Vitamin D is necessary to maintain bone health. Few foods naturally contain significant levels of vitamin D. In order to get adequate vitamin D through diet alone, two servings of fatty fish would have to be consumed every day. Therefore it is important to increase vitamin D in the body through sufficient sun exposure and supplements in order to use the sunshine vitamin’s full potential for maintaining proper body functioning.
Vitamin D is not a stand-alone vitamin. To perform many functions, vitamin D works with other vitamins like magnesium, found in leafy green vegetables. This unique characteristic of vitamin D has contributed to the management of many chronic illnesses. In the past, health care professionals thought vitamin D only kept bones and teeth healthy. Research has put this vitamin in the spotlight by revealing its multifaceted role in the proper functioning of the human body and its ability to lower the risk of illnesses not formerly associated with it. The current lifestyle of working indoors has contributed to the growing number of vitamin D deficiency cases worldwide. This is compounded by the fact that not everyone is aware that he or she may be vitamin D deficient. The best way to discover vitamin D deficiency is to take a blood test that will measure the level of the vitamin in your blood. You are certainly vitamin D deficient if you have any of the following ailments, and you need to consult with your doctor regarding your preventive and curative options as soon as possible.
1) Flu – Vitamin D deficiency predisposes children to respiratory diseases. An intervention study conducted showed that vitamin D reduces the incidence of respiratory infections in children.
2) Muscle Weakness – According to Michael F. Holick, a leading vitamin D expert, muscle weakness is usually caused by vitamin D deficiency because for skeletal muscles to function properly, their vitamin D receptors must be sustained by vitamin D.
3) Psoriasis – In a study published by the UK PubMed central, it was discovered that synthetic vitamin D analogues were found useful in the treatment of psoriasis.
4) Chronic Kidney Disease – According to Holick, patients with advanced chronic kidney diseases (especially those requiring dialysis) are unable to make the active form of vitamin D. These individuals need to take 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 or one of its calcemic analogues to support calcium metabolism, decrease the risk of renal bone disease and regulate parathyroid hormone levels.
5) Diabetes – A study conducted in Finland in which 10,366 children were given 2000 international units (IU)/day of vitamin D3 per day during their first day of life. The children were monitored for 31 years and in all of them, the risk of type 1 diabetes was reduced by 80 percent.
6) Asthma – Vitamin D may reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Research conducted in Japan revealed that asthma attacks in school children were significantly lowered in those subjects taking a daily vitamin D supplement of 1200 IU a day.
7) Periodontal disease – Those suffering from this chronic gum disease that causes swelling and bleeding gums should consider raising their vitamin D levels to produce defensins and cathelicidin, compounds that contain microbial properties and lower the number of bacteria in the mouth.
8) Cardiovascular disease – Congestive heart failure is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Research conducted at Harvard University among nurses found that women with low vitamin D levels had a 67 percent increased risk of developing hypertension.
9) Schizophrenia and Depression – These disorders have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. In a study, it was discovered that maintaining sufficient vitamin D among pregnant women and during childhood was necessary to satisfy the vitamin D receptor in the brain integral for brain development and mental function in later life.
10) Cancer – Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC discovered a connection between high vitamin D intake and reduced risk of breast cancer. These findings revealed that increased doses of the sunshine vitamin were linked to a 75 percent reduction in overall cancer growth and 50 percent reduction in tumor cases among those already having the disease. Of interest was the capacity of vitamin supplementation to help control the development and growth of breast cancer especially estrogen-sensitive breast cancer.
Prevention is Proactive – A proactive approach to prevention can assist in the avoidance of the many chronic diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency.
8 Common Diseases Linked to Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D foods: Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Egg yolks, Swiss Cheese, Liver, Sun grown mushrooms and sunshine!
Is Vitamin D an anti-cancer agent?
Connections between vitamin D and reducing cancer are being discovered more and more every year. These connections are particularly strong for colon cancer, breast cancer and leukemia.
As researchers found earlier this year, “vitamin D participates in cell growth regulation, apoptosis and cell differentiation. In addition, it has been implicated in the suppression of cancer cell invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis.” Their studies also showed that taking vitamin D can slow down the cMYC function, which means that it may prevent premalignant cells from turning malignant.
Sun avoidance and lack of fatty fish and/or supplements has made vitamin D deficiency common in North America and in many countries worldwide.
Researchers at Montreal’s McGill University have discovered another reason why vitamin D appears to exert cancer-preventive and cancer-curbing effects.
A team led by McGill professors John White and David Goltzman discovered that vitamin D acts in several ways to inhibit the production and function of a key protein called cMYC.
They just published their findings in the latest edition of the prestigious U.S. journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“We discovered that vitamin D controls both the rate of production and the degradation of cMYC. More importantly, we found that vitamin D strongly stimulates the production of a natural antagonist of cMYC called MXD1, essentially shutting down cMYC function”.
To get your daily dose of vitamin D it is recommended to do the following:
Eat Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
Take Vitamin D supplements
Get daily exposure to sun (about 1o minutes). Do not forget wearing a sunscreen.
Note: Make sure you get your vitamin D supplements from a reputable source.