Knowing your Vitamin D levels may save your life ~ from Oprah.com

This is a great article from O, The Oprah Magazine | October 20, 2010!
My family and I have  personally been taking  5000 IU of Vitamin D-3 daily ever since the first time I read an article in the Reader’s Digest about it’s importance in preventing disease and keeping us healthy!  In the summer time when we are outside a lot,  we try to get a little sunshine without sunscreen on (early or late day to avoid burns) and switch to 2000 IU/day or cut back our 5000 IU doses to a few times a week.  ~Lisa

Knowing Your Vitamin D Levels Might Save Your Life

By Nancy Kalish

Vitamin D Sunglasses
More and more studies are revealing the benefits of having plenty of D—and the dangers of having too little. Use this comprehensive guide to make sure you’re getting the amounts you need.

For decades vitamin D’s claim to fame was its role as calcium’s trusty escort, helping our bones absorb the essential mineral. But a recent flood of research is revealing that D does much more: “There is a vitamin D receptor on every one of our cells,” says Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, author of The Vitamin D Solution. “And those receptors are there for a reason.” Actually, many reasons—all of our bodily functions seem to rely on the nutrient, and studies show that it’s key to helping prevent everything from migraines to cancer.

The trouble is, most of us—53 percent of women, 41 percent of men, and 61 percent of kids—have insufficient levels. Though our bodies naturally produce the vitamin from the sun’s UV-B rays, these days we don’t absorb nearly enough sunlight to manufacture an adequate amount—and during winter, most of the country gets so little sun, doing so is impossible. But don’t sweat it: With a few easy moves, you can boost your D levels. We’ve gathered the latest info on the vitamin everyone’s suddenly talking about.

High levels are linked to…

Greater resistance to viruses
During a recent study, researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine discovered that people with high levels of vitamin D got sick about half as often as people with low levels. And when they did fall ill, they recovered in fewer days. The reason: Vitamin D instructs your white blood cells to manufacture a protein that kills infections.

Less cancer
Specifically, a 30 to 50 percent lower chance of breast cancer, and a 50 percent lower chance of colon cancer. D regulates some of the genes responsible for cellular growth and survival, says Holick, and it does its job cleverly: “It helps shut down any out-of-control growth to prevent malignancy. If that doesn’t work, it will help kill the cell. And if a tumor grows anyway, it will work to cut off blood supply.”

Higher cancer survival rate
At the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, researchers found that colon cancer patients with high levels of D had a 39 percent lower chance of dying from the disease. And this might actually apply to all cancers, says Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Reduced risk of Parkinson’s
Researchers believe the correlation, which Archives of Neurology reported in July, may have to do with D’s protective effect on the brain: It regulates calcium levels, enhances the conduction of electricity through neurons, and detoxifies cells, among other handy functions.

Low levels are linked to…

Heart disease
People with insufficient D levels have an 80 percent greater risk of narrowing of the arteries, according to a long-term study at Johns Hopkins. This might have to do with D’s role in regulating more than 200 genes and controlling inflammation, and its possible involvement in modulating blood pressure.

Diabetes
Since D stimulates insulin production, it’s no surprise that too little is associated with diabetes. Research has also shown that kids who are deficient in D have a 200 percent greater chance of developing type 1.

Chronic pain
A 2008 study showed that more than 25 percent of chronic pain patients have low D levels, which could be because D helps control neuromuscular function. And a 2010 study correlated low levels of the vitamin with migraines and headaches. A dearth of D may prevent blood vessels from constricting and dilating properly, which can lead to throbbing pain.

Depression
D may help stimulate serotonin production, which could explain why people who don’t get enough are more susceptible to the blues.

Higher risk of death
After analyzing D levels of more than 13,000 people, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that those with the lowest levels had a 26 percent greater chance of dying—from any cause.

Continue Reading:

5 things that increase your risk of vitamin D deficiency

Make sure you are getting enough vitamin D – recommended dosages

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About Lisa Maghrak

Lisa Maghrak is an avid researcher in the area of Health and Wellness. She is especially interested in prevention and educating people on how their everyday choices matter and can make a huge difference in their quality of life. Lisa is also very passionate about educating parents so they can in turn teach their children ~ giving them the advantage of an early start towards a healthy lifestyle.

View all posts by Lisa Maghrak

3 Responses to “Knowing your Vitamin D levels may save your life ~ from Oprah.com”

  1. Yuli Coffey Says:

    Looking for more information on this topic.

    [Reply]

  2. Bosal Exhaust Says:

    Hey this post is a little interesting. Can you tell me any related articles?

    [Reply]

  3. Isabella Petrie Says:

    As a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, we knew about the link between Vitamin D and degenerative diseases 10 years ago. It’s great that most doctors are now testing for deficiency. Even if you get enough sun, however, you may not be able to process the Vitamin D to its active form. With bodies, it’s often not that simple.

    [Reply]

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