When we think of immune vitamins we usually think vitamin C.
You know how to increase your immune if you have a cold, and to take some vitamin C or eat oranges.
But researchers are now going to to next letter after the letter C.
What if vitamin D deficiency symptoms included auto immune diseases such as Crohns disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, MS and even cancer, heart disease and diabetes?
How could that be?
Trouble is, that getting enough to avoid symptoms of vitamin D deficiency –- getting it either from the sun or from food and supplements -- is not as simple as we thought.
Research has been showing that D3 not only strengthens the bones and teeth, as we already knew, but that it also:
Low levels, or “sub-levels” that give vitamin d deficiency symptoms been found to play a role in a wide variety of diseases:
Studies have found symptoms of vitamin d deficiency to play a role in:
Why vitamin d deficiency symptoms for so many diseases? Because of its role in inflammatory disease and the immune system, it is considered to also play a role in:
"Chronic vitamin D deficiency symptoms may have serious adverse consequences, including increased risk of:
According to Michael F. Holick, M.D. this is because Vitamin D is:
"one of the most potent substances to inhibit proliferation of both normal and hyper-proliferative cells."
Best to have your vitaminD levels checked for any of these illnesses.
Not only the best vitamin for immune system strength, but likely at the top of the list of anti aging supplements.
“For those of us in nutritional medicine, the whole story of vitamin D is no longer just about bone health,” says Dr. Joel Evans, “it is important with inflammation, which is so important because it’s a common denominator in diseases that are so disparate...
It clearly acts on the immune system, a major component of any inflammatory disease.”
JM Evans, MD, Center for Women’s Health, Darien Connecticut.
Is this being overlooked by medicine?
There is increasing evidence that people who live farther from the equator, and therefore get less sunlight, experience greater rate of incidence of certain maladies, including multiple sclerosis, Crohns and colon cancer.
Northern latitude is not the whole story, however. Yes, in the tropics, where there is ample sun to boost D levels, cases of multiple sclerosis are rare.
However, cases of Multiple Sclerosis, MS are also rare in coastal Norway, where sun is scarce, but fatty fish that is rich in this nutrient abound and are eaten by the local population.
Animal research is also showing us that there is a connection between high levels of D and immunity to this disabling nerve disorder called MS.
The tendency to keep children out of the sun is causing deficiencies.
It is known that as we age we become less efficient at making this nutrient through sun exposure, so that seniors are at risk.
But surprisingly, even younger adults may have inadequate stores, in spite of the fortification of milk with this nutrient.
Children with inadequate levels of D may not develop rickets, but have been shown to have low bone mass.
In one study involving almost 300 patients of varying ages who were hospitalized for different types of ailments, 57% were found to have low levels of D3.
“There’s a lot of vitamin D deficiency symptoms out there,” says Dr. Hope Weiler, an Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.
The governing bodies setting recommended dietary allowances, have in the past based these minimums on the amount needed to prevent a disease like rickets, and this minimum was set at 200 IU, to be increased with age to 600 IU.
Researchers are discovering, however, that there is a big difference between what you need to prevent rickets and what you need for a healthy level of this nutrient, and that the goal is to have a good level in the blood to prevent diseases like cancer, and arthritis.
Defining levels for optimum health is a different matter and many are recommending 5000 IU's per day for BEST HEALTH!
Nutritional scientists are in the process of developing new optimum standards.
Several studies have found that D also plays a role in muscle strength, and as a result, helping with better balance in the elderly.
(Journal of the American Geriatrics Society)
The researchers concluded:
"Lowering the risk of falls with vitamin D supplements could improve the quality of life for nursing home residents by reducing the incidence of falls."
The experts agree that you don’t need more than 20 minutes of sunlight a day to produce high levels.
The sun might be the best source, but it’s not the only one.
It can also be found in fatty fish such as wild salmon, herring and sardines, cod liver oil, fortified milk, and to a lesser extent, egg yolks (especially in free range eggs where chickens are in the sun), and Cheddar cheese.
Recommended daily dosages for cod liver oil are 500 IU for children (a teaspoon), 1000 IU for adults, 2000 IU for pregnant and nursing women, and up to 9000 IU for those dealing with stress or disease.
Medical researchers have determined that for adults, an intake of 100 mcg (4000 IU)/day of D3 is physiologic and safe, and that the effects on well being were greater with the HIGHER dose of 4000 IU than with the control or placebo group.
The researchers say to counteract vitamin d deficiency symptoms, it is perfectly safe to take larger doses, and that you will need at least 4000 IU's per day if you are low in D3.
The same Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology also determined the safety of up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 supplementation.
Best Sources of Vitamin-D3?
“Go for the food first and if your diet is compromised, then go for the multi vitamin,” suggests Erica Christ, a registered dietitian with the Healthy Living Center at Greenwich Hospital, and that it is best to use food sources.
However, most multies have 400 IU, which is much lower than experts are now suggesting.
A tablespoon of cod liver oil contains approximately 1,300 IU, and three ounces of herring has 765 IU’s, and an egg yolk has 25.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. This means that it must be dissolved in oil to be absorbed into the body.
It is most commonly found it foods that are also sources of oil (fat) such as certain fish, egg yolk from chickens that go out into the sun, some vegetable oils, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.
(Zittermann, A. Vitamin D In Preventive Medicine: Are We Ignoring The Evidence? British Journal of Nutrition, volume 89, 552-572)
One recent study showed that taking 400 IU or more of D daily was effective in delaying or stopping the progression of osteoarthritis of the knees. It did not, however, prevent the disease from developing.
This is the first time a clinical study has proven the connection.
Their trial shows that 86% of pre-operative patients with arthritis waiting for total knee joint replacement surgery, who took cod liver oil capsules daily, had no or significantly less enzymes that cause cartilage damage, in comparison to only 26% who were given a placebo.
According to surgeons, the findings could hold the key to reducing the number of knee and hip replacements.
In all regions of the world, more than half of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are vitamin-D3 deficient, regardless of age, latitude or season, researchers from US, the Netherlands and UK reported at the 11th World Congress on the Menopause.
Normal aging involves not only a reduction in the production of D3 by sun-exposed skin.
"It is advisable to check serum 25(OH)D levels in all osteoporotic patients, as they can certainly influence the outcomes of any (bone strengthening) treatment", Dr. Massari recommended.
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