Vitamin D is called the “sunshine” vitamin. This most unique vitamin is formed in our body when the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit our skin. As the days get shorter in the winter time, taking a vitamin D supplement is even more important than ever. And recent studies show that you may need more of this beneficial vitamin than mainstream sources, like the government, would have you believe.
Today I am going to tell you about the many uses your body has for vitamin D. Some of them may even surprise you. There are a few dietary sources-I’ll tell you what they are. But in order to get adequate amounts, I encourage you to take a supplement. Toward the end of this report I’ll tell you how much you should take.
Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. But production of vitamin D depends on the season, where you live and time of day. Sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 or greater will block UV rays that produce vitamin D.
You will not be able to get enough vitamin D from sunlight during late autumn through winter. Especially if you live in the upper half of the United States.
A major purpose of vitamin D is to maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. And it is essential for strong, healthy bones and teeth. Without proper levels of vitamin D, your bones become thin and brittle. Not having enough vitamin D may play a big role in causing the bone-wasting disease osteoporosis. Studies have shown that taking a vitamin D supplement keeps your bones strong. It also prevents bone loss. And it can give you the following benefits:
- Reduced risk of breaking a bone in any part of the body by 33% and
- Reduced risk of a breaking a hip by a whopping 69%
- Reduced risk of having constant bone pain-a condition called osteomalacia
Studies show that a proper level of vitamin D prevents muscle weakness and pain. It can also improve coordination. It helps prevent falling accidents, which can cause you to break a bone. A recent study found that supplementing with calcium and vitamin D reduced falls by 49%.
Normal insulin levels depend on vitamin D. Studies show that low levels of vitamin D may result in both insulin resistance and reduced insulin secretion. A recent study reported by the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that low blood levels of vitamin D is associated with a higher level of insulin resistance and a weaker functioning pancreas.
A new study by Harvard University shows that supplementing with vitamin D gives protection from MS. They found that taking at least 400 IU a day cut the risk by 40%. And they found that getting vitamin D from food has no protective effect.
Research studies have shown links between low blood levels of vitamin D and ulcerative colitis and Chrohn’s disease. And a vitamin D supplement relieves the symptoms of these diseases.
Research indicates that an adequate blood level of vitamin D reduces the risk of colon cancer by 50%. The prostate has vitamin D receptors as well.
As noted above, muscles are strengthened by vitamin D. And your heart is a muscle, too. New research indicates that a low level of vitamin D may contribute to heart failure.
An article published in a recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism reports that supplementing with at least 400 IU a day of vitamin D reduces the risk of RA by 34%.
An experiment was conducted on patients with SAD. They were given either full spectrum light or a vitamin D supplement. Psychological testing showed the group who took the supplement improved more than the group that was given light. And the group who took the supplement had an increased level of vitamin D that was more than double that of the group who only had the light for treatment.
As you can see, vitamin D provides much more than just healthy bones. It’s a pretty impressive list, isn’t it? So now you’re probably wondering…
The U.S. RDA for vitamin D is 400 IU a day. But the real need for vitamin D has been extensively studied. The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers found that “the beneficial amount is more likely 800-1,000 IU a day.” This is still well under the tolerable upper limit of 2,000 IU a day set by the Institute of Medicine. Research indicates that the actual tolerable upper limit is much higher, however. But in any case, taking 800-1,000 IU a day is completely safe. And this is what I recommend.
|Food||Serving||Vitamin D IU’s|
|Cod Liver Oil||1 Tablespoon||1,360|
|Salmon, cooked||3-1/2 ounces||360|
|Mackerel, cooked||3-1/2 ounces||345|
|Tuna fish, canned in oil||3 ounces||200|
|Sardines, canned in oil||1-3/4 ounces||250|
|Orange juice, fortified||8 ounces||100|
|Milk, nonfat, reduced fat and whole, fortified||1 cup||98|
|Cereal, fortified||¾ to 1 cup||40|
|Egg (vitamin D is found in egg yolks)||1 egg||20|
|Liver, beef, cooked||3-1/2 ounces||15|
|Cheese, Swiss||1 ounce||12|
The research is clear. Vitamin D can have measurable, highly beneficial effects on our health. On both the body and the mind. And the answer to getting enough of this valuable nutrient is…if we can’t go out into the light, then we have to bring the light in to us. To Your Good Health,
Al Sears MD