The government has kept us in the dark. We need this vitamin 25 times in higher dosage than our government has been recommending so far.
Almost 50% of the population suffers from the deficiency of this vitamin. Disturbingly, it goes mostly undiagnosed. Its deficiency has been linked to several types of cancers, heart disease, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic muscle pain, fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and bone loss.
What is this vitamin that is almost entirely lacking in our diet?
Which is this vitamin, the deficiency of which has been behind so many diseases which could have been treated?
It is none else than vitamin D, which most of us claim to know so well of.
In my practice extending over a decade, I have been working to find what is needed by our body to work at its optimal levels. My interest in the functions of certain nutrients has grown over the years.
According to a couple of studies published in The Journal of Pediatrics more recently, almost 70% of kids in the United States are not getting sufficient amount of vitamin D. This significantly increases their risk of developing diabetes, obesity, reduced levels of good cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Deficiency of vitamin D is also expected to raise the chances of a child developing heart disease during later part in their life.
Studies show that more than 7.6 million (9%) of kids in the U.S. are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. A staggering 50.8 million (61%) don’t have sufficient levels of it in their blood.
During the past 5 years of my practice I have got each one of my patient tested for vitamin D levels. The results have left me stunned. I have been amazed after seeing the effects on my patients’ health when they achieved healthy vitamin D levels. After having tested and seeing the positive changes, I am sure that vitamin D is a crucial element for our health.
It is for this reason that I would be explaining here why this vitamin is so important. I will also give you 6 vital tips for optimizing your vitamin D levels.
So how does vitamin D affect the health and functioning of all the cells and genes in our body?
Role of Vitamin D in Regulating our Cells & Genes
Vitamin D plays a major role in the health and functioning of our cells. It will reduce cellular growth (thus curbing cancer) and boosts cell differentiation (stimulates cells to enter anti-cancer state).
Because of these functions, vitamin D is considered among the most powerful cancer inhibitors. This also explains how the deficiency of this vitamin is related to cancers of the colon, ovary, breast and prostate.
The role of vitamin D the regulation and control of genes is even more interesting.
It works on the receptor (cellular docking station), which will then send out messages to genes. This is the underlying key used by vitamin D for controlling various bodily functions like:
- Prevention of cancer
- Fighting inflammation
- Improving mood
- Providing relief from fibromyalgia and muscle aches
- Developing bones
But this covers only a few aspects of the potential of vitamin D. When we are unable to get sufficient amount of it, all aspects of our biology get affected. This is because deficiency will have an impact on the functioning of our cells and genes. It is disturbing that many people suffer from its deficiency due to a very simple reason.
Our body can make vitamin D when it receives exposure to the sun. The fact is that we get 80%-100% of our vitamin D from sunlight. When we are exposed to the sun and our skin turns red, it helps us produce around 10,000-25,000 IU of the vitamin in our body. It is referred to as one minimum erythemal dose.
Despite the inherent benefits of sun bathing, most of us are not getting enough of it.
One reason is that many of us are overusing sunscreen. There’s no denying that the product helps in protecting us from skin cancer. But it also blocks a staggering 97% of the vitamin D that is produced in our body.
People who are living in areas with northern climate are not going to get enough sunlight, thus suffer from vitamin D deficiency, more so during the winter months. There is also a good chance that you are not consuming sufficient amount of the few foods which are sources of the vitamin. These include fatty wild fish such as herring and mackerel, and cod liver oil.
Another concern is that as we get older, our aging skin progressively loses its power to produce vitamin D. On an average, a 70 year individual’s body produces only around 25% of the vitamin D produced by a 20-year-old’s body.
Even your skin color plays a key role in the production of this vitamin. If you have dark skin, your body produces lesser amount of vitamin D. During my years of practice, I have noticed that Orthodox Muslims and Jews have suffered from chronic deficiencies because they always remained covered.
Vitamin D deficiency can be easily caused. This is why it is so crucial to supplement your body with enough of this vitamin. It is a thing of big concern that all of us are being misinformed about how much vitamin D we should be taking.
The recommended vitamin D dosage from the government is 200-600 IU per day. The fact is that this is the dosage needed for preventing rickets, which is a disease associated with deficiency of vitamin D.
It is extremely important to ask the actual amount of the vitamin D that we require for maintaining our optimal health. What is the amount of it required for preventing high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, depression, cancer, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia?
You would be taken aback to learn how much is the amount.
