Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and fat ... OH MY! (and what all of it has to do with your immune system)
General understanding of these 3 things: Vitamin C: Good for my cold Vitamin D: Comes from sunshine and is good for…bones? Fat: No! Evil!
Some of those are right, some of those aren’t the full story, and one of those is just downright wrong. Let’s work our way through it, because in order to understand one we have to know about all of them!
*Disclaimer: There is A LOT to know about each of these, but we will only be discussing them in regards to our immune system today.*
Vitamin C is absolutely great for your immune system, and there’s no doubt about that. Unfortunately, many of us make the mistake of waiting until we are already sick to start taking it- and then we take large quantities of it hoping to blast our system with it and make up for the time we didn’t take it before the cold. Two problems here: 1. The science proves that if we wait until we are already sick to start taking Vitamin C, it’s too late. Vitamin C works on a long-term basis to build up our immune system and won’t actually make a difference for the current illness you are trying to combat. That’d be like waiting until the day of a body-building competition to start training…and I think that we all know that that sounds like a recipe for disaster. Waiting until you’re sick won’t hurt you, it just won’t help you during that occurrence. 2. These juices and supplements that have approximately one bajillion % of our daily intake for Vitamin C…well everything past 100% is a waste. The rest falls into that category of “really expensive urine.” Sorry. What’s even worse about those juices and supplements is that they often have added sugars for flavoring. And sugar actually works against your immune system. I know, I know. I’m ruining your plans for when you get a cold this winter. But bear with me.
What SHOULD you be doing? First of all, start getting Vitamin D in your system NOW and on a regular basis. This will be the most important thing you can do for your Vitamin C stores in your body. The other thing: get it from natural sources like bell peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, and citrus fruits. And yes, citrus fruits aren’t as high-ranking on the list of Vitamin C content as the others I listed.
Oh but wait. That’s not even the full story. Vitamin C alone is not enough! (Keep reading!)
Yes, many know this vitamin for being a sunshine vitamin and for helping us to absorb Calcium for bone health. And those are correct. But it is just as vitally important for our immune health!
When Vitamin C enters your body, think about it as a friend who wants to come to your house because you wanted them to house sit while you’re gone, with your house representing your cell(s). That friend could show up on time, and see the door and touch the door, but they don’t have the key to get in. Heck, you could call 100 friends to come house sit, and they could come be right outside of your door…but if you didn’t give them a key, nobody can get in to house sit. Should’ve given them a key, duh. Vitamin D plays the role of the key in this scenario. So without Vitamin D, it doesn’t matter how much Vitamin C we take into our system, our cells can’t use it without Vitamin D also present. Soooo knowing that without supplementation, we primarily get Vitamin D through sunshine, does it start to make sense why our immune systems tend to plummet in the winter time? (Of course that is for many other reasons as well, but this is a key component to that).
What SHOULD you be doing? Well…start getting some Vitamin D, of course! We have a really great liquid supplement in our office, made by Well Labs. It’s safe and effective for both kiddos and adults, alike! The best part is that since it comes in a great little dropper, there’s no difficulty swallowing a pill down. Just drop it in your smoothie, breakfast, or whatever you want to mix it in!
So how does fat fit into all of this?
I know that fat sometimes has a bad reputation. But trust me when I say, fat isn’t a bad guy…he’s just misunderstood. So there are actually three main different kinds of fats (which can be further subdivided, but let’s stick to the basics), but what I want you to know is that I’m not condoning just ANY fat (since too much of the others makes for a not-so-healthy body). What I am encouraging are our unsaturated fats. These are the ones that come from good sources like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds…see a trend? That’s right, they are mostly plant-based sources for these fats.
So now that I’ve specified which kind of fat I would like for you to keep a loving relationship with, let’s talk about why it matters for the sake of this blog!
So let’s back up to Vitamin D. Another thing you should know about Vitamin D is that it is a fat-soluble vitamin. What this means is that you HAVE to have fat in your system in order to dissolve this vitamin into your system. Simple enough?
So if you skimmed past everything else I wrote (or glazed over a little bit, with all the talk of science), here’s what I want you to make sure you learn today:
You need Vitamin D in order to absorb Vitamin C. And you need fat in order to absorb Vitamin D.
Adjustments + C + D + FAT = building blocks for a healthy immune system!