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October 19, 2020
Vitamin D (otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin) plays a significant role in a healthy immune system. It can reduce the risk of colds, flus, viruses, depression and some cancers by as much as 50%, but more than half the population suffer from a vitamin D deficiency.
When you consider that the best source of vitamin D is sunshine, and that foods rich in vitamin D, and supplements are in plentiful supply - that seems a little or a lot crazy. Doesn't it?
This article has been written for anybody who wants to understand how vitamin D could be the unsung hero in the war against disease and illness - without getting bogged down in detail.
I'll be covering topics such as
Vitamin D converts to a hormone in your body which helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body. Vitamin D sufficiency is one of the best ways to enhance your immune system because vitamin D enables your body to produce several proteins which trigger T cell activity and protect your body from infection and illness.
Vitamin D has most frequently been cited as essential for bone, teeth and muscle health, as well as the immune system.
Numerous studies such as those printed in the American Journal of Nutrition, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provide evidence that vitamin D sufficiency results in a 50% reduction in the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, flu, bacterial and viral infections. A 2010 study in Japan found that the risk of children suffering from flu reduced by 50% if they take vitamin D.
It makes sense doesn't it? It explains why colds, flus, sadness and depression are more prevalent in Winter? There are typically fewer sunshine hours, and therefore lower levels of vitamin D.
There are many symptoms of a lack of vitamin D, which unfortunately aren’t necessarily exclusive to vitamin D, so it can be hard to tell. The Vitamin D Council suggests that symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can be subtle or non existent in the early stages.
The best way to know for sure if your symptoms are the result of being deficient in vitamin D is to have your vitamin D levels tested with a blood test.
Due to the relationship between vitamin D, calcium, phosphate and the immune system it is widely acknowledged that a lack of vitamin D can lead to –
Approximately 60-70% of the US population are thought to be deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, and fat sucks the vitamin D out of our system. So, countries with higher levels of obesity are more likely to have an increased incidence of vitamin D deficiency. That's one reason why globally vitamin D deficiency is more likely to affect approximately 50% of people.
There is a much greater risk of a vitamin D deficiency if you:
Given the recency of Covid19 there have been very few studies completed that specifically examine the relationship between vitamin D and covid19. What we do know though is that there is a striking overlap between the risk factors for severe Covid19 and vitamin D deficiency which include:
Professor Delores Cahill of UCD in Ireland claims that vitamin D treatment can prevent about 85% of deaths due to covid19, and that vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc together will prevent approximately 99% of deaths.
Dr David Meltzer, Professor of Medicine at The University of Chicago Medicine cited that “In our study patients who have lower vitamin D levels were more likely to test positive for Covid19”. The trend still held true when they tried to control for other factors such as age and other medical conditions.
Other studies show that patients with lower vitamin D levels who are diagnosed with Covid19 tend to have worse outcomes. Those deficient in vitamin D were more likely to have severe symptoms or die from Covid19 than those with a Vitamin D sufficiency. In fact 96% of deaths attributed to Covid19 have been found to have been deficient in vitamin D.
For more information on Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Zinc and how it relates to Covid19 make sure you check out the link to the Dr Delores Cahill video below.
A lack of evidence is often cited as a reason to not pursue the use of Vitamin D in Covid19 patients - but this is most often countered by the fact that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that vitamin D could be hugely beneficial, it's low cost, it's extremely safe, and that there is no real reason not to try it.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the best source of vitamin D is the sun.
Most people need 10-15 mins of direct sunlight on their skin each day. If you have darker skin you probably need closer to an hour of direct sunlight. And direct sunlight means exposing your skin to the sun - without sunscreen or excessive clothing.
We all know that excessive exposure to sun without sunscreen or protective clothing is also dangerous – so the answer is to be sensible about sun exposure.
The vitamin D in most foods and nearly all multi-vitamins is literally inconsequential, so if you have a high chance of being deficient in vitamin D it's worth trying a dedicated vitamin D supplement.
The foods that are the richest sources of vitamin include:
The minimum amount of vitamin D recommended varies. The standard recommendation is 1000 IU per day, but Dr Oz and many in the medical fraternity recommend a correct daily dose of vitamin D is approximately 5000 IU per day. That’s much higher than the 200-600 IU recommended by the FDA and NIM.
Some physicians such as Dr Damien Downing a doctor and medical consultant has publicly stated that many physicians in both Canada and the USA prescribe as much as 50,000 IU of vitamin D for a long list of chronic diseases – but intake of such volumes is not recommended unless under medical recommendation and supervision.
As a supplement vitamin D has no significant negative side effects up to 10,000 IU per day. It is relatively low cost, safe, and can be 4 or 5 times more effective than anti-viral and flu drugs and vaccines.
Not everybody can absorb vitamin D to the same degree. As we age our body is usually less able to absorb and process vitamins, and the same holds true in the case of vitamin D if we’re carrying a few extra kilos or pounds.
Two ways to boost your body’s ability to absorb and utilise vitamin D are:
Yes, you can overdose on vitamin D. An overdose may result in over absorption of calcium and phosphates which can become toxic. But the quantities required to be dangerous are very high. Anything above 10,000 IU per day is not recommended without seeking medical advice, but up to this point it is quite safe for most people.
If you have medical conditions such as kidney problems you should seek medical advice if considering vitamin D supplementation.
So, in summary… getting out and about to enjoy some sunshine, and increasing your intake of vitamin D through good food and supplementation is likely to make a big difference to your physical and mental wellbeing.
If you're carrying a few extra kilos, stuck inside, have darker skin, are elderly, or concerned about flus, viruses, depression, cancer or heart disease; you might benefit significantly from adding a superior absorption vitamin D supplement to your shopping list.
As long as you stick to the recommended guidelines for use, it's not going to do you any harm, and you've got almost nothing to lose.
Now… go get some sunshine, and enjoy your day 😊.
Other resources and references:
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency That Most People Ignore
Study Shows Vitamin D May Reduce Risk Of Flu By 50%
Study: Vitamin D More Effective Than Vaccines
Dr Oz On The Importance Of Vitamin D
Dr Delores Cahill - Public Meeting
Can Vitamin D Help Beat Coronavirus?
Dr Rhonda Patrick Goes In Depth On The Benefits Of Vitamin D - Joe Rogan
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