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Why you should be interested in Vitamin D...
1- Many of the problems and diseases people just have assumed to occur by chance are now known to be related to insufficient levels of Vitamin D.
2- Chances are... you have less than ideal levels of Vitamin D in your body. It takes an intake of about 1,500 IU to 2,200 IU per day to achieve even adequate baseline levels in adults. Many people take in less than 200 IU per day. Being in the sun, even having a suntan doesn't mean your levels are ideal. sun's tanning rays (UVA) doesn't result in Vitamin D production - only those that cause burns (UVB wavelength spectrum 290-315 nm).
How much Vitamin D you eat is highly variable (and usually very low). How much Vitamin D you make is dependent on a number of factors: your level of skin pigmentation (darker skin blocks UVB rays); time of the day, season of the year, altitude above sea level, pollutants in the air, reflected light and cloud cover, sunscreen, make-up, clothing, and a number of other factors.
Until recently, people blamed low levels of vitamin D believed to cause only problems with the bones: rickets in children and osteoporosis (and painful osteomalacia) in adults.
New information reveals that most organs in the body have vitamin D receptors which are affected by the circulating level of vitamin D in the bloodstream. Low levels of Vitamin D are thus associated with several other diseases or problems including:
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) & Lupus (SLE)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Chronic pain
- Stress fractures in healthy people
- Fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue
- Heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Increased risk of falling/balance problems
- Muscle loss and weakness
- Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes
- Gum disease
- Cancer development and survival (breast, prostate, skin, pancreatic, liver, ovarian, colon, and others).
Study Links Low Vitamin D Levels to Breast Cancer
The problem is that Vitamin D supplements are not standardized - so it's impossible to know exactly how much you're getting unless you can view the exact contents of each softgel by reviewing the 3rd party laboratory analysis of each batch produced. This product meets this specification.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in some foods and can also be made in the body with adequate exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays.
Dietary Vitamin D exists in two major forms: ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2- made from the irradiation of yeast and a plant sterol) and cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3 - usually extracted from certain oily fish or cod liver oil).
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is more active and lasts longer in the body. Vitamin D3, is the active form for humans and is the only form recommended for dietary supplementation.
Besides dietary intake through food and supplements, Vitamin D is made by the skin, through exposure to UVB rays. Sunlight triggers vitamin D synthesis, as the UVB rays react with the compound 7-Dehydrocholesterol, which is naturally found in the skin. UVB rays, by the way, are the sun's rays which lead to sunburns. UVB rays peak from 10 am to 2 pm, the times the Dermatologists say to stay out of the sun.
How does it work?
Vitamin D is not really a vitamin at all. It is actually a hormone precursor, but is continued to be called a vitamin, as it was a historical misclassification.
Once vitamin D is consumed or produced in the skin, a chemical conversion is necessary for the body to use it. Vitamin D is not active until it is transported to the liver and kidney and converted to a hormone form. As a hormone, it sends “messages” to the intestines to absorb the appropriate amounts of calcium and phosphorus.
By supporting calcium absorption, vitamin D helps form and maintain healthy bones. Working with many other vitamins and minerals, vitamin D aids in bone mineralization. Without proper amounts of vitamin D, bones are susceptible to becoming thin and brittle. Proper amounts of vitamin D also prevent rickets in children and osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults, three skeletal diseases that weaken bone structure.
How much vitamin D is enough?
The best way to know if you're getting enough Vitamin D is to have a blood test and directly measure the amount of 25-OH Vitamin D (the main storage form in the body). These tests are expensive ($125 - $200), they can be useful in monitoring the best dosing, but may be prone to underestimating the true level of Vitamin D3. A newer, HPLC-based test may be more accurate.
The test results are reported in ng/ml (billionths per milliliter of blood serum). The ideal healthy blood (serum) level of 25-OH Vitamin D is 30 to 60 ng/mL. Vitamin D intoxication can occur when 25-OH Vitamin D levels exceeds 150 ng/mL.
Unfortunately, few people get blood tests for Vitamin D. Dr. Theo is trying to encourage other physicians and laboratories to make Vitamin D testing a normal part of blood testing. If it is added to "blood panels" that include many tests, the cost for Vitamin D testing would drop significantly.
For most vitamins, a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is established. The RDA is an average daily intake level that will meet the nutrient requirements of almost all (97%-98%) of healthy individuals, separated by age and gender groups.
Because of insufficient evidence, mainly determining sun exposure levels of individuals, it is very difficult to establish an accurate RDA for vitamin D. Instead, an Adequate Intake (AI) has been created. The AI for vitamin D is a level of intake at which one will achieve healthy blood levels of the active form of vitamin D.
