Can you answer the following?
- do we need up to 25x higher than recommended by governments
- deficiency affects more than HALF our population
- seldom if ever diagnosed as deficient
- is practically absent from our food
- is hidden cause of suffering that is easy to treat
- has deficiency been linked to cancers, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, depression, muscle pain, bone loss, and autoimmune diseases
The answer: VITAMIN D
Two recent studies in the journal Pediatrics found that 70 percent of American kids aren’t getting enough vitamin D, and this puts them at higher risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and lower levels of good cholesterol. Low vitamin D levels also may increase a child’s risk of developing heart disease later in life.
Overall, 7.6 million, or 9 percent, of U.S. children were vitamin-D deficient, and another 50.8 million, or 61 percent, had insufficient levels of this important vitamin in their blood.
Vitamin D is an incredible asset to your health.
For example, vitamin D is one of the most potent cancer inhibitors — and its deficiency has been linked to colon, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer.
HOW DOES VITAMIN D HELP PREVENT CANCER?
It reduces cellular growth (which promotes cancer). Also it improves cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state).
HOW DOES OPTIMUM VITAMIN D AID IN OPTIMUM HEALTH?
For the answer we need to look at vitamin D impact on your genes. Vitamin D acts on a cellular docking station called a receptor that then sends messages to our genes. From this, vitamin D controls many different functions helping our body to prevent cancer, reduce inflammation, boost mood, ease muscle aches and fibromyalgia, and build bone.
So you see, if you don’t get enough it impacts many areas of our biology, because it directly affects the way our cells and genes function.
WHY ARE SO MANY OF US DEFICIENT?
Your body makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight
80 to 100 percent of the vitamin D we need comes from the sun.
The sun exposure that makes our skin a bit red can produce the equivalent of 10,000 to 25,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D in our bodies.
In countries where sun exposure provides the equivalent of 10,000 IU a day and people have vitamin D blood levels of 105 to 163 nmol/L, autoimmune diseases (like multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus) are uncommon.
Studies support this. For example, one study found that vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of getting type 1 diabetes by 80 percent. In the Nurses’ Health Study (a study of more than 130,000 nurses over 3 decades), vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of multiple sclerosis by 40 percent.
Also D is more essential than calcium to prevent and treat osteoporosis! This is because your body needs the D to effectively absorb the calcium.
Without much D, your intestine will use about 10% of dietary calcium.
The problem is that most of us aren’t exposed to enough sunlight. In fact overuse of sunscreen can block 97% of your body’s D production.
If you’re not getting enough sun (and therefore vitamin D), and not eating enough of the few natural dietary sources of vitamin D: fatty wild fish like mackerel, herring, and cod liver oil you will almost certainly be deficient! Aging skin produces less D.
So supplementation is essential in many cases.
Now, the government recommends 200 to 600 IU of vitamin a day. This is the amount you need to prevent rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency. But if we consider how much vitamin D do we need for OPTIMAL health i.e. to prevent autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, depression, osteoporosis, and even cancer? The answer is: much more than you think.
Recent research by vitamin D pioneer Dr. Michael Holick, Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, recommends intakes of up to 2,000 IU a day — or enough to keep blood levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D at between 75 to 125 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter). That may sound high, but it’s still safe: Lifeguards have levels of 250 nmol/L without toxicity.
Government currently recommends 2,000 IU as the upper limit for vitamin D — but even that may not be high enough for our sun-deprived population!
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
Well one study of healthy young men receiving a massive 10,000 IU of vitamin D for 20 weeks showed no toxicity.
SHOULD I BE SUPPLEMENTING WITH VITAMIN D?
Are you spending all your time at the beach, eating 30 ounces of wild salmon a day, or taking 10 tablespoons of cod liver oil a day, if not, supplementing with vitamin D is going to be essential.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED?
The exact amount needed to get your blood levels to the optimal range (blood levels between 100-160 nmol/L) will vary depending on your age, where you live, how much time you spend in the sun, and even the time of the year.
IS THERE A TEST I CAN HAVE TAKEN BY A PHYSICIAN?
YES. Get tested for 25 OH vitamin D. Look for a range between 100 to 160 nmol/L or 40 to 65 ng/ml.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENT?
The only active form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Look for this type. (Many vitamins and prescriptions of vitamin D have vitamin D2 — which is not biologically active.3)
HOW MUCH VITAMIN D IS RECOMMENDED?
Most multi-vitamins have around 400IU. Therefore you will almost certainly need a D supplement to make up the difference.
To correct deficiency: You must be prepared to work under your doctors supervision. You can take 5,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day for 3 months. (You will need your doctor to check your calcium, phosphorous, and parathyroid hormone levels every 1-3 months. It can take 6-10 months to optimise your vitamin D if you’re deficient)
If you are unsure – at least supplement to achieve maintenance as an absolute minimum:
For maintenance: 2,000 to 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D3 is recommended. Monitor your vitamin D status until you are in the optimal range.
WHAT FOODS CAN HELP INCREASE MY VITAMIN D LEVELS?
• Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil. 1 TBSP (15 ml) = 1,360 IU of vitamin D
• Cooked wild salmon. 3.5 oz = 360 IU of vitamin D
• Cooked mackerel. 3.5 oz = 345 IU of vitamin D
• Sardines, canned in oil, drained. 1.75 oz = 250 IU of vitamin D
• One whole egg = 20 IU of vitamin D
I cannot stress the importance of this information. In fact I am certain that if you strive for optimum vitamin D, you will massively improve your health!