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Published on November 26, 2020

10 Best Vitamin D Supplements For Better Health & Stronger Immunity

10 Best Vitamin D Supplements For Better Health & Stronger Immunity

As the pandemic continues to spread, more and more information is rising up to the surface. Thankfully there is some really good news that’s been spreading around these past few months. Not necessarily a cure or vaccine, but definitely something to help those of us handle COVID better.

In September, research has shown that taking Vitamin D supplements will help in reducing the risk of getting severe cases of COVID. This will be especially helpful for individuals who are darker-skinned or aren’t exposed to a lot of sunlight.

The reason for that is for months, observational studies showed COVID patients with serious cases of this also had low vitamin D levels. The only thing is it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly vitamin D is actually doing.

Nevertheless, vitamin D is definitely something that can help us all at this point and to help with that, we’ve put together a list of some of the best supplements you can get.

What Makes For Quality Vitamin D Supplements?

Even though vitamins seem the same across the board, there are a number of distinguishing characteristics about each one. You’ll find even more when discussing these things with a medical professional. This is what we did and we found the best vitamin D supplements you can get with the following criteria:

  • Purity – The best vitamins will have tight standards on the quality and purity of the vitamins from the manufacturer. This ensures there isn’t anything additional that would weaken the effect or it is pointless to the consumer.
  • Nutrients – Even though this is vitamin D, there are other nutrients incorporated in these supplements.
  • Natural – Even though it’s a vitamin, many companies put in ingredients that are unnecessary such as fillers, artificial sweeteners, or colors. These supplements don’t have any of those.
  • Trusted – Healthcare professionals such as doctors and dietitians recommend these products.

Best Liquid – Designs for Health Liposomal D Supreme

    One of the best vitamin D supplements in liquid form are the Liposomal D Supreme from Designs for Health. Liposomes are tiny spheres of fat that are used as carriers for vitamin D and other nutrients. These are used in all kinds of supplements, but you’ll find them the most in liquid forms these days.

    But the fact that it’s using liposomal means that the company can incorporate other vitamins into the mix. They did just that by adding in vitamins K1 and K2. Why this is a big deal is that vitamins K and D work very well together in your body. This means you’ll get an enhanced effect from the vitamin D side which is way better than taking an ordinary vitamin D supplement.

    Buy Designs for Health Liposomal D Supreme

    Best High Dose – Pure Encapsulation’s D3

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      For the best high dosage per capsule, look no further than Pure Encapsulations D3. Every capsule contains 10,000 IU of vitamin D3. This is for those who are severely low in vitamin D. That said, having too much vitamin D can cause some issues so if you are thinking about picking this up, consult with your healthcare provider first.

      This is a solid option as Pure Encapsulation is a trusted brand that provides hypoallergenic and gluten-free vitamins. They’re also certified with the United States Pharmacopeia which has strict standards placed on supplements.

      Buy Pure Encapsulation’s D3 here.

      Alternative High Dose – Now Vitamin D3

        If you’re looking for an alternative supplement, Now Foods brand is an excellent supplement brand to consider. As mentioned before, this supplement is designed for specific people in mind so be sure to check with your healthcare provider first before taking these.

        As for why you might choose this one over the Pure Encapsulations is that it’s better for those on a budget.

        Buy Now Vitamin D3 here.

        Best For Kids – Carlson Super Daily D3

          With liquids being better for vitamin intake, one of the best options for kids is a liquid option. One brand that comes to mind is Carlson’s, a well-established brand amongst the rest of them. Each package contains 365 drops which make it great for a year. It’s also non-GMO, dairy-free, vegetarian and unflavored.

          Buy Carlson Super Daily D3

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          Best Chewables – Now Vitamin D3 Supplement Chewables

            Chewables are another option for how people like to take their vitamins. While these are easier to handle, one of the big problems with chewables is that many of them contain sugar in them. While it can ensure you eat them, the problem with sugar in vitamins is that the sugar can be too high that you don’t receive any or little benefit. It’d be no different from eating candy.

