Sunshine and Sweet Treats

Two larger updates. A major recommended supplement and a confusing one

Written by Kamal Patel
Last Updated:

This week brings two updates, Vitamin D and Licorice (currently, all species of the Licorice family used as medicine or treats are pooled collectively as 'Licorice')

Vitamin D can be seen as our major update, and will continue to be updated in the following weeks as winter progresses. The major conclusion of this page is that the required dose of Vitamin D is fairly low (at least with epidemiological research, 1000IU appears sufficient for the needs of half of individuals while 2000IU is sufficient for 95% of persons), and as such we have set our lowest recommended dose to 2000IU unless otherwise frolicking near the equator.

Vitamin D appears to either be inert or beneficial at these oral doses, with minimal harm at the 2000IU range (the range of 2000-10,000IU is free of overt toxicity, but the precise area of this spectrum where 'optimal' results are gained is debatable and possible chronic harm could exist at higher doses despite not overtly being toxic). The most novel therapeutic/preventative mechanism of Vitamin D appears to be the protection it offers against Multiple Sclerosis and the Myelin coating of neurons, which is a property that not many nutraceuticals possess. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining calcium homeostasis, which can be important for proper neural aging (however, no convincing evidence exists to suggest that people within the adequate range of vitamin D who take even more get further cognitive benefit; it appears to preserve rather than outright enhance cognition)

Licorice is quite an interesting cluster of phytonutrients, with the 'main' compound of Glycyrrhizin/Glycyrrhetic acid being so remarkably different than the other bioactives that Licorice could be seen as two completely different supplements depending on whether or not it has Glycyrhetic Acid (GA) in it or not. GA is the molecule which is known to increase cortisol above 500mg daily intake, and suspected to reduce testosterone at the same dose (the studies are less powered than would be ideal; and the results quite variable too. It does indeed suggest a reduction in testosterone though). However, GA is also the most interesting molecule in regards to fat burning and regarding intestinal health.

The other compounds in Licorice, the flavanoids and Glabridin, appear to just have the general protective properties of this phytonutrient class (which are found in many plants) but may be a bit more anti-estrogenic than other phytonutrients.