Posted by Physicians Preference Vitamins on 8/1/2022 to Health and Wellness
Today, pretty much everyone is aware of the importance of vitamin D for optimal health. We want to share with you some amazing information from two experts who have done a lot of research on the health benefits of vitamin D, Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D. and Marc Sorenson, EdD.
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. Despite its name, vitamin D is actually a hormone. Vitamin D’s active metabolic product in the body is a molecule called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D which is secosteroid hormone that directly or indirectly targets more than two thousand genes, or about 6% of the human genome.
Vitamin D receptors are everywhere in your body, and they are there for a reason – your body needs vitamin D to function properly. For instance, there is evidence that the brain has vitamin D receptors and that the active form of vitamin D stimulates the production of serotonin, your “feel-good” hormone which elevates mood, so this is how vitamin D can help reduce depression. Fat cells also have vitamin D receptors and they can burn more calories with vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency has also been shown to exacerbate type 2 diabetes, impair insulin production in the pancreas and increase insulin resistance.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
- Bone Health: Prevents osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rickets and fractures
- Cellular Health: Prevents certain cancers such as prostate, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, and colon; prevents infectious diseases and upper respiratory tract infections, asthma and wheezing disorders
- Organ Health: Prevents heart disease and stroke; prevents type 2 diabetes, periodontitis and tooth loss, and other inflammatory diseases
- Muscular Health: Supports muscle strength
- Autoimmune Health: Prevents multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes mellitus, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Brain Health: Prevents depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia
- Mood-Related Health: Prevents seasonal affective disorder, premenstrual syndrome (PMS, also known as premenstrual tension), and sleeping disorders, elevates sense of well-being
Sources of Vitamin D
For the most part, you can’t rely on foods to get your vitamin D, however you do make vitamin D in your skin with sunlight and vitamin D3 supplements are available.
- Sunlight: When your skin is exposed to sunlight, your body uses cholesterol to make vitamin D.
- Vitamin D3 Supplements: Daily supplementation of vitamin D3 is recommended.
- Some Foods: A very small amount of vitamin D comes from food. Vitamin D can be found in eggs, raw milk, fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel), caviar, mushrooms and cod liver oil. Some foods such as milk and orange juice are fortified with vitamin D, as well.
Why Most People are Deficient in Vitamin D
The more time you spend indoors during the day time, the less opportunity you have to make vitamin D. The lifestyle of most Americans involves being indoors most of the day. And a fixation on avoiding the sun when outside. This is why nearly 60 million children and teens are deficient in vitamin D.
The older you are, the harder it is for your body to make vitamin D from sunlight, because the precursor of vitamin D in the body declines with age. The good news is that the skin still has a large capacity to make ample vitamin D despite this physical decline.
Even animals know the importance of soaking in the sun for their health, whether they realize it or not. They know instinctively that it is what they need for survival. For instance, Dr. Michael Holick shares that it is well documented that lizards that are vitamin D deficient seek out UVB radiation just as they would seek water when they are thirsty.
Beware: Sunscreen Blocks Your Vitamin D Production
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because our body produces it through the skin when exposed to sunlight. So when you slather sunscreen all over your body, you are blocking this process. Sunscreen can prevent 99% of vitamin D production by the skin.
Here are some interesting facts about vitamin D and bone health:
- Populations where fractures are most common generally have lower exposure to sunlight than populations where fractures are least common.
- Sunlight exposure has the ability to build bone mass and profoundly reduce the rate of fractures, which is a reversal of osteoporosis.
- Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the intestine, without it, no amount of calcium consumption will halt osteoporosis and subsequent fractures.
- Vitamin D is also necessary for the absorption of calcium into the bone.
- Only a small amount of dietary calcium is necessary if serum vitamin D levels are high.
- Vitamin D supplementation dramatically reduces the rate of bone fractures among osteoporotic women.
Vitamin D is very important in helping to prevent cancer. If a cell loses control of its own growth and is becoming a malignant cancer cell, vitamin D can either turn on genes to control cell growth or induce cell death (called apoptosis). If a tumor takes hold and begins to grow, vitamin D can prevent blood vessels from forming that supply nutrition to the cancer cells that it needs to survive. Once this malignant process begins, however, the cancer develops resistance to vitamin D. This is why it is so important to maintain optimal levels of vitamin D throughout your life.
