In simpler times, one would be hard pressed to be deficient in Vitamin D. Today, it is suspected that 50% of people do not get enough. As a matter of fact, if you can think of one other person that gets more sun than you, chances are it’s you!
All joking aside, vitamin D deficiency is increasingly prevalent which is an issue because of it’s importance in regulating over 1000 genes. Deficiency has been linked to outcomes as diverse as depression to poor bone health.
During the industrial revolution (and in some parts of the world today) a disease known as rickets which caused deformed bone growth in children was alarmingly prevalent, especially in cities. However, children of a similar economic background in the country did not suffer. How could one vitamin have an effect on so many functions?
Why Vitamin D is part of your essential emergency supplies
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of a number of nutrients and modulates a number of hormones within the body. The range of hormones is truly broad including testosterone, estrogen, growth hormone, and serotonin.
Testosterone and growth hormone in particular are essential for muscle recovery which could become a huge issue when bugging out. Serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters for regulating brain function and mood. There is even a theory for seasonal sadness related to low vitamin d levels.
But the most important function for those who have children is proper bone growth. Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium, among other things and lack of vitamin D is the primary cause of rickets, a disease which causes permanently distorted growth.
Even for those without kids, the benefits of maintaining healthy bones in a post-apocalpytic world should be obvious. If you can’t move, you will have a hard time surviving.
Different forms, different sources
Vitamin D is a fat soluble molecule (like vitamin A) so you will be able to store it if you need to. There are two dietary sources of Vitamin D. D2, or ergocalciferol is primarily found in plants and D3, or cholecalciferol is primarily found in animal sources. Like vitamin A, the animal source is more absorbable to the body.
The best way to supplement D vitamins, in home and in the field
Vitamin D is not a dietary vitamin in the strictest sense because it can be synthesized by exposure of the human skin to sunlight. There are a number of factors leading into how much exact time you would need to get the appropriate level including skin type, latitude, time of year and weather but I was able to find a nifty calculator to figure out how much you would need.
This is bad news if your doomsday fortress of solitude happens to be a silo, underground complex or cave . But never fear, for it is possible to supplement with vitamin D if necessary as well. Cold water fish, meats, eggs and mushrooms are good sources of vitamin D as well.
If you need to go with a supplement – D3 is the best in terms of shelf stability as well as potency.