Benefits of Vitamin D

Natural vitamin D is elusive. This necessary nutrient is naturally found in just a handful of foods, but it can be found as an additive in many processed and packaged foods. Vitamin D is also available in supplement form. Fortunately, the average healthy person gets enough vitamin D from sun exposure and food, so deficiencies among healthy adults is uncommon.

According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM), approximately 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. Moderate use of commercial tanning beds that emit two to six percent UVB radiation is also effective. Individuals with limited sun exposure need to include good sources of vitamin D in their diet or take a supplement to achieve recommended levels of intake.

The best food sources of vitamin D are the flesh of fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil are also excellent sources. For example, one tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 1,360 IU (international units) of vitamin D. This is 340 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA). Salmon, mackerel and tuna have 39-112 percent of the RDA. Small amounts of vitamin D can be found naturally in mushrooms, beef liver, egg yolks, and cheese. They contain anywhere from 2-15 percent of the RDA.

Fortified foods contain vitamin D as well. Fortified milk, orange juice, yogurt, breakfast cereals, margarine, and soymilk contain anywhere from 10 to 31 percent of the RDA. For example, fortified cereal contains 10 percent of the RDA and soymilk contains 30 percent. Fortified milk averages 29 to 31 percent.

The RDA for vitamin D is 400 IU for adults and children age 4 and older. For seniors, the RDA is between 400-600 IU. However, research shows that higher daily doses of 700-800 IU may reduce the risk of fracture in adults aged 60 and older by 25 percent. A reduced risk of fracture is just one benefit of vitamin D. Other benefits include:

-Helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus (vitamin D’s major biological function)
-Aids in the absorption of calcium
-Protects against osteoporosis and osteomalacia (hardens bones and teeth)
-Protects against hypertension (high blood pressure)
-Protects against cancer
-Protects against several autoimmune diseases
-Protects against rickets in children

Sun exposure and consumption through major and fortified food sources should provide enough vitamin D, so supplements are not usually necessary for healthy adults. However, vitamin D deficiency is possible, especially in the elderly population, obese people, exclusively breastfed babies, individuals with fat malabsorption syndromes, individual’s with inflammatory bowel disease, and individuals who have limited sun exposure. In these cases, a supplement may be necessary.

A physician will determine the amount needed to correct vitamin D deficiency, but the tolerable upper intake levels (ULs) are:

-0 to 6 months: 1,000 IU (25 mcg)
-7 to 12 months: 1,500 IU (38 mcg)
-1 to 3 years: 2,500 IU (63 mcg)
-4 to 8 years: 3,000 IU (75 mcg)
-9 years and older: 4,000 IU (100 mcg)
-Pregnant or lactating: 4,000 IU (100 mcg)

When vitamin D deficiency occurs, symptoms may or may not be present until disease has developed. If symptoms are present, they may include:

-Bone pain
-Delayed tooth formation
-Dental deformities
-Loss of height
-Muscle cramps
-Poor growth in children
-Poor posture
-Spine and other bone deformities
-Tingling
-Weakness

While the consuming the right amount of vitamin D has many benefits, over consumption can be dangerous. Taking too much vitamin D can cause nausea, weight loss, and irritability. Severe side effects include mental and physical growth retardation, movement of calcium from bones into soft tissues, and kidney damage.

For more information about vitamin D, visit the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health at http://ods.od.nih.gov/.

Vitamin D anticancer research project

Vitamin D3, which is technically a prehormone, has a whole host of benefits. This invaluable substance has a role in preventing or treating many diseases including cancer. Below you’ll find a letter I received as being a participant in a Vitamin D study, the results of which were published in the International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment

GrassrootsHealth New Research Publication in the Anticancer Research Journal, 2/21/2011
Dear Michael,

Congratulations and thanks to absolutely everyone who has participated in and supported this project! According to one of our panel members, Dr. Anthony Norman:

“This paper provides a long awaited insight into a dose-response relationship between orally administered vitamin D3 and the resulting levels of serum 25(OH)D in over 3600 citizens. The results will allow a new definition of high vitamin D dose safety and reduce concerns about toxicity. This is a landmark contribution in the vitamin D nutrition field!”
Anthony Norman
Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences, Emeritus
University of California Riverside

Key findings:

There were 3667 people’s first test data reported on

No suggestions of toxicity were reported even up to intakes as high as 40,000 IU/day (not a recommended amount, however)

It’s going to take about 9600 IU/day to get 97.5% (almost everyone) to the 40 ng/ml level. Individual variations however range from 0 to over 50,000 IU/day!

