Vitamin D Supplement - Immunity Benefits Beyond Belief!
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin/hormone that is naturally present in very few foods, added to others, and is available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced when UV rays from sunlight hit the skin, are absorbed by the skin, and trigger synthesis in the body.
Because of the high rate of toxic exposure today, it is extraordinarily important that you get enough of it!
Did you realize that you have D receptor sites all over your body? Makes sense though! That's exactly how we're able to get it from the sun! This fact alone helps you realize that this unique vitamin, acts more like a hormone than it does a vitamin! There are no other 'vitamin-type' receptor sites on your body so there must be something extra special about this Rock Star of vitamins! And there is!
D vitamin is biologically inert and must undergo two conversions in the body. The first occurs in the liver and the second occurs in the kidneys. It takes a lot of processing to get this vitamin in a usable form!
Most people know that D vitamin is crucial for calcium metabolism, however it is also involved in many health functions that have nothing to do with strong bones. New studies show that without adequate amounts, people may be more susceptible to cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, lowered immunity, and depression.
Fortified foods are the major dietary sources. Prior to fortification of milk products in the 1930s, rickets (a bone disease seen in children) was a major public health concern in the US. Milk made in the US is now fortified with 10 mcg. (400 IU) per quart. Because of this, rickets are highly uncommon in this day and age.
One cup of fortified milk supplies about 1/4 of the estimated daily requirement for this vitamin in adults. You would think that cheese, yogurt, and ice cream would also be fortified with Vitamin D because they are milk products, but they aren’t.
Breakfast cereals, pastries, breads, crackers, cereal grain bars and some other food sources that may be fortified. (Remember though, in processed foods, you may be getting GMO's, bromides, or unwanted sugar by means of high fructose corn syrup!) The percentage is only about 10 percent to 15 percent of the recommended daily requirement however. If you are concerned about your D intake, read the nutritional information on the food label to determine whether that particular food is a good source.
Cod Liver Oil, 1 Tbs: 1,360 IU
Salmon, cooked, 3 1/2 oz: 360 IU
Mackerel, cooked, 3 1/2 oz: 345 IU
Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 3 1/2 oz: 270 IU
Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, fortified, 1 C.: 98 IU
Margarine/Butter, fortified, 1 Tbs: 60 IU (Pleasedo not use margarine!)
Pudding, 1/2 c prepared from mix and made with fortified milk: 50 IU
Dry cereal, fortified with 10 percent of the recommended daily value, 3/4 c: 40-50 IU (check labels for more information)
Liver, beef, cooked, 3 1/2 oz: 30 IU
Egg, 1 whole (found in the yolk): 25 IU
Most people know that exposure to sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. Ultraviolet rays from the sun trigger synthesis in the skin. Season, latitude, time of day, cloud cover, smog, skin color, and sunscreens affect UV exposure. It is especially important for anyone with limited sun exposure to include good sources of D vitamin in their diet. Also, the darker your skin tone, the harder it is for your body to absorb enough UV light and produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. This probably accounts for the high cancer rates among African Americans in the world today.
You do NOT need to take a vitamin D supplement if you're out in the sun without protection between the hours 10am - 3pm during the hot summer months especially. You can get up to 20,000 IU's in one day from sun exposure alone and that's quite sufficient for daily intake, unless you weigh over 400 pounds, which I sincerely hope you don't!
New Studies Show Decreased Risk of Cancer
New research conducted at the Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska has revealed that supplementing with D3 and calcium can reduce cancer risks by up to 77 percent. This includes colon cancer, breast cancer, and skin cancer and other forms of cancer. The research provides strong evidence that vitamin D is the most effective way to reduce the risks of cancer.
The study involved 1,179 healthy women from rural Nebraska. One group of women was given calcium (around 1500 mg daily) and D3 (1100 IU daily) while the other group was given a placebo. Over a four year period, the group that received the calcium and D supplements showed a 60 percent decrease in all forms of cancer. The last three years of the study revealed an impressive 77 percent reduction in cancer due to vitamin supplementation.
Pretty impressive stuff, I'd say!
"One of the first pieces of scientific evidence was developed by Dr. Toshio Suda, back in 1979. What he showed was that if you took a leukemic cell that had a vitamin D receptor and incubated it with the active form of vitamin D, that leukemic cell became normal. It transformed back into a normal cell. Resource here. This began to introduce the concept. Maybe some of these association studies suggesting that exposure to sunlight reduces your risk of cancer may be related to vitamin D. In fact, one of the early association studies that was done was in 1950, if you can believe it, where they showed that if you were indoor working and living in San Diego, you had eight times higher risk of developing a deadly cancer and dying of that cancer than if you work outdoors such as navy personnel working on a ship." Resource here.
