Is Vitamin D the MVP?

You can hardly turn on the television or read the newspaper these days without hearing some kind of breaking news about the importance of Vitamin D.  Is it the “new” wonder vitamin? Or is it a case of research being blown out of proportion because somebody with a special interest might be funding it? 

I dove into the studies being administered and can assure that, without question, it’s the real thing.

For years, we’ve known that Vitamin D is created during a chemical reaction between the sun and our skin. The amount we receive solely from foods isn’t sufficient to keep our levels high enough and our body healthy. We also know that Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption to prevent Rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. The outbreak of Rickets is why milk is Vitamin D-fortified. The importance of this vitamin has become even more apparent with each new study conducted, and their consequent results as reported from all over the world.

Every study that I reviewed said this: If you are insufficient in your Vitamin D level, you will become (or already are) more prone to memory loss, breast cancer, death from prostate cancer, metabolic syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, depression, colorectal cancer and increased fat within muscle tissue. If we break down metabolic syndrome a little more, we find diabetes, high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides).

At first glance, you’d think that by living in a “sunshine state” like California, you wouldn’t have to worry about your Vitamin D level. However, a study was conducted in California on women aged 16-22 years. Approximately 59% of participants were Vitamin D insufficient, with levels of 29ng/ml (nanograms per millileter) or less. Another 24% were deficient at 20ng/ml or less. For reference, 50ng/ml is the desired Vitamin D level to have the best chance of avoiding the previously listed health problems.

Another study that caught my attention: A survey of 41,504 patient records revealed that 63.6% were deficient in Vitamin D. Of the deficient patients, there was a higher prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia (elevated cholesterol & triglycerides), coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure and stroke when compared with patients who recorded normal Vitamin D levels.

A simple blood test, 25-hydroxy vitamin D, is all you need to find out your Vitamin D level. You’ll have to ask your doctor in order to get the test done, as it is not a standard blood test. Like I said previously, the goal number is 50ng/ml. Anything lower is deemed insufficient or deficient.

In order for us to get enough Vitamin D, we need to be exposed to sunshine, over the majority of our body, for 10-15 minutes per day, sunscreen-free. The rays will NOT penetrate through sunscreen. As you are well aware, more is not necessarily better due to skin cancer risk. Usually, supplementing 1000-2000 IU per day of Vitamin D3 will be sufficient when combined with the amount of sunshine mentioned above. If you test deficient, you might be put on a mega dose of Vitamin D3 to replenish your level. 

Another documented study found that overweight to obese women, aged 50-75, who lost 15% of their bodyweight, ended up increasing their Vitamin D levels by 7.7ng/ml. This was without supplementation. It is believed that before the weight loss, the Vitamin D was trapped in the fat stores, and subsequently released into the blood during weight loss.

As you can see from the results of these studies, Vitamin D is extremely important for maintaining your basic health. It is an immune system booster, and most people are deficient. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that we have such high incidences of colds, flus and other ailments in this country that reflect lowered immune systems. Have your Vitamin D level checked and take the necessary steps to getting to 50ng/ml. Of course, no supplement or supplements can replace a good diet, but this is definitely one of those supplements that can help to prevent an array of diseases.

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