Testing is necessary to determine what the starting serum level is and how to adjust intake

It took 3 tests (1 year) to determine the optimal dose for each individual

The NEW rule of thumb for dosing will be changed. We’ll publish a chart for all very shortly. Currently, it is stated that you can increase the serum level by 10 ng/ml with 1000 IU/day. Per our research, this is true only when starting at about 10 ng/ml. If you want to go from 50 to 60 ng/ml, it will take an additional 2000 IU/day (i.e., the rise is only 5 ng/ml for each 1000 IU/day).

Please visit our website, GrassrootsHealth and listen to the interviews with the study’s authors, Dr. Cedric Garland and Dr. Robert Heaney. They both speak to the significance to public health of this study.

Another key item that I am very aware of is the public’s readiness to ‘take charge’ of their own health. With this view and the information to make it happen, we are bound to see some very exciting things with own health!

The research article is ‘open access’ so that everyone can download and read it! Please do so here: GrassrootsHealth Research Article

Again, very, very many thanks to all of you for your participation and support. You are helping change the face of public health! We CAN move to a much more ‘preventive’ model of healthcare. Please let me know at any time how we can best help.

We do need your ongoing financial support as well, to keep ‘spreading the word’. Please consider a donation to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency for our future health.

Onwards!

Carole Baggerly

Director, GrassrootsHealth
carole@grassrootshealth.org

Vitamin D pumps you up

Researchers observed participants who were 60 years or older while supplementing them with Calcium and vitamin D3. For the first 2 months participants took 150,000IU/month, followed by 90,000 IU/month for the next 4 months. They then compared them to a control group who only took calcium.

The participants who took the vitamin D had 16.4% improvement in strength of the muscles of the hips and knees. This increase took place without an exercise plan.
J Intern Med,2009;266(3):248-57

Natural Way to Health, Jan 2010,(3)1

Because we produce vitamin D, it’s not a vitamin at all. Vitamin D is actually a pre-hormone that’s arguably the most important substance in our bodies, having an untold number of functions. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people have low or nonexistent levels and are not reaping the benefits of the sunshine vitamin.

Daily consumption for optimum health

As a follow-up to a previous article “Everything in moderation, right?“, I decided to educate my readers on substances so vital to there health daily consumption is essential. Below is a portion of “Daily Consumption“.

Coconut oil

Taken from the fruit portion of the seed off the coconut palm tree, coconut oil is one the most beneficial foods you can consume. In tropical regions where coconut oil or fat is a large portion of their caloric intake, people are much healthier and experience a much lower incidence of the modern diseases we do in the U.S. [17, 18]

There is an array of positive research published in the last few years showing the significance of coconut oil. [19] Coconut oil is classified as a “functional food” because of its health benefits that go far beyond its nutritional content. In fact, the coconut palm is so highly valued by Pacific Islanders as a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” [20]

Coconut oil is the most saturated of all fats. Saturated fat has three subcategories: short chain, medium chain and long chain. Coconut oil contains approximately 65% medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). Although recognized for its health benefits many centuries ago, it wasn’t until 40 years ago that modern medicine found the source to be MCFA. Remarkably, mother’s milk contains the same healing powers of coconut oil. [21]

The saturated medium chain lipid lauric acid, which comprises more than 50 percent of coconut oil, is the anti-bacterial, anti-viral fatty acid found in mother’s milk. [22] The body converts lauric acid into the fatty acid derivative monolaurin, which is the substance that protects adults as well as infants from viral, bacterial or protozoal infections. This was recognized and reported as early as 1966. [23]

Sources located here

Creatine, the oldest health care in the world, more Vitamin D, 4 things for your health

I this installment of Did you know… I cover an array of topics beginning with the following:

Did you know…

…creatine is perhaps the most researched supplement on the planet? Yet new data on the benefits of supplementing with this incredible substance is still mounting. Canadian researchers compared the changes in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) amounts in two groups of subjects. All the subjects performed at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity three to five times per week for eight weeks. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one supplementing with creatine, the other, an isocaloric placeo. Muscle biopsies were taken before and after the training period and analyzed for IGF-1 content. The creatine group had a 24% higher level of IGF-1. The creatine group also had a 23% higher increase in type II muscle fibers. These findings were independent of dietary guidelines. (Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2008; 18(4))

What does this mean for the average Joe? It means if you supplement with creatine, you?ll not only get the well known ?volumizing? effect, but more muscle fibers.

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