What vitamin is almost entirely absent from our food supply? What vitamin do we need up to twenty-five times more of than the government recommends for us to be healthy? What vitamin is the hidden cause of so much suffering that is very easy to treat? If you guessed vitamin D, you’re correct”. Dr. Mark Hyman.
Where does it come from? Sun, food, and supplements! Most people obtain their Vitamin D from sun exposure. The sun is the most effective way to receive adequate amounts of vitamin D. There are very few naturally occurring foods that contain vitamin D but you can get some levels of Vitamin D from the food you eat. There isn’t enough Vitamin D present in foods to supply you with the levels you need. However small amounts are present in fish liver oils, cheese, beef liver and egg yolks. Also, in the U.S. there are foods that are fortified with Vitamin D such as milk, breakfast cereals, some orange juices, yogurts and margarine. The US regulates which products can be fortified with Vitamin D as same as the amounts of Vitamin D that are in addition to these food products. Then, as a 3rd source of Vitamin D, there are Vitamin D supplements. Make sure when picking a Vitamin D supplement that it takes the form of Vitamin D3 because that is the naturally occurring form. Do not a use a synthetic form of Vitamin D as it isn’t proved to be as effective.
Were you aware of that?
It is that time of the year, when for a few months most of us have spent the vast majority of our time in doors, and when we have gone out, there is precious little sun, and if there’s any it is too cold to expose more than a few square centimetres of our faces to it. February is a time when traditionally the food stored up for surviving the winter, would be getting low and possibly rotten, so in our time of great abundance we mustn’t bemoan our lot. However, with all the benefits and wonders of our era there are bound to be a few unforeseen down sides, and maybe our indoor life style and reduced passion for fatty fish has lead to part of this problem we seem to be facing with Vitamin D.
Investigating More About Vitamin Deficiency
Most of us know that we have to go in the sun once in a while. Many of us love to do so. Part of that health benefit is the capacity of the sun on our skin to be turned into this unusual vitamin, vitamin D. 20-30 minutes of direct sunshine a day, five days a week, is required to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D. Any sun cream over factor eight blocks the ultra violet light the body needs to create vitamin D. But increasingly the more that is known about this unusual vitamin the more it seems that a lot of us may be getting rather less than our optimum amount. Try this little quiz to understand how you may be doing.
This vitamin is also called the sunshine vitamin because just ten minutes a day in the sun can give your body the vitamin D it needs. You can also get the vitamin from foods such as egg, fish and dairy.
I do not eat small, fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, or sardines (the major source of dietary vitamin D).
According to Dr. Mark Hyman (click here for more …). Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, author of the excellent ‘Ultra-Mind Solution’ (I will be reviewing this book in a future month) If you scored 9 and above you many have a severely low level of vitamin D.
Earlier last month, the principal medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, wrote to health professionals advising them to consider vitamin D supplementation for certain at risk groups, including pregnant mothers.
Vitamin D is a generic term of cholesterol-like fat soluble substances called secosteroids, unlike other vitamins, it really also acts like a hormone. Many children who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or who were thought to have been abused by their parents have subsequently been demonstrated to have been suffering from congenital vitamin D deficiency leading to weak bones and even Rickets. (see BBC article) is especially important to realize for people with more pigment in their skin may be at added risk, as this is such as to make it even harder to get sufficient vitamin D from our low sun levels at this latitutude. However, even then it isn’t that simple. Hazel Nunn, of Cancer Research UK, (see BBC article) has reported on a study into melanoma and vitamin D levels in very fair skinned people, who it is thought may also not always be in a position to absorb adequate levels of Vitamin D, but who’re during the same time up to three times greater risk of getting malignant melanoma if they get too much sun on their skin.
University of Oxford professor, George Ebers, has said rates of multiple sclerosis are so dire in Scotland, where levels of vitamin D are the lower in the world, essential foodstuffs should be fortified with vitamin D as the link between MS and vitamin D levels are beginning to be more clearly understood.
Later he called saying,’ Your vitamin D level is perilously low. One of the last I’ve seen. You need to get on a supplement right away. ” Everything else was already in the normal range. Lin’s vitamin D level was 11 ng/ml, with normal being 30-150. He prescribed high potency, bioavailable Vitamin D3 5000 IU two times a day. He said Lin should notice a difference within a week. He was to return to recheck his vitamin D level in a month.
So not only can dark and very fair skinned people be at risk, but also surprisingly, exclusively breast fed infants, those with inflammatory bowel disease, the corpulent, young children, pregnant mothers, and the elderly.
Because of its wide variety of effects on our physiology research is increasingly seeing a wider role for vitamin D both in general health as well as some more serious chronic diseases. So vitamin D levels can effect cell differentiation and so your risk of some cancers, blood pressure control, immunity/autoimmunity, some migraine headaches, mood, depression, and insulin regulation as well as musculoskeletal function.
Vitamin D3 play a role in may things. It is essential for the advancement of calcium absorption. Vitamin D3, along with calcium is important for good bone health. This can prevent thin, brittle and deformed bones. Having sufficient Vitamin D levels prevents children from developing rickets, prevents adults from developing osteomalacia and prevents older adults from developing osteoporosis. It is thought that Vitamin D is combined with a reduced risk of cancer. There have been many studies done to substantiate this theory. The Canadian Cancer Society made a first every supplement recommendation for vitamin D. This was based on evidence on the relationship between vitamin D and reducing risk for colorectal, breast and prostate cancer. Its been shown that having a Vitamin D deficiency may affect the cardiovascular system. It was found by Harvard researchers that men with a Vitamin D deficiency were 142% more likely to suffer from a stroke than men with sufficient levels of vitamin D. It has also been show to stimulate the immune system, which protects you against the flu, colds and other respiratory infections. There has likewise been research that links Vitamin D deficiencies with type-2 diabetes. A study done in 2004 that was released in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that raising a persons blood levels of Vitamin D from 25 to 75 could improve insulin sensitivity by 60%. It even may affect your mental function as well as your mood. Some studies have demonstrated that having adequate levels of vitamin D improves your mood, reduces the risk for depression along with it slowing down the age-related losses of mental function. It has also been shown in 2 different studies that having a low blood level of Vitamin D is associated with increased mortality from all causes and mortality from heart disease. Studies have shown that persons with adequate levels of Vitamin D are less sensitive to the H1N1 flu virus. It has been show that Vitamin D increases production of antimicrobail agents in the body. These antimicrobials can fight H1Ni flu and other types of influenza by building ones immunity to the flu virus.
Vitamin D deficiency Serum circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH) D) level is the more reliable marker of vitamin D status. There is ongoing debate concerning the appropriate definitions of vitamin D deficiency and adequacy. Figures vary from country to country.
So while you may have heard it here first, expect to be hearing a great deal more about this extra ordinary vitamin over the next few months and years. If in doubt you probably should be supplementing your diet with some Vitamin D. However you can have a simple vitamin D test first to see what your levels are and be careful not to over do it, while it would be unusual, you can take too much. Want to know more, ask us at your next visit to Helix House.
Vitamin B-12 can be consulted in B complex vitamins, in multiple vitamins and in supplements with B-12 only.
As all thinking clinicians do after several years in practice, I have developed my own unique approach to helping my patients.
At Helix House I am privileged to live a dedicated group of specialists who, in their different ways, all share my passion for Integrated Medicine or whole-person medicine. And it is this, amongst other things. This makes Helix House a special place to come.