Vitamin D3

“If our whole population achieved a minimum level of 45 ng/ml, we would have 400,000 fewer premature deaths per year. There would be a reduction of cancer by 35 percent, type 2 diabetes by 33 percent and all causes of mortality by seven percent.” Dr Mark Hyman.

The health benefits of vitamin D therapy

The current recommendations are too low-  Maintaining adequate levels of D3 is essential for cancer prevention, heart problems, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and immune function disorders. Current recommendations put forth by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that sufficient levels of 20 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter) can be obtained by taking 600 IU of vitamin D3 for children and adults, and 800 IU for seniors, but according to many these recommendations are too low and will leave you vulnerable to a variety of diseases.  Most alternative health practitioners consider a body to be deficient if someone has a blood level below 45 ng/ml, and severely deficient if your level is below 25.  The average level for Caucasians in the United States measured 25 ng/ml, and 16 ng/ml for African Americans.

Results from a recent study– Dr. Mahtab Samimi reported at the annual congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology the results of a multi-center French study that involved 89 patients with histologically confirmed Merkel cell carcinoma which indicated that individuals with this rare and often aggressive neuroendocrine skin malignancy have an increased prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.   Moreover, the vitamin D-deficient subgroup had a greater mean tumor size at the time of diagnosis and also had sharply worse outcomes than their counterparts.   Fifty-eight of the 89 (65%) Merkel cell carcinoma patients were vitamin D deficient as defined by a serum level below 20 ng/ml.  Source: Oncology State

Vitamin D Council recommendations

Based on the body’s indicated daily vitamin D usage, the Vitamin D Council recommends the following amounts of supplemental vitamin D3 per day in the absence of proper sun exposure.

  • Healthy children under the age of 1 years –  1,000 IU.
  • Healthy children over the age of 1 years – 1,000 IU per every 25 lbs of body weight.
  • Healthy adults and adolescents – at least 5,000 IU.
  • Pregnant and lactating mothers – at least 6,000 IU.
  • Additionally, children and adults with chronic health conditions such as autism, MS, cancer, heart disease, or obesity may need as much as double these amounts or 8,000- 10,000 IU spread throughout the day
  • Reaching 50 ng/ml requires about 3000-4000 IU a day of vitamin D3.
  • Vitamin D3 is best taken with food in multiple doses, or least twice per day and should be taken with a meal.
  • Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning it is stored in the body, so knowing your levels is important.
  • Vitamin D3 should always be taken in conjunction with vitamin k2 and vitamin A, such as this one Nutricology Vitamin D3 Complete that has all of the necessary co-factors to help it absorb properly.
  • Having your blood levels tested is recommended especially when supplementation is being utilized to be sure that you are reaching optimum levels without concern for toxicity, request a  25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test from your primary care physician. Some insurance companies may cover this test if performed by your doctor so check with your health insurance provider in advance.  If they do not cover it, then look for a Vitamin D Home Test Kit which is much less expensive than a visit to the doctor.

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Vitamin D and Sun Exposure– Spending a short time in the summer sun (20- 30 minutes) can produce the equivalent of 10,000 IU or more of vitamin D, and our evolutionary ancestors who spent much more time outdoors with less clothing and no sunscreen had much higher levels of vitamin D levels than we typically have now.   People looking to use the sun for vitamin D manufacturing should have at least 20 minutes of high noon sun exposure, per day, without the use of sunscreens as they will reduce the ability of the body to produce vitamin D by 95%, and most contain harmful chemicals which are absorbed by the skin and may actually promote the development of skin cancer (see the recipe below for a natural sunscreen). Yet even with sensible sun exposure many people do not make enough vitamin D, among them, people who have a darker skin tone, those who are overweight or are older, or because clothing is covering the extremities.

Foods that contain some level of vitamin D are:

salmon, herring, sardines, catfish, mackerel, mushrooms,  egg yolks and cod liver oil, but you cannot achieve the levels that your body requires through foods alone.

Dr Mercola on Vitamin D3 through exposure to sunshine, the use of a safe tanning bed, and by way of supplementation

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Dr Oz on vitamin D

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Homemade Sun Protection

Recipe 1  sunscreen bars

Melt all ingredients except for the oils in a double boiler then stir in the oils.  Pour into a Silicone Mold and allow to cool.  Store the bars in a Ziploc bag. Rub the bars onto your skin for sun protection. These bars may melt if left in the sun.

Recipe 2

  • ½ Cup Almond Oil
  • ¼ Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Shea Butter
  • ¼ Cup  Bees Wax
  • 2 T Zinc Oxide Powder

Combine all of the ingredients except for the zinc oxide in a glass jar with a lid. Put a few inches of water into a saucepan and place the jar in the water over medium heat. As the water heats up and the mixture begins to melt together. Stir occasionally until you have a creamy mixture.  At this point you can add in the zinc oxide powder. Stir until the zinc oxide in absorbed and then allow the mixture to cool.   Use just like you would use regular sunscreen. This particular mixture has an SPF value of about 15, but you can add more zinc oxide for added protection.  This may melt if left out in the hot sun but will solidify again.

Additional Resources:

A library of articles on vitamin D and your health

Finding natural sunscreens.

Article from the Harvard School of Public Health on the importance of Vitamin D

Adequate Vitamin D levels linked to survival of chronic lymphocytic leukemia

 

  Nutricology Vitamin D3 Complete with Vitamin A and K2 Capsules, 60 Count

 

Vitamin D Home Test Kit

 

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