People has been forever wondering what do our bodies need in order to function properly. Believe it or not, the right answer is vitamin D and we will explain you why. Two recent studies published in The Journal of Pediatrics have been conducted which discovered that 70% of the American children do not get the required vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency puts them at higher risk of obesity, diabetes, raised blood pressure, decrease the good cholesterol levels, and can also develop heart disease later in life. 9% of the children have been vitamin D deficient, while 61% did not have required levels of it.
How vitamin D regulates cells and genes
Vitamin D affects our health and function of the cells as it minimizes the cellular growth (which promotes cancer) and boosts cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state), making vitamin D one of the most powerful cancer inhibitors. All this shows why its deficiency is linked to colon, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer.
This vitamin functions on a cellular docking station (receptor) which is sending messages to our genes and in that way controls various functions such as preventing cancer, reducing inflammation, enhancing mood, soothing muscle aches and fibromyalgia, and strengthening bones. When it is not acquire in sufficient amounts, it effects each area of our biology because of its impact on our cells and genes function.
When exposed to sunlight, our body creates vitamin D (80-100% of it comes from the sun), making our skin a little red, therefore it produces an amount of 10,000-25,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D in our bodies. The main problem is that most of us are not exposed to direct sunlight most often. There’s a simple reason for it – sunscreen. They do protect us from skin cancer, but also obstruct 97% of our body’s vitamin D production. Furthermore, aging skin creates less vitamin D, skin color is significant as well (people with darker skin produce less vitamin D), and people from cultures where they are covered all the times like Orthodox Jews and Muslims.
The latest research conducted by a vitamin D professional Dr. Michael Holick, Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, states that the intake of 2,000 IU daily is sufficient to maintain blood levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D at between 75-125 nmol/L. Although is sounds high, it is still considered perfectly safe. In countries where sun exposure is around 10,000 IU daily people have vitamin D blood levels of 105-163 nmol/L, and the autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel movement, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis are uncommon.
It has been proven to help prevent and treat osteoporosis which makes it even more essential than calcium because of the fact that the body requires vitamin D to properly absorb calcium. Therefore, if there are no enoguh levels of vitamin D, the intestine absorbs only 10-15% of dietary calcium. The bone-protective benefits of this vitamin keep enhancing with the dose.
Tips to get the right amount of vitamin D
- The amount of vitamin D you should implement in your blood levels to the optimal range varies depending on your age, how far north you live, how much time you spend in the sun, and the time of the year. Follow these ways to get the optimal levels of vitamin D:
- Get tested for 25 OH vitamin D – the normal rangs are 25-137 nmol/L (10-55 ng/ml) which are fine for preventing rickets, but not for optimal health, thus the range should be 100-160 nmol/L (40-65 ng/ml).
- Take the right type of vitamin D – the only active form of it is D3 (cholecalciferol), thus look for these as the prescribed ones have vitamin D2 that is not biologically active.
- Take the right amount of vitamin D – if you are deficient, then you should take 5,000-10,000 IU daily for 3 months with the doctor’s supervision, while for maintaining you have to take 2,000-4,000 IU daily.
- It takes up to 6-10 months to “fill up the tank” for vitamin D – if deficiency occurs, then you can lower the dose to the maintenance dose of 2,000-4,000 units daily.
- Try to eat dietary sources of vitamin D – fish liver oils like cod liver oil (1 tablespoon of vitamin D/1,360 IU); cooked wild salmon (3.5 ounces/360 IU); cooked mackerel (3.5 ounces/345 IU); canned in oil and drained sardines (1.75 ounces/250 IU); one whole egg (20 IU).