Updated: Nov 3, 2020
What vitamin do we need in amounts up to 25 times higher than the government recommends for us to be healthy?
What vitamin deficiency affects over half of the population, is almost never diagnosed, and has been linked to many cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic muscle pain, bone loss, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis?
What vitamin is almost totally absent from our food supply? What vitamin is the hidden cause of so much suffering that is so easy to treat?
The answer to all of these questions is vitamin D.
Over the last 10 years, I have tested almost every patient in my practice for intracellular nutrient deficiencies, and I have been shocked by the results.
Especially when it comes to Vitamin D deficiency! It's unreal how prevalent this nutrient deficiency truly is, even if the "normal lab value" at your doctor's office, shows it to be "within normal limits." Intracellular nutrient testing on the other hand, shows just how well your cells can truly absorb nutrients, whether coming from food or supplement form.
What’s even more amazing is what happens when clients’ vitamin D status reaches optimal levels. Aside from the facts about the need for more "D", now prevalent in virtually all medical journals....Having witnessed these changes, there’s no doubt in my mind: Vitamin D is an incredible asset to your health!
How Vitamin D Regulates Your Cells and Genes
Vitamin D has a huge impact on the health and function of your cells. It reduces cellular growth (which promotes cancer) and improves cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state).
That makes vitamin D one of the most potent cancer inhibitors — and explains why vitamin D deficiency has been linked to colon, prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer.
But what’s even more fascinating is how vitamin D regulates and controls genes.
It acts on a cellular docking station ,called a receptor, that then sends messages to our genes. That’s how vitamin D controls so many different functions – from preventing cancer, reducing inflammation, boosting mood, easing muscle aches and fibromyalgia, and building bones.
One study found that vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of getting type 1 diabetes by 80 percent. Your body makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. The problem is that most of us aren’t exposed to enough sunlight.
Overuse of sunscreen is one reason. While these product help protect against skin cancer – they also block a whopping 97 percent of your body’s vitamin D production. If you live in a northern climate, you’re not getting enough sun (and therefore vitamin D), especially during winter.
Plus, aging skin produces less vitamin D — the average 70 year-old person creates only 25 percent of the vitamin D that a 20 year-old does. Skin color makes a difference, too.
People with dark skin also produce less vitamin D.
With all these causes of vitamin D deficiency, you can see why supplementing with enough of this vitamin is so important.
Unfortunately, you aren’t really being told the right amount of vitamin D to take.
The government recommends 200 to 600 IU of vitamin D a day. This is the amount you need to prevent rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency.
But the real question is: How much vitamin D do we need for OPTIMAL health?
How much do we need to prevent autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, depression, osteoporosis, and even cancer?
The answer is: Much more than you think.
Recent research by vitamin D pioneer Dr. Michael Holick, Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, recommends intakes of up to 2,000 IU a day — or enough to keep blood levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D at between 75 to 125 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter). That may sound high, but it’s still safe: Lifeguards have levels of 250 nmol/L without toxicity.
6 Tips for Getting the Right Amount of Vitamin D
Unless you’re spending all your time at the beach, eating 30 ounces of wild salmon a day, or downing 10 tablespoons of cod liver oil a day, supplementing with vitamin D is essential.
For example, one study found that vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of getting type 1 diabetes by 80 percent. In the Nurses’ Health Study (a study of more than 130,000 nurses over 3 decades), vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of multiple sclerosis by 40 percent.
I’ve seen many patients with chronic muscle aches and pains and fibromyalgia who are vitamin D deficient – a phenomenon that’s been documented in studies. Their symptoms improve when they are treated with vitamin D.
Finally, vitamin D has been shown to help prevent and treat osteoporosis. In fact, it’s even more important than calcium. That’s because your body needs vitamin D to be able to properly absorb calcium. Without adequate levels of vitamin D, the intestine absorbs only 10 to 15 percent of dietary calcium.
How to Get the Optimal Level of Vitamin D in Your Body
1. Get tested for 25 OH vitamin D. The current ranges for “normal” are 25 to 137 nmol/L or 10 to 55 ng/ml. These are fine if you want to prevent rickets – but NOT for optimal health. In that case, the range should be 75-160 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter) based on your current health or health issues.
2. Take the right type of vitamin D. The only active form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Look for this type. Many vitamins and prescriptions of vitamin D have vitamin D2 – which is not biologically active.
3. Take the right amount of vitamin D. If you have a deficiency, you should correct it with 5,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day for 3 months — but only under a doctor’s supervision. For maintenance, take 2,000 to 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D3. Some people may need higher doses over the long run to maintain optimal levels because of differences in vitamin D receptors, living in northern latitudes, indoor living, skin cancer risk, or skin color.
4. Monitor your vitamin D status until you are in the optimal range. If you are taking high doses (10,000 IU a day) your doctor must also check your calcium, phosphorous, and parathyroid hormone levels every 3 months!!!
5. Remember that it takes up to 6 to 10 months to “fill up the tank” for vitamin D if you’re deficient. Once this occurs, you can lower the dose to the maintenance dose of 2,000 to 4,000 units a day.
Curious about which Vitamin D is best for you?
If you haven't already, check out this article on Why You Should Never Purchase Supplements Over-the-Counter or on Amazon. Wellevate, is on online dispensary with both reputable and clean third-party tested supplements.
Here are a few of my favorite companies when it comes to Vitamin D. This LINK will take you straight to the site, although you must still register for a "new patient" account AND type in the exact name and company of the desired product into the search bar.
-Metagenics D3 5000
-Pure Encapsulations D3 5000
-Vital Nutrients D3 2000
-OrthoMolecular D3 with K2 Liquid
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