According to latest study by Dr. Michael Holick (pioneer in vitamin D, Professor of Medicine, Dermatology & Physiology at Boston University School of Medicine), we need around 2,000 IU per day of the vitamin. He claims that we should take enough of vitamin and to maintain our blood levels at 25 hydroxy vitamin D in the range 75-125 nmol/L. nmol/L stands for nanomoles per liter.
This may seem to be too high, but it is safe for us. It is worth mentioning that lifeguards can have up to 250 nmol/L of this vitamin without suffering from toxicity.
The government has a current maximum limit recommendation of 2,000 IU of vitamin D. The fact is that it may also not be sufficient for our large population that is sunlight-deficient. Autoimmune diseases (such as Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus) are very rare in countries where people get up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D per day and have 105-163 nmol/L of it in their blood.
There’s no need to worry that this high level of vitamin D can cause toxicity. According to a study, when healthy young men were given 10,000 IU of the vitamin for 20 weeks, there were no signs of toxicity in their blood.
SO how could you supply the required amount of vitamin D to your body?
These 6 tips should help you.
6 Tips to Get Ideal Dosage of Vitamin D
If you are not doing the following, you should supplement your body with vitamin D :
- Spend all the time on the beach
- Take 30 oz. of wild salmon daily
- Consuming 10 tbsp of cod liver oil per day
Eventually, the amount of vitamin required to achieve optimal blood levels (100-160 nmol/L) will depend on many factors like:
- How old you are
- How far you live from north
- The time you spend outdoors
- The season
Once you have achieved the optimal levels of vitamin D, your life will change forever.
According to the Nurses’ Health Study (which involved over 130,000 nurses over 30 years), supplementing with vitamin D helped in reducing the chances of multiple sclerosis by almost 40%.
During my practice, I have come across so many patients suffering from severe muscle pain and aches and fibromyalgia and they were suffering from vitamin D deficiency. This phenomenon has been recorded in studies. The patients’ symptoms improved when vitamin D was used as part of the treatment.
Studies have also shown that vitamin D supplementation can help in preventing and treating osteoporosis. It has been placed at a higher level (in terms of importance) than calcium. The underlying reason is that our body cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D .
If there is insufficient amount of vitamin D, our intestine will absorb only 10-15% of dietary calcium. According to research, bone-protection properties of vitamin D will increase as dosage is increased.
You should follow these 6 tips to get the right amount of vitamin D :
- Undergo a test for 25 OH vitamin D . currently, the normal range is 25-137 nmol/L (10-55 ng/ml). These levels are normal if you don’t want to develop rickets. But they are not suited for your optimal health. You should have 100-160 nmol/L (40-65 ng/ml) to lead a fully healthy life.
- You should take only the right kind of vitamin D . Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is the only active type of vitamin D . Vitamin D2, which is often prescribed, should not be taken because it is not a biologically active vitamin D .
- Make sure to take required dosage of vitamin D . If you are deficient in it, make sure to start taking 5,000-10,000 IU vitamin D3 daily for 90 days. This should be only under the strict supervision of a doctor. If you want to maintain the levels of vitamin D, you must be taking 2,000-4,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.
Many will require even higher dosage in the long term for maintaining their optimal levels. This is due to different factors like variations between individuals in terms of vitamin D receptors, color of skin, location (those living within northern latitudes and those living down south), time spent indoors and outdoors, and much more.
- You should also monitor your levels of vitamin D until you reach the optimal level. When you take higher dosage (up to 10,000 IU daily), have your doctor check the following levels every 90 days:
- Parathyroid Hormone
- If you have vitamin D deficiency, it can take 6-10 months to achieve the optimal levels. Once you have achieved the required levels, you can reduce your dosage to maintenance levels of 2,000-4,000 IU daily.
- It will be best if you increase the intake of dietary sources of vitamin D as following:
- Cooked wild salmon – A 3.5 oz. size contains 360 IU vitamin D .
- Fish liver oils – Cod liver oil is a good example and 1 tbsp of it or 15 ml supplies 1,360 IU of the vitamin.
- Sardines (which are canned in oil and drained) – A 1.75 oz. potion supplies 250 IU of the vitamin.
- Cooked mackerel – A 3.5 oz. potion supplies 345 IU of the vitamin.
- Egg – 1 whole egg supplies 20 IU of the vitamin.
It must be clear to you now why vitamin D is such an important nutrient for our body. It is a critical nutrient if you want to lead a healthy life.
So make sure to focus on getting the optimal level of this vitamin and you will be amazed how it will help in improving your health.