            Fortunately, Now Foods chewable vitamins found a unique way of getting around the sweetening aspect. They use xylitol and sorbitol which are sugar alcohols as well as natural vanilla and peppermint flavors. They’re sweet but don’t compromise the vitamin aspect.

            The only thing to note is that since there are sugar alcohols, this can lead to some minor digestive problems. An upset stomach or diarrhea. This will happen if you’re consuming large amounts. Though you shouldn’t be getting to that point since a tablet contains 1,000 IU of D3.

            Buy Now Vitamin D3 Supplement Chewables

            Best Gummies – Nordic Nature Vitamin D3 Gummies

              Gummies are another beloved choice for adults and kids alike, though they run into the same problems as chewables where there’s a lot of sugar.

              For those wanting the most vitamin D3 and lower sugar, try out Nordic Naturals’ sugar-free vitamin D3 gummy. Similar to the Now Foods chewable, this is sweetened with xylitol and fruit and vegetable juice.

              Buy Nordic Nature Vitamin D3 Gummies here.

              Best Prenatal With High Vitamin D – SmartyPants Prenatal Complete

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                One interesting development that’s been made in the vitamin D field is that women pregnant or breastfeeding need more vitamin D than what many doctors have recommended in the past.[1] In the past, it was recommended to take 600 IU of vitamin D per day. Now experts are suggesting at least 4,000 IU per day for women pregnant. Women breastfeeding may need as much as 6,400 IU.

                Because of this higher need, prenatal vitamin D supplements is a wise decision to get into as keeping to those D3 levels over the course of the day can provide many benefits to pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children.

                One such supplement that’s helpful is from the Smarty Pants brand. These vitamins have C, D3, Zinc, Iron and are gluten-free.

                Buy SmartyPants Prenatal Complete here.

                Best Drops – Bluebonnet Earth Sweet Liquid

                  Vitamin drops aren’t just for kids, there are many with adults in mind. This is another great option for those not into chewables or don’t want to take pills. That or you’re looking for better results from the vitamins that only liquids can provide.

                  One option that we found that is good for adults is the liquid vitamin D3 from Bluebonnet. They contain 5000 IU of vitamin D3. They are soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, Kosher, dairy-free, and vegetarian free.

                  Buy Bluebonnet Earth Sweet Liquid here.

                  Alternative Drops – Thorne Research Vitamin D3 Drops

                    Another alternative drop for adults you can consider is from Thorne Research. Thorne is a trusted supplement brand that’s certified by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA). The TGA is a regulatory agency that’s operated out of the Australian Department of Health.

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                    Why this is a good alternative is that these drops contain vitamin K2. As mentioned before, vitamin K is helpful because it synergizes with vitamin D. While the IU is 1,000 for 2 drops, you’re getting the added benefit of extra potency from the vitamin K that you wouldn’t get from the other drops.

                    Buy Thorne Research Vitamin D3 Drops here.

                    Best Vegan Option – Doctor’s Best Vegan D3

                      One other big development in the vitamin D market is offering plenty of quality options for vegans. The big problem with the market is many D3 supplements on the market use ingredients from fish or sheep’s wool. Since vegan’s choice of living is to not consume any products that stem from animals, this doesn’t help.

                      One vitamin that came out was ergocalciferol. While it was an advance since the vitamin D came from yeast or mushrooms, the issue was those vitamins weren’t effective in producing quality vitamin D.

                      Thankfully, vegans don’t need to worry about this as much as many companies are stepping forward. One company that we found that provides quality vitamin D3 and is vegan is Doctor’s Best.

                      Their capsules’ main ingredient is vitashine D3 – a plant source of vitamin D3. This plant source is also sustainably harvested by registered members in the UK Vegan Society. It’s also gone through clinical trials as well to ensure they are quality.

                      Buy Doctor’s Best Vegan D3 here.

                      Bottom Line

                      While many of us will be dealing with this pandemic for some time, your health is important now more than ever. With all of these supplements available with plenty of options, you can boost your immune system and curb catching COVID. Or at the very least, have a much easier time in dealing with it should you get infected.

