VITAMIN D—A LIFE SAVER HORMONE
In 2009 researchers reported the first clinical trial of vitamin D in preventing internal cancers and found a 60-percent reduction in cancers by increasing vitamin D levels from 29 ng/mL to 38 ng/mL with 1,100 IU per day. This study left open the possibility that higher doses may prevent even more cancers.
Low vitamin D is associated with increases in cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, breast, prostate and colon cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, periodontal disease, macular degeneration, mental illness, propensity to fall, and chronic pain.
A recent review presented considerable evidence that influenza epidemics, and perhaps even the common cold, are brought on by seasonal deficiencies in cathelicidin, a natural antibiotic made in our cells in response to vitamin D. Results of a research study support the theory, finding 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day for one year significantly lowered self-reported incidence of colds and influenza.
Even the current triple childhood epidemics of autism, asthma, and type 1 diabetes, all of which blossomed after sun-avoidance advice became widespread, might be increased by gestational or early childhood vitamin D deficiencies partially caused by medical advice to avoid the sun.
Claims that vitamin D may help prevent such a wide variety of diseases seem incredible until one realizes vitamin D is not a vitamin; rather, it is a hormone with multiple repair and regenerative functions. Previously, many practitioners thought vitamin D’s activity was simply the regulation of serum calcium – and was thus mainly involved in bone metabolism. Vitamin D deficiency, if severe, will result in rickets, a severe bone mineralization deficit.
Adult vitamin D deficiency is the rule rather than the exception in industrialized nations. A high number of otherwise healthy children and adolescents are also vitamin D deficient especially breast-fed infants. Severe deficiencies are common in newborn infants and pregnant women, especially African-Americans.
Furthermore, the definition of vitamin D deficiency changes almost yearly as research shows the ideal vitamin D ranges are higher than were previously thought. Only 10 percent of the subjects in any of the above studies had vitamin D levels > 40 ng/mL
Sufficient Vitamin D levels are said to be 33 to 100 ng/dl. Many experts now believe that optimal vitamin D levels are between 55 and 80 ng/dl. Very few people will attain this level without significantly increasing their sun exposure or supplementation of 2000 to 4000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day.