Sunshine is the most powerful way to optimize your vitamin D levels.
Spending too much time indoors, covering up in the winter months, and using sunscreen can significantly limit your skin’s exposure to sunlight. This means that it is easy to miss out on this essential vitamin.
Even though your body is capable of creating vitamin D and absorbing it from the food you eat, vitamin D should be processed by your kidneys and liver before it can be used. This is partly because it’s not a real vitamin, but a powerful neuroregulatory steroidal hormone.
Vitamin D Deficiency Has Been Associated with Various Health Issues
Researchers at Harvard University estimate that about one billion people in the world have vitamin D deficiency, resulting in easily preventable health issues.
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with weight gain, depression, heart disease, prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and many other diseases. These studies suggest that those with higher vitamin D levels have a reduced risk of developing various diseases.
Prof. of Internal Medicine and Transitional Science at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, Stephen B. Kritchevsky, analyzed the blood of 2,639 African-Americans and Caucasians aged between seventy and seventy-nine years after fasting for twelve hours.
The researchers contacted the participants every 6 months for updates on their well-being and health.
In addition, they observed a vitamin D level of 20 ng/ml or lower in 1/3 of the participants. It was connected to about a 50% elevation in the death rate in the elderly. Their findings show that vitamin D deficiency can be a substantial public health concern for older adults.
Here Are the Benefits of Optimizing Your Vitamin D Levels:
There’re over 33,000 medical papers out there with vitamin D in the abstract or title.
Vitamin D has been found to help prevent infections, boost cognitive abilities and brain health, prevent stroke and heart attack, benefit patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes, reduce inflammation, and more.
Here are the benefits of optimizing your vitamin D levels:
– May Help Reduce Your Risk of a Few Types of Cancer
Research done by the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska that observed menopausal women from rural eastern Nebraska for about 4 years, showed that vitamin D and calcium supplementation led to a 60% lower risk of cancer, such as colon, breast and lung cancer.
Moreover, a research published in the International Journal of Cancer proved that a 10 ng/ml elevation in serum vitamin D levels contributed to an 11% decrease in breast cancer incidence as well as 15% decrease in colorectal cancer incidence.
A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggested that optimizing vitamin D levels contributed to a 50% lower colorectal cancer risk.
That’s not all, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that four years after cancer treatment, women that took 1,450 mg calcium and 1,100 IU vitamin D on a daily basis had a 77% greater incidence of cancer-free survival.
– May Help Prevent Depression
A lack of this vitamin is a risk factor for major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns and depression, because people get affected by the blues as the days get shorter. This phenomenon is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
According to a 2013 BMC article, multiple factors seem to elevate the risk for the onset of depression, and appear to be linked to systemic inflammation. T
hese factors include vitamin D deficiency, sleep deprivation, atopy, altered gut permeability, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet, psychosocial stressors, and more.
– May Be Useful in the Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases, Such as Crohn’s Disease
Vitamin D can be useful in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, because it may help decrease inflammation.
Many studies have shown that patients with Crohn’s had low levels of this vitamin in their blood. Researchers have also found that vitamin D could affect genetic expression related to Crohn’s disease.
This means that in case you have a family history of the disease, you should get your daily dose of the vitamin in order to reduce your risk.
– May Help Reduce Pain
A low level of vitamin D may lead to nerve problems and bone pain.
In a study carried out at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, the researchers examined the effects of vitamin D supplementation on women suffering from both depression and type 2 diabetes.
Around 61% of women reported neuropathic pain, like burning or shooting pain in their feet and legs in the beginning of the study. Also, about 74% reported sensory pain, like tingling and numbness in their legs, hands and fingers.
The women took a 50,000 IU vitamin D2 supplement each week for six months. By the end of the study, they experienced a significant decrease in their depression symptoms.
What’s more, they also experienced a great reduction in their sensory and/or neuropathic pain thanks to vitamin D2 supplementation.