How Much Do You Need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is the average daily dietary intake level that is [said to be] sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97-98 percent) healthy individuals in each life-stage and gender group. Unlike many other nutrients, there is not sufficient evidence to establish an RDA for D3. Instead, an Adequate Intake (AI) level (a minimum that provides sufficient amounts to maintain healthy blood levels of an active form) was established instead. Interestingly, the AI in adults is the same in both males and females.
Children 12 - under: 1500 IU
Ages 19-50: 1200 International Units (IU)
Ages 51-69: 1200 IU
Age 70 and older: 1200 IU
However, newer studies are showing that you need much more vitamin D than originally recommended. And although Dr. Mercola suggests getting 35 IU's per pound of body weight to keep within his optimum range of 50-70 ng/mL, I suggest going by Dr Stasha Gominak's recommendations instead.
The in-depth research done by Dr. Stasha Gominak found that the optimum range to be 60-80ng/mL. I just got my test results back and my vitamin D levels are at 75 ng/mL. What's even more intriguing is that I was exposed to the latest flu virus (H2N3) several times recently and never caught it!
Most people need around 48 IU's of D3 per pound of body weight that do not get regular sun. This keeps the levels close to the range, but everyone should test their levels from time to time. For example, I weigh about 120 lbs and I need around 6,000 IU's per day. (Actual # is 5760)
Dr. Cicero Coimbra talks more about it here:
Dr. Patrick Krupka talks about vitamin d and autoimmunity/MS.
Fill in the information and then look down the middle column for anything that falls below < 49. These are the times of day when vitamin D cannot be made from UVB rays alone, in your area.
If your levels are extremely low, you can take a 3 day super-dose (instructions just below) and then, continue with your normal dose.
If you'd like to know what your D levels are, you have to find a doctor that will order the specific blood test. In some areas, doctors seem resistant to ordering the test, but there are other ways to get one! It's really easy to order your own 25 Hydroxy D Test from The Vitamin D Council, ZRT labs. At present, if you buy 4 tests, you can get them for $55 a piece, otherwise they are $65.
Also notable, for unknown reasons, D3 levels seem to drop around March and late September so this may be the perfect time to double-check your levels... that is, if you want to steer clear of the flu virus!
2,000 IU per kilogram (kg.) of body weight once per day for THREE DAYS ONLY and then, back to maintenance dose. To convert to kilograms, use this equation:
Body weight / 2.2 X 2,000 = IU's per day for a super-dose.
(For my weight: 120/2.2 = 55 X 2,000 = 109,000 IU's ONCE per day for 3 days ONLY!)
To get an approximate super-dose, you can also multiply your body weight x 900 IU and this will be a very close approximation. (An more exact approximation is more like 909 IU instead of 900 IU, if you want to get technical about it.)
Typically, you only do a superdose when you feel a cold or flu coming on, you just found out you have cancer, or you've had your levels tested and know your levels are super low.
This can help arm your body to fight off pathogens in a very fast and efficient way. However, it is important to note that if your 25 hydroxy D3 levels ever go beyond 150 ng/mL, (unit conversion between nanogram/deciliter and nanogram/milliliter), you run the risk of high calcium dumping in the bloodstream and this can cause irreversible heart and kidney problems. It is RARE that anyone gets to that point, but it is an important point to realize.
NEVER DO A SUPERDOSE MORE THAN ONCE EVERY THREE MONTHS UNLESS YOU HAVE CANCER AND ARE DYING. ULTIMATELY HOWEVER, A SUPERDOSE SHOULD ONLY BE DONE ONCE YEARLY AND LEVELS SHOULD BE CHECKED REGULARLY - EITHER BY YOUR DOCTOR OR BY ORDERING THE TEST ONLINE.
Damage to the kidneys and heart can occur with too much D and if it goes on long enough with high calcium, it can be irreversible.
Different Kinds of Vitamin D
There are two kinds of D vitamin supplements available. Cholecalciferol (D3) is the compound your body naturally makes when it's exposed to the sunlight. D3 is converted to a usable form the most quickly. This is the recommended form of D vitamin!
The other type of D supplement is Ergocalciferol (D2) and is not as effective as D3, so may not be as protective against illness.
