By Sadie Altringer
Vitamin D is one of the most crucial vitamins for our bodies. It helps to control levels of phosphate and calcium in the body. If we become deficient in these minerals, the body starts extracting the minerals from the bones, thus leading to softening or weakening of the bones. At least 1,000 human genes are direct targets of vitamin D. Depending on which genes are being regulated, it can play a role in prevention of kidney disease, cancer, depression, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, cardiovascular problems, and several other diseases. Vitamin D is also one of the main controllers of the influenza epidemic, it acts as an anti biotic vitamin.
It is easy for our bodies to become deficient in Vitamin D. Disorders that reduce the digestion of fat and/or milk products make the vitamin less soluble. Rickets is a metabolic condition caused by Vitamin D deficiency. Very few Americans have adequate levels of Vitamin D, especially those who live in colder climates.
We can get proper levels of Vitamin D into our systems by exposure to sunlight, diet, and/or supplementation. This vitamin is produced by our bodies when the skin is exposed to sunlight. To get the body to produce sufficient levels of Vitamin D, you should get at least 15 minutes of sun exposure at a frequency of 3 times a week. You can also get this vitamin from certain foods such as mushrooms, cereals, egg yolks, milk, and bread.
Supplementation of Vitamin D is another way to get sufficient levels. The following are guidelines for supplementation:
- Pregnant = 5, 000 units vitamin D per day
- Vitamin d3 or cholecalciferol
- Adults = 5, 000 units per day unless you will be out in the sun
- Children = 1,000 units per 25 pounds body weight
(i.e. a 80 pound child would take 3,000 units per day)
Recent research proves the following:
- Vitamin D is critical component of decreasing likelihood of having osteonecrosis or osteoporosis.
- Women with highest levels of Vit D much less likely to get ovarian cancer
- Vitamin D levels were measured in patients who were diagnosed with colon cancer. Patients who were given Vitamin D at the time of their diagnosis had improved longevity.
- When 1100 units of Vitamin D were given to 10 year old to help prevent the flu, it was found that it reduced risk of influenza compared to placebo
Everyone should be checked for Vitamin D deficiency. Almost 90% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D! So, get your Vitamin D checked! You can go see your MD or order an in-home test that you can send in. Go to Vitamin D council.org for information on ordering in-home kits.