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Vitamin D & Immune Health

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in August of 2022. For the original video go to

Mike: Today I’m interviewing our guest Jordan. You may know her from our workout videos on our YouTube channel. Jordan’s background is, she has a bachelor’s in exercise science, a master's in nutrition, and she’s a certified personal trainer. Today we’re going to talk about ways to boost your immune system naturally through food and possibly supplementation. Do you want to elaborate on vitamin D?

Jordan: Yes. I want to preface this, I’m not a vitamin D expert. There are people that literally devote their entire careers to researching this vitamin because it’s so powerful. I’m going to give you the information I know based upon my background, research I've done, people I follow, and my personal experience with it, but just know that there aren’t any good, solid conclusions on this either. I want to talk about how much to take, should you supplement, should you not, that whole thing. First, do I supplement with vitamin D? Yes, I do. However, in the summer months, I spend quite a lot of time outside, whenever I'm not working and I’m able to be outside. Then, I don’t take vitamin D. I may take it maybe once every two weeks, if I go through a stretch of not getting outside or if it’s cloudy and crappy weather, but in the wintertime, I do take it. I used to take 5,000 IUs a day. It’s measured in international units. But I recently had my blood levels drawn and I’m going to talk about that but mine was higher than necessary. I am planning to back that amount down, come this fall and winter and not take as much.

Mike: Is vitamin D one of the vitamins that you don’t typically urinate out if you get an excessive amount?

Jordan: Yes, it is fat soluble, so we store it in our fat, any excess we can’t get rid of. You would have to be supplementing with a large quantity of it to build up toxicity in your body, but it can cause some other problems that are not extreme that we don’t even realize are attributed to that.

Mike: I guess it’s more important for us because we are in the northern hemisphere, and we have winter so, it’s more important up here during winter because when it’s cold out, you and I probably don’t go out a whole bunch and if we are, only our eyes are showing to the sun.

Jordan: Yeah. I don’t think you can get too much synthesis there when you’re completely covered.

Mike: No, if you’re in the southern US states, you’re probably fine.

Jordan: Right. If you’re in the Southern USA and you’re getting outside. I think they say usually 15 minutes outside, skin exposed, not naked, but you know, short sleeves and shorts, you must have skin exposed without sunscreen, because that sunscreen blocks vitamin D production. If you get outside for at least 15 minutes every day, in the direct sunlight, you’re probably covered.

Mike: Is vitamin D good for anything else, besides your immune health?

Jordan: Yes. There are a lot of things. Some of the main things that it’s good for is bone health. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and it’s necessary for healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D deficiency through research has been shown to cause osteoporosis or be one of the factors. It’s very important for healthy bones. It’s good for the mood. That’s why so many of us up here in the northern hemisphere get so depressed in the winter. When it’s negative 20 out, I think it has a ton to do with the fact that many of us are walking around vitamin D deficient.

Mike: Yeah, if people don’t live in an area like this, it’s called seasonal depression.

Jordan: Yeah, and it’s real.

Mike: Yeah. I’m not depressed during winter, but I’m way more energetic during spring through fall than I am during winter, and it takes more oomph to make me go outside once it’s the winter months.

Jordan: I hear you. It’s nasty here.

Mike: Vitamin D, you said, it’s fat-soluble, right? Don’t you normally want to have it with fat

when you take it?

Jordan: Yeah, so usually vitamin D is one where I just tell people when you eat breakfast, take your vitamin D. It’s good for mood, low levels have been linked to depression and anxiety. It helps to synthesize a hormone called serotonin in our body which is like a happy chemical. It makes you feel happy. Then cardiovascular health, too. It’s protective against heart disease, hypertension, and things like that. You’re not just taking vitamin D for boosting your immune system, you’re taking it for a lot of other functions in the body as well.

Mike: Sure. Do people take vitamins K and D together?

Jordan: Yeah, that’s a thing for sure.

Mike: Do you want to elaborate on what vitamin K is?

Jordan: Vitamin K is another fat-soluble vitamin. Like vitamin D, you could take too much K and it gets stored in fat. We don’t urinate excess out. Not to bore you, but there are two types of vitamin K. K1 and K2 if you have heard of them. K1 is found in our leafy greens. There is less bioavailable than K2. K2 is found more in animal sources and fermented foods. Our gut bacteria also produce vitamin K2 in our body. Some supplement manufacturers will pair vitamin K2, well it should be K2 because it’s more bioavailable, with vitamin D to help because they work synergistically in the body. Vitamin D directs the absorption of calcium from your intestines into the blood, but then once it’s in the blood, vitamin K takes it into your bones to be utilized. Vitamin K, vitamin D, and calcium all need each other, if that makes sense.

Mike: Sure. What foods would people need, if people don’t want to supplement? I know dairy, but if someone is vegan or vegetarian, what would they do?

Jordan: For K2?

Mike: For D or K2.

Jordan: Oh, okay. Here’s the problem. I didn’t mention this in the beginning, but vitamin D, there are two forms of that too. D3 is our naturally occurring form. When you go sit out in the sun, you’re going to produce it, that’s the form your body knows. Then there is a synthetic plant-based form called D2. That’s the only source that would be for someone who is vegan. I need the vegans out there to know that the bioavailability of that is poor in our bodies. It is what it is. With K, it’s the same thing. K2 is going to be our animal source, but you can get it from fermented foods so vegans could do some vegan source fermented foods. K1 is from the leafy greens, but again, that’s not as bioavailable.

Mike: So, with the bioavailability, it’s more because it’s a plant being digested by a human and then there’s fibers and other toxins that plants create which we can’t digest and absorb it all, right?

Jordan: Correct. That’s a good way to explain it.

Mike: Do you have a more elaborate way, or is that good?

Jordan: No, I think that’s good. We will talk more about the immune system in future articles.

Mike & Jordan: Thanks!

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