As of 1998, AIs for vitamin D are the same between genders, but increase with age. These government estimates are now believed to be excessively low. In some adult populations, up to 2,000 IU per day of Vitamin D3 is required to achieve adequate levels.
Outdated AIs for Vitamin D:
5 mcg (200 IU)
10 mcg (400 IU)
71 years and older
15 mcg (600 IU)
What are the food sources of vitamin D?
Few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in some fatty fish, such as sardines, mackerel and salmon, fish oils, and eggs from hens that have been fed vitamin D. Cow-milk is now fortified with vitamin D, and one cup will provide an adult with about ¼ of the established AI. While cow-milk is fortified, most other dairy products, such as cheese and yogurts are not. Recently, there have been some brands of orange juice, as well as some breads and cereals that have been fortified with vitamin D. It is important to note the difficulty in estimating vitamin D intake from foods, due to measuring the foods consumed, and high variability in the amounts of vitamin D in the fortified foods.
How much sun exposure…?
Sunlight exposure is the most important natural source of vitamin D. However, with people living to an average age of 78, accumulated sun exposure leads to wrinkles and saggy skin; in addition to age spots and skin cancer. Dermatologists advise people to stay out of the sun.
Many factors such as sunscreens, skin pigmentation, time of day, season, latitude, cloud cover, and smog affect how much UVB ray exposure one receives.
Furthermore, the pigment melanin also blocks vitamin D production. Melanin is what causes people to have a darker complexion. Those who have ancestry mainly from areas exposure (nearer the equator) have more melanin. When a person with a dark complexion moves to an area with less intense UVB rays, an example would be an African who moves to a city north of Atlanta, GA, natural vitamin D product declines significantly. Extreme deficiencies are often found in such populations.
Even light skinned people have difficulty making enough vitamin D, especially in northern and southern areas of the world (latitudes around 40 degrees north or south) during the months of November through February. UVB radiation from the sun is insufficiently strong for vitamin D synthesis.
It has been widely recommended to apply sunscreen to prevent conditions like skin cancer and sun damage to the skin. Unfortunately, applying a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 or greater blocks the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin by 95%. SPF 30 can block 99% of Vitamin D synthesis.
However, during the spring, summer, and fall months when there is sufficient UVB radiation, 5-10 minutes of sun exposure to the arms and legs during peak hours (11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) three times weekly should be enough for the skin to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. One could apply sunscreen to the face and neck areas, leaving the arms and legs exposed. Sunscreen can be applied to the arms and legs after the 5-10 minutes of sun exposure.
Why does vitamin D deficiency occur?
There are several reasons nutrient deficiencies occur. They are usually the result of increased requirement, increased excretion, inadequate dietary intake, or impaired absorption and utilization.
Vitamin D deficiency can occur when dietary intake is below recommended levels, there is limited exposure to sunlight, when vitamin D is not converted to its active hormone form by the kidney, or when adequate amounts of vitamin D cannot be absorbed from the digestive tract.
Severe vitamin D deficiency can cause osteomalacia, known as rickets in children. This is because insufficient amounts of vitamin D result in the failure of the bone to mineralize.
Because children’s bones are rapidly growing, they can be severely affected by rickets. When this happens, the growth plates of the bones continue to grow, but without the bone becoming properly mineralized, the child’s arms and legs become bowed. In infants, rickets can cause the closure of the fontanels (soft spots) in the skull to be prolonged.
Although many foods are now fortified with vitamin D, there are still many reported cases of nutritional rickets reported around the world.
While adult bones are no longer growing, they are alive, so there is constant turnover in the bone. Adults with severe vitamin D deficiency experience progressive bone mineral loss that results in bone pain and soft, weakened bones.
Is too much Vitamin D toxic?
No level of sun exposure can lead to Vitamin D toxicity. The form of D made from sun exposure is non-toxic and biologically inactive. Too much vitamin D from food or supplements can be toxic, however, but the dose required for toxicity is quite high. No published reports of toxicity have occured in dosages below 10,000 IU per day.
Likely to be raised soon, the current upper intake levels (UI) for dietary vitamin D is set conservatively low by The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. The UIs that have been established for vitamin D are 1,000 IU for infants up to 12 months of age and 2,000 IU for children, adults, pregnant, and lactating women.
Since the manufacture of Vitamin D products is difficult, you really don't know if the product you take has in it what it claims on the label. It might state "400 IU" but could have far more or less. This is why Dr. Theo decided to make a standardized product; produced in a FDA-licensed Pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, tested at a 3rd party lab, while letting you have access to view these results.
Vitamin D is too important to leave up to chance.