Benefits of Vitamin D

The benefits of Vitamin D are all over the news lately. Interestingly enough, in 2009, the RDA for Vitamin D was increased. Remember, RDA for supplements were set to simply avoid blatant disease of that particular deficiency, ie: Rickets is the noted disease from a Vitamin D deficiency and we are seeing it re-appear now in infants.

Referred to as The Sunshine Vitamin, sources of vitamin D are best obtained through the sun. It's really not a vitamin but rather, a hormone. Of course sun exposure is the healthiest, most efficient delivery of Vitamin D but this is impossible to obtain if you reside above the equator. Supplementation is then necessary.

Unfortunately, we have been mis-guided into believing that any amount of sun is dangerous. This is just not the case. Just like the food we eat, we too need some form of sunshine. If you question this, think back before we had cancer, diabetes, osteoperosis and yes, even skin cancer. If sun exposure is at an all time low, sun screen use an all time high, and consequently melanoma cases are sky rocketing?

Test your UV exposure with this convenient calculator for healthy Vitamin D status.

We clearly have some things to take a look at! The benefits of vitamin d are being studied very closely right now.

Vitamin D Containing Foods

When I discuss benefits of Vitamin D with folks, I generally ask "Are you taking Vitamin D?" And the answer 9 out of 10 times is always,

    I drink Milk
    (One would have to consume 50 glasses of milk)
    It's added to my calcium supplement
    I eat cheese

Unfortunately, this fortification of D in foods and supplements is what we refer to as Ergocalciferol or, D2. The most bio-available form of Vitamin D is referred to as Cholecalciferol or Vitamin D3.

It's interesting because as I mentioned above, Vitamin D3 is actually a hormone. The conversion of cholecalciferol to its bio-available form requires cholesterol and it's a multi step process. With the pharmaceutical companies villainizing cholesterol these days, our natural processes are just doomed.  Statin drugs prevent cholesterol from being made in the liver, the very component of your healthy Vitamin D levels.

To top it off, the capacity to synthesize Vitamin D in the skin decreases dramatically with age as well, pigment of skin.

For those who do not obtain enough sunlight for conversion of Vitamin D, increasing dietary Vitamin D as well as supplementation may be much more practical to achieve than extensive exposure to sunlight, and in many cases may be a necessity. Most recent recommendations from many professionals including the Vitamin D Council recommend dosing with approximately 2000-4000IU daily. Again, I can't stress the importance of testing rather than guessing so be sure to ask your Dr. for the ever important 25 Hydroxy test especially in the winter. Remember though when supplementing with higher doses of Vitamin D3 :

This is a fat soluble vitamin and it is synergistic with both

Vitamins A and Vitamin K2

When supplementing with Vitamin D3 be sure to implement plenty of A and K foods in your diet. One that comes to mind immediately is Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter or Grassfed Organic Ghee. Both contain these valuable synergistic co-factors. With plenty of studies through the 1920's on the benefit of Cod Liver Oil, during winter flu season, this is my go to choice and while it is sold as a supplement,this is considered a superfood in many countries and once was the recommendation in America until the discovery of antibiotics.

Foods with Vitamin D fortification as well as the 50,000 IU that your Dr. might prescribe just don't convert well and in fact, it is said that the one 50,000 dose the Dr. prescribes is at minimum, $35 and only provides about a 40% uptake.

Not only is it inferior, it is also a "drug".

Your other best source of vitamin D is through that of whole, pastured foods as you see on the list below. The list provided is listed from highest amount of Vitamin D containing foods to lowest. Remember, pastured means raised on green grass without confinement, and raised organically.

These foods include:

  • Angelfish Liver
  • High Vitamin-Cod Liver Oil
  • Indo-Pacific Marlin
  • Chum Salmon
  • Herring
  • Cultured Bastard Halibut and Fatty Bluefin Tuna
  • Pastured Duck Egg
  • Grunt and Rainbow Trout
  • Eel
  • Cultured Red Sea Bream
  • Mackerel
  • Wild Caught Salmon
  • Canned Sardines
  • Pastured Chicken Eggs
  • Pastured Pork & Pork Liver
  • Pastured Pork Bacon (Yes! Another reason to eat bacon)
  • Pastured Raw Milk
  • Pastured Beef Liver

How many of these foods are providing you the benefits of Vitamin D?

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

Research shows 3 of every 4 Americans don't get enough benefits of Vitamin D. Breastfed infants, older adults, those with dark skin and people who are obese have a higher risk of deficiency. You see, the darker the pigment, the more exposure is needed for penetration through the melanin. Some chronic diseases implicated in Vitamin D deficiency include:
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Birth Defects
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain
  • Diabetes
  • 17 Different Cancers (as studied by Dr.s Garland & Garland a 50% decrease could in fact be seen with proper D levels)
  • Depression
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Muscle Wasting
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Osteoperosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Rickets
  • Stroke
  • Thyroid Disruption
And again, I said some, as new discoveries are constantly being made.

Of the 30,000 genes in the human body, the benefits of Vitamin D are responsible for more than 2000 gene expressions. It amazes me how many people I speak to regarding this matter still, they are not testing their levels.

A 50% reduction in 17 different cancers?  I'm not taking any chances and I hope now that you won't either. 

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