Critical For Optimal Health
The most obvious benefit for D is in relation to bone health – it’s absolutely critical for calcium absorption. But turns out deficiencies of vitamin D have been implicated in diseases from autism to cancer to heart disease and more.
Vitamin D is produced when our skin is exposed to sunlight. But for years now sunlight has been something to be avoided due to concerns about skin cancer.
Yet vitamin D is one of the few nutrients you can’t enough of through diet alone. First of all, there just aren’t that many foods that contain vitamin D. Second, those foods that do contain D almost always have it in the form of D2 – a slightly different form than the D3 created by sun exposure that has been shown to be much less beneficial.
No wonder vitamin D deficiency is now considered a worldwide pandemic.
Vitamin D is as crucial to bone health as calcium. It helps maintain the correct concentration of calcium in the blood, thereby enabling normal bone mineralization. It’s needed for bone growth and bone remodeling. It’s been shown to decrease the risk of falls, fractures and bone loss in elderly patients, to reduce the risk of hip fractures, to improve bone density and to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
It’s been documented that deaths from heart disease increase with distance from the equator. Blood pressure has also been found to increase with distance from the equator as well as during the winter months. All of which has led to the conclusion by many researchers that vitamin D plays an important role in cardiovascular health. Higher levels of vitamin D have been associated with a substantial decrease in cardiovascular disease. Supplementation with D has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with Prehypertension.
Vitamin D appears to play a role in insulin regulation. Deficiency has been associated with insulin resistance, Type I & Type II Diabetesand metabolic syndrome. It’s also linked to poor diabetes control. Supplementation with vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes, insulin resistance, and Type II Diabetes. Another study found supplementation with D3 to have a positive effect on both First Phase Insulin Secretion as well as insulin resistance, and the authors concluded D3 supplementation to be a valuable part of diabetes treatment.
Diabetic patients with very low levels of vitamin D were found to be at much higher risk from dying of all causes and from cardiovascular disease.
With such an important role in insulin regulation, it stands to reason Vitamin D would play a role in maintaining a healthy weight. Obese individuals consistently have significantly lower levels of vitamin d than those at a healthier weight. And generally, the higher a person’s BMI (Body Mass Index) the more deficient in D they tend to be. Some scientists have even hypothesized that vitamin D deficiency is the cause of common obesity. Vitamin D supplements don’t affect weight loss automatically or without effort. But a higher level of vitamin D going into a diet has been shown to predict greater success in a weight loss effort, especially in losing abdominal fat. In one study women who took vitamin D along with calcium supplements were significantly less likely to gain weight, and indeed lost more weight than women on a placebo.
A 2007 analyses reviewed 18 different trials involving 57,000 people and found that those on vitamin D supplements had a 7% lower risk if death from any cause during the 6 years of the study. In Canada, for example, it has been estimated that increasing the amount of vitamin D in everyone’s blood nationally would save 37,000 lives every year and reduce the economic burden by $14.4 Billion.
No nutrient is a vacuum. Vitamin D requires several other nutrients to operate optimally in the body. Calcium is probably the most obvious. But other nutrients include:
- Magnesium is essential for vitamin D metabolism, and that metabolism is impaired by magnesium deficiency.
- Zinc regulates vitamin D receptors in osteoblasts (so it plays a crucial role in vitamin D’s ability to help build stronger bones)
- Vitamin K2 enables carboxylation, which directs calcium deposits away from arteries and into bones. It’s considered a cofactor of vitamin D as D can accelerate calcification. Vitamin K ensures the proper organs are calcified.
- Boron enhances Vitamin D utilization in the body.
An ideal Vitamin D supplement will consist of the following:
- Be in the form of D3, also known as cholecalciferol, not D2
- Contain magnesium
- Contain Vitamin K2
- Contain the trace elements Zinc and Boron
At this time, we do not have a specific Vitamin D product to recommend. The requirements for a Vitamin D supplement, however, do overlap somewhat with those for a Calcium Supplement.
Do you know of research that claims otherwise? …please share, that is what this WikiVites community is all about.
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