Friday, August 1, 2014

Why Is Vitamin D So Important?

Vitamin D has been getting some press lately as a growing body of evidence points to the importance of the vitamin. Just how important? It could be a matter of life and death. Let's examine.

#1 Vitamin D is an Essential Vitamin
Essential means we need it for life itself. Good health and disease prevention hangs on it. The US government long ago classified 13 nutrients, it called vitamins, to be essential for normal cell growth, development and function. Vitamin D is one of those nutrients.

#2 Vitamin D Makes Healthy Bones
It is key to helping the body absorb calcium for healthy bones and teeth. In addition, Vitamin D helps maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus (another component for healthy bones and teeth).

#3 Vitamin D Influences 10% of Your Genes
It impacts over 1,000 genes making Vitamin D critical for disease prevention. Genes tell the body how to behave in a certain way. When genes go awry, problems occur and disease begins.

#4 Vitamin D is Effective in Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Vitamin D has been shown to promote cancer cell death, known as apoptosis, and inhibit angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor.

A Study at UC San Diego points to Vitamin D for effective breast cancer treatment.

#5 Lower Levels of Vitamin D Linked to Death from Any Cause
Since exposure to the sun is the best way to get vitamin D, could we be seeing the result of over use of sunscreen (many of which contain cancer-causing ingredients) as the reason cancer (especially melanoma and breast cancer) and other diseases are on the rise?

#6 Vitamin D Can Prevent Diabetes
A study in India found that taking vitamin D and calcium along with exercise prevented full-blown diabetes in individuals with pre-diabetic conditions.

#7 Vitamin D Effective Against Many Diseases
"Is there a food you can eat that increases vitamin D levels?" Only a small amount can be obtained by eating salmon, tuna, egg yolks and mushrooms. Best to get some sun without sunscreen. About 20 to 30 minutes a day will do. I use a zinc oxide herbal sunscreen on my face, wear a hat and run in a park where I get the appropriate amount (about 25 minutes) of sun exposure on my bare legs and arms.

Bottom Line
Insist that your doctor test your Vitamin D levels every year when you get your annual exam. Make sure you do the test during the cold months (January or February in the northern hemisphere). This test is critical if you have cancer, or are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

"What should my blood levels be?"
Findings indicate you need at least 30ng/ml of Vitamin D in your system, but 50-70ng/ml is optimal especially if you're pregnant or planning to get pregnant. If you're fighting disease, particularly cancer, better to see levels of 70-100ng/ml.
Source: Dr. Mercola

"If I take a supplement, how much should I take?"
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 400 IU, however given the importance of vitamin D, you should take much more. Most supplements of D are provided in 1,000 IU capsules in the form of D3. You would have to take 40,000 IUs daily over several months to possibly experience an overdose of D. So go ahead, take a few 1,000. Great news too... it's a very inexpensive supplement. And of course, the sun is free.

A recent study showed that mothers who took 4,000 IU of vitamin D during pregnancy decreased their risk of premature birth by half!

Now you should have an idea of how important vitamin D is for your health. So shouldn't you be getting your vitamin D tested and get a short dose of sun daily (remember... without sunscreen).

Have you ever had your vitamin D levels checked? What kind of adjustments did you make following the results?