Everyday I read 5 or 10 stories from MD's that are now seeing the light and are actually testing their patients to see if they are vitamin D deficient. While I think testing is a good thing, it is not necessary. Most experts now believe everyone can benefit from 2,000 IU's to 4,000 IU's of D3 supplementation everyday. What is interesting is that this doctor lives down south near Temecula, close to San Diego. People who live north of that latitude get even less sun and are more likely to have low levels of this critical nutrient. From the Battle of the Bulge, the flu, to cancer, this nutrient is a must in your daily plan to stay well. Make sure if you are taking a multi that it has at least 1,000 IU's of D3 in it. Most likely the one you are taking does not. All of the multi vitamins I formulate have that level or more.
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The benefits of sunshine and vitamin D
Eric Madrid, MD
Special to the Village News Thursday, September 11th, 2008. Issue 37, Volume 12.
Physicians and scientists are starting to realize the numerous health benefits of sunshine exposure and vitamin D supplementation. Most doctors know severe vitamin D deficiency causes rickets. Since rickets is rarely seen today, it is incorrectly assumed that vitamin D deficiency is nonexistent.
Fallbrook and Temecula medical providers have diagnosed hundreds of patients with vitamin D deficiency, or about 90 percent of all patients tested. Nine out of 10 people reading this story likely suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
Why should you have your vitamin D level checked? Studies have shown that those with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and heart disease. One study showed greater than a 60-percent reduction in breast cancer in those with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood.
In addition, senior citizens who have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood are at higher risk of falls, osteoporosis and bone fractures. Those who suffer from chronic pain and fibromyalgia also have lower levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D levels are checked by a simple blood test. Treatment usually requires supplementation with vitamin D3 as opposed to the more commonly sold over the counter vitamin D.
Vitamin D is also made from moderate daily sun exposure to the arms and legs. Caution must be taken to prevent sun burning. Many sunscreens will block out UVB, which is the type of sunlight needed for skin to make vitamin D. Those with darker pigment are higher risk of deficiency, which may explain the higher incidence of diseases in certain ethnic populations.
To check your vitamin D level, contact your physician.
Eric Madrid MD is a family physician with Rancho Family Medical Group, which has offices in Fallbrook and Temecula. See www.ranchofamilymed.com.
Vitamin D Miracles
Receptors for vitamin D are found in most of the cells in the body and research during the 1980s suggested that vitamin D contributed to a healthy immune system, promoted muscle strength, regulated the maturation process and contributed to hormone production.
During the last ten years, researchers have made a number of exciting discoveries about vitamin D.
They have ascertained, for example, that vitamin D is an antioxidant that is a more effective antioxidant than vitamin E in reducing lipid peroxidation and increasing enzymes that protect against oxidation.19;20
Vitamin D deficiency decreases biosynthesis and release of insulin.21 Glucose intolerance has been inversely associated with the concentration of vitamin D in the blood. Thus, vitamin D may protect against both Type I and Type II diabetes.22
The risk of senile cataract is reduced in persons with optimal levels of D and carotenoids.23
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) has been corrected by supplementation of D and calcium.24
Vitamin D plays a role in regulation of both the "infectious" immune system and the "inflammatory" immune system.25
Low vitamin D is associated with several autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, Sjogren's Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis and Crohn's disease.26;27
Osteoporosis is strongly associated with low vitamin D. Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis respond favorably (and rapidly) to higher levels of D plus calcium and magnesium.28
D deficiency has been mistaken for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or peripheral neuropathy.1;28-30
Infertility is associated with low vitamin D.31 Vitamin D supports production of estrogen in men and women.32
PMS has been completely reversed by addition of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.33
Menstrual migraine is associated with low levels of vitamin D and calcium.81
Breast, prostate, skin and colon cancer have a strong association with low levels of D and lack of sunlight.34-38
Activated vitamin D in the adrenal gland regulates tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate limiting enzyme necessary for the production of dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Low D may contribute to chronic fatigue and depression.39
Seasonal Affective Disorder has been treated successfully with vitamin D. In a recent study covering 30 days of treatment comparing vitamin D supplementation with two-hour daily use of light boxes, depression completely resolved in the D group but not in the light box group.40
High stress may increase the need for vitamin D or UV-B sunlight and calcium.41
People with Parkinsons and Alzheimers have been found to have lower levels of vitamin D.42;43
Low levels of D, and perhaps calcium, in a pregnant mother and later in the child may be the contributing cause of "crooked teeth" and myopia. When these conditions are found in succeeding generations it means the genetics require higher levels of one or both nutrients to optimize health.44-47
Behavior and learning disorders respond well to D and/or calcium combined with an adequate diet and trace minerals.48;49
Vitamin D and Heart Disease
Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D may contribute to or be a cause of syndrome X with associated hypertension, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.50 Vitamin D regulates vitamin-D-binding proteins and some calcium-binding proteins, which are responsible for carrying calcium to the "right location" and protecting cells from damage by free calcium.51 Thus, high dietary levels of calcium, when D is insufficient, may contribute to calcification of the arteries, joints, kidney and perhaps even the brain.52-54
Many researchers have postulated that vitamin D deficiency leads to the deposition of calcium in the arteries and hence atherosclerosis, noting that northern countries have higher levels of cardiovascular disease and that more heart attacks occur in winter months.55-56
Scottish researchers found that calcium levels in the hair inversely correlated with arterial calcium—the more calcium or plaque in the arteries, the less calcium in the hair. Ninety percent of men experiencing myocardial infarction had low hair calcium. When vitamin D was administered, the amount of calcium in the beard went up and this rise continued as long as vitamin D was consumed. Almost immediately after stopping supplementation, however, beard calcium fell to pre-supplement levels.27
Administration of dietary vitamin D or UV-B treatment has been shown to lower blood pressure, restore insulin sensitivity and lower cholesterol.58-60
The Battle of the Bulge
Did you ever wonder why some people can eat all they want and not get fat, while others are constantly battling extra pounds? The answer may have to do with vitamin D and calcium status. Sunlight, UV-B, and vitamin D normalize food intake and normalize blood sugar. Weight normalization is associated with higher levels of vitamin D and adequate calcium.61 Obesity is associated with vitamin-D deficiency.62-64 In fact, obese persons have impaired production of UV-B-stimulated D and impaired absorption of food source and supplemental D.65
When the diet lacks calcium, whether from D or calcium deficiency, there is an increase in fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that converts calories into fat. Higher levels of calcium with adequate vitamin D inhibit fatty acid synthase while diets low in calcium increase fatty acid synthase by as much as five-fold. In one study, genetically obese rats lost 60 percent of their body fat in six weeks on a diet that had moderate calorie reduction but was high in calcium. All rats supplemented with calcium showed increased body temperature indicating a shift from calorie storage to calorie burning (thermogenesis).61
From the Weston Price Foundation
Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a health care professional. If you decide to use this information on your own, it's your constitutional right, but I assume no responsibility. The views expressed on this website are those of the health professionals & scientists I list or my own opinions and are not intended to replace any medical advice you may require. The contents have not been approved by the Pharmaceutical Association, the American Medical Association, or the Food and Drug Administration. This website may present views diametrically opposed to the views of such organizations.
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