                      Beyond the pandemic, vitamin D3 provides a number of other health benefits like strengthening bones, heart, lungs, and more.

                      Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Healthline: Pregnancy and Vitamin D

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                      Last Updated on April 19, 2021

                      Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

                      Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

                      Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

                      I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

                      This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement it into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

                      What Is Intermittent Fasting?

                      As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

                      While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

                      The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

                      Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

                      Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

                      The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

                      It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

                      My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8 PM one evening to 12 PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

                      You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

                      Intermittent Fasting Schedules

                      There are several different fasting schedules you can choose from when you start an intermittent fasting diet. Here are some of the most popular.

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                      The 16/8 Method

                      This method of fasting involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours and eating during an 8-10 hour window. Many people who are getting started with intermittent fasting will find this the easiest schedule to keep. You can eat your last meal around 8 PM and not eat again until noon the next day, for example. This sounds simple, as you’re really only skipping breakfast, but you’re actually fasting for 16 hours in this case![2]

                      16/8 Method of Intermittent Fasting

                        The 5:2 Method

                        This fasting method involves eating normally five days each week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two (non-consecutive) days. On fasting days, women should eat around 500 calories, and men should eat around 600 calories.

                        5:2 Diet for Intermittent Fasting

                          Alternate-Day Fasting

                          As its name suggests, this type of intermittent fasting involves fasting every other day. As with the 5:2 method, some people find it easier to eat 500-600 calories instead of going on a full fast each fasting day.

                          Alternate Day Fasting
                            The Warrior Diet

                            This type of fasting is considered by many to be the most difficult and follows a 20/4 eating schedule. For most of the day, you limit your food intake to small amounts of fruits and vegetables (low-calorie foods). For four hours each day, you eat large-portioned meals to get in your day’s calories.

                            Because of the intense nature of this method, it’s only recommended for those who have been on an intermittent fasting diet for a while and feel comfortable with it.

                            The Warrior Diet

                              Tips to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

                              1. Drink Plenty of Water

                              Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

                              2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

                              The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge, as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

                              3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

                              One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[3] like a drink that contains sugar and causes you to overeat.

                              4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

                              The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

                              To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

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                              5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

                              While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

                              Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

                              You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

                              How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

                              Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. After several hours of not eating, your body will use up its sugar stores, which will cause it to start burning fat for energy, a process known as metabolic switching. 

                              Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins explains this effect in simple terms:

                              “Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours…If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and they’re not exercising, then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.”[4]

                              Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

                              This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[5].

                              Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

                              Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[6].

                              The influence intermittent fasting has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

                              Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

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                              Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

                              One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[7].

                              This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fat-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

                              Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

                              Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

                              Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

                              Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

                              How Much Weight Will I Lose?

                              The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors.

                              One study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that average weight loss on an intermittent fasting diet was around 9lbs after 12 months, and weight loss was most successful in those who strictly adhered to their chosen diet[8].

                              Can I Work out While Fasting?

                              Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

                              If you are a hardcore athlete who often exercises for an hour or more each day, intermittent fasting may not be the best choice for you as this amount of exercise requires fuel to keep you moving and build muscle. However, light to moderate intensity workouts 2 to 4 times a week should work with intermittent fasting.

                              The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are strength training workouts. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts. Combine these with lighter forms of exercise like walking, jogging, or yoga.

                              You could also try this 30-Day Resistance Band Workout Challenge alongside your intermittent fasting diet. It will help you get into an exercise routine while easing into your new eating routine.

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                              Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

                              Remember, exercising can increase hunger, so try working out in the hour or two right before you are scheduled to break your fast[9]. Your body will be primed for a meal, and your hunger won’t get the best of you.

                              Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

                              First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen.

                              If you’re trying to build muscle while fasting, you’ll need to ensure you’re getting enough calories, especially through protein, at each meal between fasts.

                              Is Fasting Safe?

                              As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting diet.

                              I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when you aren’t able to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

                              Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

                              As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to make sure your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branched-chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

                              For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

                              The Bottom Line

                              Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly and safely. If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with your lifestyle, and give it a go.

                              More About Intermittent Fasting

                              Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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