A deficiency can occur when:
1) dietary intake is inadequate
2) there is limited exposure to sunlight
3) kidneys cannot convert it to its active form
4) someone cannot adequately absorb it from the gastrointestinal tract
When there is a deficiency, rickets or osteomalacia may occur. Children with deficiencies can develop rickets, which results in skeletal deformities. Deficiencies in adults can cause osteomalacia, which produces muscular weakness and bone weakness. Low levels can also interrupt sleep patterns and cause insomnia.
Adults over the age of 50, have a higher risk of developing a deficiency because:
the ability of skin to convert vitamin D into its active form decreases as we age,
the elderly sometimes have problems with liver and kidney function.
the liver and kidneys help convert D3 into its active form.
These medical facts show a strong correlation between older people and their need to supplement with D3! I'm over 50 and I take it each and every day. I also give it to son, my cats, and my dog. I want to keep us as healthy as possible.
Those with limited sun exposure should include good sources of vitamin D in their diet. People living in northern latitudes, women who cover their body for religious reasons, individuals working in occupations that prevent sunlight exposure, and the elderly are at risk for a deficiency. If this sounds like you, you may need a supplemental form.
Some other people have a reduced ability to absorb dietary fat from foods and may require extra amounts, as Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. Some causes of fat mal-absorption are pancreatic enzyme deficiency, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, sprue, liver disease, surgical removal of part or all of the stomach, and small bowel disease. Symptoms of fat mal-absorption include diarrhea and greasy stools.
Vitamin D deficiency can also cause a plateau in weight loss. If you reach stagnation and can't seem to lose that last bit of weight, try uptaking your D3 for a short time.
A deficiency can also cause interruptions in sleep patterns and cause you to toss and turn at night. In fact, since I learned this, I've been taking 1000 IU's when I can't sleep and so far it's really helping!
You may have a deficiency if you have to get up during the night to urinate. However, this 'rule' doesn't work for everybody and should be used as a loose guideline only.
Vitamin D3 deficiencies can also cause many skin problems. People with psoriasis and seborrhea for example, can clear up their skin just by getting their D levels up to optimum. Depending on the degree of inflammation and how long it's been a problem, it can work fairly quickly or may take up to a year or more (if levels are way low), but overall complete remission should be attainable.
Supplements are often recommended for exclusively breast-fed infants because human milk may not contain adequate amounts. *The Institute of Medicine states that; "With habitual small doses of sunshine, breast-fed or formula-fed infants do not require supplemental forms." Mothers of infants who are exclusively breastfed and have a limited sun exposure should consult with a pediatrician. Since infant formulas are routinely fortified with vitamin D, formula fed infants usually have adequate dietary intake.
Although toxicity is rare, there are some risks associated with consuming too much vitamin D. Toxicity can cause nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. It can also raise blood levels of calcium, causing mental status changes such as confusion. High blood levels of calcium also can cause heart rhythm abnormalities. Calcinosis, the deposition of calcium and phosphate in soft tissues like the kidneys, can be caused by D toxicity.
Consuming too much D3 through diet alone is not likely unless you routinely consume large amounts of cod liver oil. It is much more likely to occur from high intakes of vitamin D in supplements. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine considers an intake of 1,000 IU for infants up to 12 months of age and 2,000 IU for children, adults, pregnant, and lactating women to be The Tolerable Upper Intake Level. Daily intake above this level increases the risk of adverse health effects and is not advised... but at 120 pounds, I take 6000 to 10000 IU's daily and I'm doing great!)
New research has shown that people who have low levels of vitamin D in their blood had a greater risk of dying. Researchers at the Medical University of Graz, Austria, tracked 3,258 men and women who had been referred to their university for an angiogram of their heart arteries. More than two-thirds of them were diagnosed with significant blockages in their coronary arteries.
These patients were followed for about eight years. During that time, 737 of them died, including 463 from cardiovascular problems.
Researchers at the university found that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D in their blood had the highest chances of dying. Although chances of dying due to heart disease rose with decreasing levels, dying from other causes was likely too. Researchers discovered that patients with little coronary artery disease were still much more likely to die during follow-up if they had low D levels.
At this point, it’s not known if low levels of vitamin D can trigger death from heart disease. Researchers say intervention trials using vitamin D could help establish if there is a casual relationship between the two.
In another new study, vitamin D was shown to reverse prostate cancer. You can read more about it here
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.