While people are readying themselves with flu shots, they are seeking additional defenses, including vitamins, during this time of the year.
A wave of curiosity continues to stir around the Vitamin D phenomenon. And it appears that Vitamin D3, with the same nutrients provided by natural sunlight, helps bolster the immune system.
“Vitamin D3 is never a substitute for your annual flu shot, but it’s a fantastic dietary supplement one can take since so many of us may actually be Vitamin D deficient,” said Dr. Thierry Lerond, marine supplement expert and owner of Nutrilys Del Mar in Carlsbad and Nutrilys in France. “Those with low levels of Vitamin D may be more prone to illness.”
A former keynote speaker at the NATO Operations Medical Conference, Lerond spoke about the “Nutritional Shield for the Warfighter.” As far as Lerond is concerned, everyone can benefit from their own “nutritional shield” through dietary supplements, and this includes Vitamin D3.
One way to determine a person’s Vitamin D level is by a simple blood test.
Lerond pointed out various reasons for a Vitamin D deficiency such as a lack of sun exposure, not consuming enough seafood, or living in high altitudes.
While catching some sunshine during the fall and winter months may be challenging, when those natural sunlight moments do shine through, it’s important to get a 5- to 10-minute dose.
“A strong immune system provides a ‘seasonal sickness shield’ and the Vitamin D3 component of it all creates antimicrobial peptides which helps defend us against bacteria and viruses,” Lerond said.
According to Lerond, the quality of a Vitamin D supplement is vital. The reason behind this is that not all supplements are the same.
Vitamin D3 supplements can be found in synthetic and natural forms.
Natural supplement groups, for example, include cod liver oil and salmon oil.
“One of the best sources of Vitamin D3 really does come directly from nature,” he said.
Lerond went on to say that fish harvested in the wild are typically more potent than farm-raised when manufacturing supplements; and, finding a supplement which has not undergone any chemical refining creates a purer product.
In August, Lerond embarked on a seven-day scientific cruise in Southeast Alaska for a closer look into wild salmon. While it remains high on the sustainability list, it’s the top-tier pick for meal consumption and Vitamin D3.
“Specifically, I’m a huge fan of wild Alaskan sockeye salmon because they dine in pristine waters and on superior nutrition which includes a feast of krill and other zooplankton,” he said. “Their excellent nutritional choices are then passed onto us and we reap the rewards of great health benefits in both the meat and supplements.”
Lerond calls wild Alaskan sockeye salmon oil the “crème de la crème” in omegas and Vitamins A and D3.
In addition to building a stronger immune system, Vitamin D3 has also been suggested to support bone and joint health, aid in hypertension, promote a healthy brain, and encourage cognitive abilities.
“When the inevitable flu outbreak starts, it’s important to take all the sanitary precautions we can while boosting our immune system naturally,” Lerond said.
Ways to consume Vitamin D naturally:
• Salmon, tuna, catfish, and sardines
• Shiitake mushrooms
• Fortified cereals