Benefits of Vitamin D
There is a vast body of science showing the many health benefits of vitamin D. You may be surprised to learn the important role that vitamin D plays in your health.
What is Vitamin D For?
Vitamin D Maintains Your Calcium Balance
Maintenance of blood calcium levels within a narrow range is vital for normal functioning of the nervous system, as well as for bone growth, and maintenance of bone density. Vitamin D is essential for the efficient utilization of calcium by the body.
Vitamin D Aids Your Cell Differentiation
Cellular differentiation results in the specialization of cells for specific functions in your body. In general, differentiation of cells leads to a decrease in proliferation. While cellular proliferation is essential for growth and wound healing, uncontrolled proliferation of cells with certain mutations may lead to diseases like cancer. The active form of vitamin D, inhibits proliferation and stimulates the differentiation of cells.
Vitamin D Boosts Your Immune System
Active vitamin D is a very potent immune system modulator. There is plenty of scientific evidence that vitamin D has several different effects on immune system function that may enhance your immunity and inhibit the development of autoimmunity. Dr John Cannell and Dr Ellie Campbell both have reported Vitamin D’s excellent ability to prevent influenza virus infection.
The active form of vitamin D plays a role in insulin secretion under conditions of increased insulin demand. Limited data in humans suggests that insufficient vitamin D levels may have an adverse effect on insulin secretion and glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetes.
If Vitamin D is low thyroid receptor function will also be low and thus you can suffer from hypothyroid symptoms even though your thyroid hormone levels are adequate.
Testing Vitamin D Levels
The form of vitamin D tested for should be 25 Hydroxy-Vitamin D and must be performed using the DiaSorin method. Check with you pathology lab to ensure they use this gold standard method to determine levels.
The normal range of 25 Hydroxy Vit D is 50 to 140 nmol/L however if you wish to obtain optimal levels for peak performance then you should aim for 115 to 128nmol/L.
Dr. Michael Hollick is one of the top vitamin D researchers in the world and he has been advocating higher reference ranges, though not as high as the ones suggested here. (Holick MF. Calcium and Vitamin D. Diagnostics and Therapeutics. Clin Lab Med. 2000 Sep;20(3):569-90).
New Research by Dr Garland et al published in Anticaner Research Journal has also described the average dose required to achieve 100nmol/L of vitamin D is around 9600IU daily and in some cases could be as high as 50,000iu daily. They also indicated it was very well tollerated. View the research papaer here.
Vitamin D3 Supplements
It is not always effective and/or practical to get your vitamin D from sunshine and studies show that during summer months over 50% of the population are still Vit D deficient which increases to 76% during winter. Some believe that if you bathe within 24 hours after sun exposure you actually wash the Vit D out of your skin negating any benefit. Contrary to popular belief research is telling us it is quite difficult to get adequate amounts from the sun and from your diet and so for many people a vitamin D supplement is a practical way to ensure adequate levels of this important protector are always available in your bloodstream.
Some supplements use synthetic vitamin D2 which has been found to be less effective. A much better form is natural vitamin D3 (cholcalciferol) which stays in your system longer and with more effect. Vitamin D3 ideally should be taken as a oil filled capsule which provides far better absorption. In many cases powder filled capsules or tablets are unable to raise serum Vitamin D levels significantly thus oiled filled capsules are recommended.
More Vitamin D May Be Better?
Recent science is showing that doses above these may provide better health. For example, professor Robert Heaney has reported in April 2006 in the Journal of Nutrition his study showing an additional 2600 IU/day of oral vitamin D3 should be given to older women.
Vieth reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition a recommendation of 4000 IU per day for adults. He also showed that levels of 10,000 IU per day were normal from body exposure to the sun and the only published vitamin D toxicity was at levels exceeding 40,000 IU/day.
It seems more studies are warranted on proper vitamin D doses. Given that vitamin D3 is safe at very high levels and may provide extraordinary benefits with no known risk, we recommend individuals get reasonable sun exposure, eat foods rich in vitamin D, and supplement with 5000IU Vitamin D3 in an oil based capsule. Follow up blood tests will then determine if any dosage adjustments are required.
Vitamin D Toxicity
It is very rare to have a vitamin D overdose. Vitamin D toxicity induces abnormally high serum calcium levels (hypercalcemia), which could result in bone loss, kidney stones, and calcification of organs like the heart and kidneys if untreated over a long period of time.
When the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine established the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin D, published studies that adequately documented the lowest intake levels of vitamin D that induced hypercalcemia were very limited. Because the consequences of hypercalcemia are severe, the Food and Nutrition Board established a very conservative UL of 2,000 IU/day (50 mcg/day) for children and adults.
Research published since 1997 suggests that this level for adults is overly conservative and that vitamin D toxicity is very unlikely in healthy people at intake levels lower than 10,000 IU/day.
Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of hypercalcemia in response to vitamin D, including primary hyperparathyroidism, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, and lymphoma. People with these conditions may develop hypercalcemia in response to any increase in vitamin D nutrition and should consult a qualified health care provider regarding any increase in vitamin D intake.
Vitamin D Drug Interactions
The following medications increase the metabolism of vitamin D and may decrease serum D levels:
Phenytoin (Dilantin), fosphenytoin (Cerebyx), phenobarbital (Luminal), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and rifampin (Rimactane).
The following medications should not be taken at the same time as vitamin D because they can decrease the intestinal absorption of vitamin D: Cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), orlistat (Xenical), mineral oil, and the fat substitute Olestra. The oral anti-fungal medication, ketoconazole, inhibits the 25(OH)D3-1-hydroxylase enzyme and has been found to reduce serum levels of 1,25(OH)D in healthy men . The induction of hypercalcemia by toxic levels of vitamin D may precipitate cardiac arrhythmia in patients on digitalis (Digoxin).
Energetics of low Vitamin D
Low vitamin D is energetically a reflection that one is not dealing with their Karma.