This is why the sun, which is needed to make vitamin D in your skin, has been described as a “wonder drug.” Dr. William Grant, director of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health research Center in San Francisco has suggested that increased sun exposure would result in 185,000 fewer cases of internal cancers (specifically breast, ovarian, colon, prostate, bladder, uterus, esophagus, rectum ands stomach) every year and 30,000 fewer deaths in the United States alone. University of California researchers estimate that 250,000 cases of colon cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented worldwide by increasing intake of vitamin D.
- The lower the level of vitamin D, the greater is the risk of arterial calcification.
- Vitamin D helps prevent arterial inflammation.
- Rural residents who have a higher vitamin D level have fewer cases of cardiovascular disease.
- In Spain, hospital admissions for heart failure are 25% higher than average in January and 33% lower in August, a 58% swing between winter and summer.
- Lack of exposure to sunlight may be the primary reason for the increase in depression in the United States and other sunlight-deprived countries.
- Serotonin is dramatically increased by exposure to sunlight.
- Vitamin D supplementation or UV exposure may increase feelings of well-being by increasing endorphins and dopamine, and possibly other important neurotransmitters.
- Lack of vitamin D in mothers and fetuses may have negative influences on brain development, learning and memory skill.
- Low vitamin D levels may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
- Vitamin D deficiency correlates strongly to poor cognitive performance.
- Autism has increased exponentially as more children avoided the sun and used sunscreen.
- Colon polyps are precursors of colon cancer. Women in the lowest fourth of blood vitamin D levels have a 58% greater chance of developing polyps than those in the highest fourth.
- Those with the highest blood levels of vitamin D reduce their risk of rectal cancer by 67%.
- People who live in the sunniest areas have a dramatically reduced risk of colon cancer compared to those living in the least sunny areas.
Type 2 Diabetes
- Exposure to ultraviolet light (UVB) increases insulin production in adults.
- All else being equal, the higher the vitamin D level, the lower the blood sugar level.
- Vitamin D supplementation increases the secretion of insulin in both humans and animals.
- Men who have been exposed to more sunlight during their lifetimes have lower PSA levels. (PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels are a marker for potential or existing prostate cancer.)
- Treatment with vitamin D slows the increase in PSA levels and in some cases lowers PSA.
- Vitamin D inhibits the proliferation of prostate cancer cells.
Breast Cancer/Women’s Cancers
- Breast cancer and reproductive cancers are least common in the areas of greatest sunlight exposure.
- High sunlight exposure correlates with up to a 65% reduced risk of breast cancer.
- Vitamin D supplementation over four years has been shown to correlate to 60-77% reduction in the risk of all cancer in women.
- Type 1 diabetes is primarily an autoimmune response triggered by milk proteins.
- Children who supplement with vitamin D have 1/5th the risk of type 1 diabetes as children who don’t take vitamin D.
- Lupus and inflammatory bowel disease are correlated to low vitamin D levels.
- Laboratory-induced Parkinson’s in animals is inhibited by calcitriol (activated vitamin D) treatment.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- It is interesting that MS in various countries can be predicted by their latitude.
- The greater the distance from the equator, the greater is the incidence of MS because UVB light from sunlight is less available farther from the equator.
- MS also increases the more people consume milk and other animal products.
Podcast with Dr. Michael Holick on Vitamin D
Click here to watch this podcast as Dr. Holick discusses the many benefits of vitamin D. You don't want to miss this!
Get Your Vitamin D today!
As you can see, vitamin D has many important functions in the body. Our vitamin D3 comes in a highly absorbable liquid softgel form. It does not contain any soy, GMO, corn, egg, gluten, or dairy. We also have a highly concentrated liquid vitamin D3 that is neutral tasting and does not contain any sugar, wheat, yeast, milk, eggs or soy. We carry these vitamin D supplements:
We are here to help.
Call our Certified Holistic Nutritionists and Vitamin Consultants at Physicians Preference Vitamins at 281-646-1659 with any questions you have about vitamin D3 or about supplements for any other health concerns. It will be our privilege to serve you!
The Vitamin D Solution by Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D.
Vitamin D3 and Solar Power for Optimal Health by Marc Sorenson, EdD.