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Christine Dreher, Nutritionist, Herbalist, and author of
 "The Cleanse Cookbook"

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You Don’t Want to be “D-ficient”
When it Comes to Vitamin D
By Garden of Health Writers

 

Coming up short on this valuable vitamin could affect your health—including the immune system, cells, brain and heart.

Not getting enough of a good thing? If you’re one of the estimated one billion people on this earth who are vitamin D deficient, then you’re probably not. Most of us know that vitamin D is important for bone health, but this essential nutrient has other benefits, too. Over 900 genes and several areas in the body—the brain, heart, blood vessels, muscles and intestines—have vitamin D receptors, or proteins that bind to vitamin D. Studies show positive health effects happen when vitamin D binds to these receptors. Perhaps that’s why research indicates vitamin D’s role in immune, cellular, brain and cardiovascular health.

Let’s take a closer look at what the research is saying:

Immune Support - Vitamin D is a powerful immune system supporter and inhibits negative autoimmune responses by modulating T-cell responses. When vitamin D is in short supply, Th1 cells can attack the body instead of fighting off unwanted invaders.

Cell Proliferation and Differentiation - When certain cells divide rapidly, or proliferate, the impact on your health can be devastating. Cell differentiation, however, can decrease unwanted proliferations. Vitamin D inhibits unwanted proliferation and stimulates healthy cell differentiation. Lung, skin, colon, bone and breast sites have been studied for vitamin D’s positive effects on cell differentiation and proliferation, causing them to act as normal, mature cells. Dr. Cedric Garland, a 20-year veteran vitamin D researcher, believes vitamin D can prevent unwanted cell proliferation by 75% with optimal vitamin D blood levels.

Brain Health - Scientists at the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland in Oakland, California, say the brain has a wide distribution of vitamin D receptors wherein vitamin D directly and positively affects cognitive function. Vitamin D supports brain health, while a deficiency can result in brain dysfunction.

Cardiovascular Health - Vitamin D may play a role in cardiovascular health since low blood levels of vitamin D can increase coronary artery calcification. Vitamin D deficiencies can also elevate risk of stroke and congestive heart failure, while optimal vitamin D levels support normal levels of inflammation— important for cardiovascular health. The key for these benefits is to get enough vitamin D, but many people are deficient.

Who’s at Risk?

Those at risk for a vitamin D deficiency include breastfed infants, dark-skinned individuals, those with fat mal-absorption challenges, and the obese. People aged 50 and up are at risk, too. Why? As people age, the skin can’t synthesize vitamin D as efficiently as it once did.

Those with limited sun exposure can fall short on vitamin D, too. People who work inside, homebound individuals, those avoiding the sun due to skin cancer concerns and those living in northern latitudes—basically those who reside north of an imaginary line that runs from the northern border of California all the way to Boston—are particularly at risk.

How Much Is Enough?

How much vitamin D is enough? That’s a good question that doesn’t have an open-and-shut answer. Most experts agree, however, that we need to boost our vitamin D intake. Our nation’s leading pediatrician group, the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends children from birth to their teen years increase vitamin D intakes to 400 IU daily—twice as much as the 200IU recommended in 2003. Millions of children should take daily vitamin D supplements to meet the requirements, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Adults aged 51 to 70 are recommended to get 400 IU daily, while those 71 and up should get 600IU daily. The Institute of Medicine, the government advisory group setting these dietary guidelines, may change recommendations due to emerging research indicating we could require more. For example, in March 2007, researchers published an editorial indicating that vitamin D intakes of 400 IU per day only slightly increased overall vitamin D status and that daily intakes of 1,700 IU may be necessary. Many experts recommend between 800 to 1,000 IU for adults, but some believe 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily will provide maximum benefits. More studies need to be done, but it’s looking like we need to get much more of a good thing—vitamin D.

Keep Your Clothes On

Vitamin D has two forms especially important to human health: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is made in plants and vitamin D3—a preferred form of vitamin D—is made when cholesterol in our skin cells reacts with sunlight. A mere 15-20 minutes of sunshine each day helps your body manufacture 10,000 to 15,000iu of vitamin D3—making sunshine a brilliant source of vitamin D. The trouble is that you’d have to be totally nude to reap all the benefits of that sunshine, so you should consider alternate sources of vitamin D3 through foods or supplements. Cod liver oil, pink salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are excellent vitamin D-packed foods.

Supplementing with Vitamin D

Typically found in two forms, D2 and D3 both have been shown to be effective in clinical studies to raising vitamin D levels in the blood. However, vitamin D3 is preferred since it’s metabolized much better in the body and is in the form that comes from the most natural sources possible—the sun and our food.

Vitamin Code RAW Vitamin D3 by Garden of Life is different from any other vitamin D nutritional supplement available today. Vitamin Code RAW D3 is the only RAW, vegetarian, whole food vitamin D3 formulated with RAW Food-Created Nutrients. In following with the Vitamin Code philosophy, RAW Vitamin D3 is a whole food vitamin D complex that is gluten- and dairy-free with no soy allergens, binders or fillers, and is cultivated with live probiotics, antioxidants, enzymes and nutrient-specific peptides.

Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin D3’s RAW Food-Created Nutrients provide targeted delivery and natural recognition of nutrients by your body to support:

  • Healthy Bones & Joints
  • Healthy Colon & Digestion
  • Memory & Concentration
  • Breast & Prostate Health
  • Proper Cell Replication
  • Immune System

For more information on the Vitamin Code Raw D3, click here.

 

Note: The content provided in this article is intended for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. You are encouraged to consult with your medical health care provider regarding any health concern or health-related condition you may have.

The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Suggestions and ideas presented in this document are for information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice, meant for diagnosing illness, or for prescriptive purposes. Readers are encouraged to consult their health care provider before beginning any cleanse, diet, detoxification program, or any supplement regimen. The information in this document is not to be used to replace the services or instructions of a physician or qualified health care practitioner.

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The statements contained on these pages have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information conained here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Suggestions and ideas presented in this document are for information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice, meant for diagnosing illness, or for prescriptive purposes. Readers are encouraged to consult their health care provider before beginning any cleanse, diet, detoxification program, or any supplement regimen. The information in this document is not to be used to replace the services or instructions of a physician or qualified health care practitioner.
 

 

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