By Frank Tabino | Category: natural antioxidants, Natural remedies for health, NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS, VITAMINS
The scientific community has become increasing more interested in the role that vitamin D plays in maintaining health. I have been following nutritional research for the past thirty five years, but I have never seen such a deluge of research on any nutrient as I have with vitamin D. This hormone-like vitamin, once thought to be useful only for proper bone development, has of late received serious scientific investigation.
Much of the research has centered on the vitamin D’s extensive health benefits. This hormone-like vitamin is essential to the functioning of more than 2,000 of our 20,000+ genes. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests your chance for optimal health is far greater if you have adequate levels of vitamin D.
A considerable amount of the vitamin D research focuses on how this key vitamin influences overall health. However, these epidemiological studies have uncovered a torrent of vitamin D deficiency. Depending on which report you read, somewhere between 50% and 75% of Americans do not have adequate levels of vitamin D. In these times, with all of the breakthrough technology and nutritional information we possess, could it be possible that a large portion of the population is lacking in this nutrient? The answer is yes.
The statistics are shocking, but understandably right. There are few foods that have significant amounts of naturally occurring vitamin D. Unless you are eating salmon, mackerel, sardines, or tuna daily, you are not getting adequate amounts of vitamin D. You will receive vitamin D in fortified foods like milk, cheese and cereals. One eight ounce glass of milk will contain about 100 IU of vitamin. You could get a similar amount of vitamin D in a bowl of fortified cereal. So now your vitamin D intake is 200 IU. That is half of the RDA, and a measly 1% of the vitamin D your body will make on a thirty minute walk in the mid-day sun. It is physically impossible to eat your way out of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that your body can make. Within 15-30 minutes, with 40% of your skin exposed to the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays of the sun, your body will produce 20,000 IU of vitamin D. This seems like a staggering figure when you consider that the RDA for vitamin D is a scant 400 IU. However, studies confirm that somewhere between 50-75% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, and if you have dark skin, the chances of vitamin D deficiency are even higher. Several studies reveal that more than 90% of African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans aredeficient in vitamin D.
There are several reasons for this widespread deficiency. Geographic location is a fundamental principle for vitamin D production. Not all geographic locations receive the same amount of UVB radiation. For example, if I take a thirty minute walk on a sunny day, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, my body will produce 20,000 IU of vitamin D; however, I live in Florida, and my geographic area receives far more UVB radiation than New York, Denver or Seattle. In these cities, a thirty-minute walk will provide a fraction of the vitamin D. If you are not sure about the latitude of your hometown, you can find it on the internet at InfoPlease.
Most people think that the exposure to the sun causes cancer. However, there is strong evidence that it is not the sun that causes skin cancer. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting a lack of vitamin D production will inhibit the immune system function and open the door to a variety of conditions. If you use a sun block lotion with an SPF rating greater than eight, your vitamin D production is effectively reduced by 95% or higher.
I do not use sun-blockers. I think the synthetic chemicals found in most commercially available sun-blockers constitute a greater health risk than moderate exposure to the sun. The key word here is moderate. Those of you, who walk around brown as a berry all year long, are far beyond the moderate level. We may have evolved enough to live in peaceful coexistence with the sun, but all bets are off when the exposure becomes excessive.
According to prominent researcher Dr. Marc Sorrenson, the misguided policies of governmental agencies, the medical community and the pharmaceutical industry have compromised the health of the Americans. His latest book, Vitamin D3 and Solar Power for Optimal Health, is a comprehensive review of the health benefits of solar UVB exposure and vitamin D.
We have been programmed to believe that sun exposure causes skin cancer and melanoma. In his book, Dr. Sorenson convincingly explains, that by avoiding exposure to the sun, you will significantly increase your risk for all types of cancers, including melanomas. If you want the truth about the value of solar UVB and vitamin D to optimal health, you must read Vitamin D3 and Solar Power for Optimal Health.
Because of the emerging research on vitamin D, the value of dietary supplements is finally taking a well-deserved spotlight. Taking supplemental vitamin D is a safe and effective way to enhance your vitamin D serum levels. Remember, you cannot eat your way out of vitamin D deficiency, but if you are like me and take a tablespoon of cod liver oil daily and spend some time outdoors sans sun-block, you are well on your way to maintaining adequate levels of this essential nutrient.
Vitamin D is fast becoming known as a super-nutrient. The importance of adequate levels of vitamin D has grown exponentially within the past several years. Recent studies have produced convincing evidence that insufficient vitamin D has serious, widespread health consequences. Studies reveal that having adequate levels of vitamin D could cut your risk for most age-related diseases, even the common cold and influenza. In fact, current research shows that 75% of all colon and breast cancer deaths could be prevented by maintaining adequate serums levels of vitamin D.
There is no doubt that vitamin D has the research spotlight right now. The buzz has been so intense even the traditional medical community has taken notice. It is now quite possible that your doctor will include vitamin D levels when ordering blood tests for your scheduled physical examination. Imagine an MD checking for vitamin levels in his patient.
Check your current serum level of vitamin D. Tell your doctor to check your blood for 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D, [25(OH)D]. You can also request a home test kit from the Vitamin D Council that will accurately measure 25(OH) D. For more information on the home test, and excellent source for the most current research on vitamin D, visit www.vitamindcouncil.org.
I suggest that you start supplementing with vitamin D before waiting for a blood test result. There is a strong likelihood that the blood test will confirm that you are not within the optimal range of 50-80 ng/ml. Do not be fooled by the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 400 IU. Reaching the optimal zone will require that your vitamin D intake be significantly higher. I currently take 10,000 IU, more than twenty times the RDA, of supplemental Vitamin D daily.
Considering we are in the midst of what could be an extreme flu season, I recommend that healthy adults take 5,000 IU – 10, 000 IU of supplemental vitamin D daily. Healthy children under the age of two should take 1,000 IU. Children over the age of two should take 2, 000 IU of supplemental vitamin D daily.
Spend some time outdoors. Don’t be afraid of moderate sun-exposure.