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Chiropractic Adjustments And Inflammation: How Vitamin D Helps And How Much To Get

by Caitlin Obara

Your chiropractor will probably give you a talking to about vitamin D — it's critical for your bone health. Without adequate vitamin D, your body can't absorb calcium efficiently, which leaves your bones weak. However, vitamin D is also important for how you feel between visits and how quickly you recover afterwards. Since you're likely to be a little sore and have some pain after your chiropractic service, you want to make sure you get your vitamin D to minimize those inflammatory markers.

What It Does

In 2012, researchers at National Jewish Health in Colorado explored vitamin D and exactly how it works to reduce inflammation. They found that vitamin D activates a gene called MKP-1. This gene is responsible for putting up a wall and stopping the inflammatory process. If you have adequate vitamin D levels in your system — researchers recommend having more than 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood — your body does a better job at stopping inflammation dead in its tracks. Reduced inflammation in your body means that you shouldn't have as much pain and discomfort after getting your chiropractic adjustment.

General Recommendations

You should take 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily, either from food, supplements or both. After age 70, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends increasing your intake to 800 IU a day.

Your chiropractor may suggest taking more than your recommendation to help with inflammation, especially if your vitamin D levels are low. This is fine, but you shouldn't have more than 4,000 IU in a single day. At doses of 10,000 IU a day or more, your serum vitamin D level can go up over 200 ng/mL, which is the unsafe range that could do more harm than good. Regularly having too much vitamin D leads to heart, blood vessel and kidney damage over time.

Vitamin D in Foods

If you can stomach it, a spoonful of cod liver oil is the old-fashioned way to get your vitamin D. One tablespoon has about 1,360 IU of the vitamin. Fatty fish are your next best option. Three ounces of cooked swordfish have more than 560 IU, broiled sockeye salmon provides nearly 450 IU in a 3-ounce fillet and a 3-ounce serving of tuna canned in water contains over 150 IU.

Don't stress if you're not a fish fan. You'll get about 140 IU of vitamin D from an 8-ounce glass of vitamin D-fortified orange juice. The same amount of vitamin D-fortified milk gives you up to 125 IU, while a cup of vitamin D-fortified yogurt offers roughly 80 IU. Even a whole egg has more than 40 IU.

Talk with your chiropractor about having your vitamin D levels checked. If you're living with chronic inflammation or always have pain and discomfort after adjustments, this powerful vitamin may help you if your levels are running low.