrassrootsHealth without a doctor's prescription; there is also useful info on vitamin D on that site. Optimal range of vitamin D is between 40 and 50, but I've heard some doctors recommending higher. You can work with your physician to optimize your vitamin D levels, perhaps before entering the flu season.


Depending on where we live (above the 35th parallel), skin pigmentation, time spent out-doors, or time of year (winter months mean less sun exposure), the majority of us will need to supplement in addition to sun exposure, and the good news is supplementing with vitamin D3 is typically an effective way to reverse vitamin D deficiency. You can work with your physician on this.


The Vitamin D Revolution

How the Power of This Amazing Vitamin Can Change Your Life

Groundbreaking medical research has made a connection between Vitamin D deficiency and seventeen types of cancers, including breast, colon, and prostate. Illnesses such as influenza, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and coronary heart disease have also been connected to a lack of this vitamin. Until not too long ago, not getting enough Vitamin D - also known as the sunshine vitamin was only associated with the childhood bone disease rickets.

Dr. Soram Khalsa sheds light on the power of this long-forgotten vitamin. He reveals how to recognize signs of Vitamin D deficiency, which has reached epidemic proportions in Western society, and shares unique insights from his Beverly Hills medical practice.

Important to note:

  • Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine recently found a link between vitamin D deficiency and the likelihood of being infected with Covid-19 — those with an untreated deficiency were more likely to test positive. “Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections,” David Meltzer, chief of hospital medicine at U Chicago Medicine and lead author of the study said in a press release on Sept. 8.

  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of 5 clinical trials shows that vitamin D plays an important role in reducing the rate and severity of acute respiratory tract infections, including influenza and COVID-19.

If you know the amount of vitamin D you need to take, email me . I can point you in the direction of a high quality, purity, and efficacious supplement that is currently Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) registered by at least one of the following: the Natural Products Association (NPA), and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF International).

In good health and happiness,

Amanda Saffer

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