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The amazing benefits of Vitamin D-3: keeping us healthy through the winter and beyond.

The amazing benefits of Vitamin D-3: keeping us healthy through the winter and beyond.

So far, this winter, I’ve been free of colds or flu. I’ve been around people with colds and flu but I haven’t caught anything. Am I just ‘lucky’? Maybe, but I believe it’s due to my supplementation of vitamin D-3. How did I learn about the importance of vitamin D-3? Through the work of doctors such as Dr. Mercola, Dr. Oz, Dr. Frank Lipman, Dr. Michael Holick and Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council.

What I found was that there appears to be a specific blood serum level of vitamin D-3 for keeping the immune system working optimally and that up to 85% of us are deficient.

Dr. Mercola explains that keeping a healthy blood serum level of D-3 “ regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses.” And states, “In fact, it is very rare for someone with optimized vitamin D levels to come down with the flu.”

Another familiar doctor that has talked about this issue is Dr. Oz: “We know there's a lot of iffy info about vitamins out there, but we're certain vitamin D-3 supplements should be an essential part of your health plan. Unfortunately, almost no one gets enough sunshine-made vitamin D-3 for it to do its job, and it has a big job: reduce inflammation, regulate cell growth and protect your immune and neuromuscular systems. And its potential benefits don't stop there.”

Huffington Post blogger, Doctor Frank Lipman, explains, “vitamin D is involved in making hundreds of enzymes and proteins, which are crucial for preserving health and preventing disease. It has the ability to interact and affect more than 2,000 genes in the body. It enhances muscle strength and builds bone. It has anti-inflammatory effects and bolsters the immune system. It helps the action of insulin and has anti-cancer activity. This is why vitamin D deficiency has been linked with so many of the diseases of modern society. Because of its vast array of benefits, maintaining optimal levels of D is essential for your health.”

In his article “The Vitamin D Solution” in Healthetimes (issue 2, vol 5, 2012), Doctor and PHD, Michael F. Holick highlights the issue of vitamin D deficiency, explaining “In 2009 researchers from Harvard and the University of Colorado revealed that 70% of Whites, 90% of Hispanics, and 97% of African Americans in the United States have insufficient blood levels of vitamin D.”

Additionally, according to the findings from a 2010 study that didn't get any widespread attention, vitamin D is a highly effective way to avoid influenza. In fact, children taking low doses of Vitamin D3 were shown to be 42 percent less likely to come down with the flu.

So what is this healthy blood serum level?

*Dr. Oz and Dr. Lipman recommend a level between 50 – 80 ng/ml and Dr. Mercola recommends a level between 50 – 70 ng/ml (using the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25 OH vitamin D) testing scale). It may be no problem to get this from sun exposure in the summer, particularly if you’re a beach goer, but not so in the cold season.

So how much daily D-3 should I be getting to maintain an optimum D-3 blood serum level? And what other sources, besides the sun, can provide it?

In a recent article Dr. Mercola refers to the latest European guidelines:

“the European Food Safety Authority has raised the RDA for vitamin D supplementation to levels far beyond American guidelines. The EU recommendations are now as follows:

Adults 18 years or older = 4,000 IU/day

Children 11-17 years of age = 4,000 IU/day

Children 1-10 years of age = 2,000 IU/day

Infants less than 1year of age = 1,000 IU/day “

And then goes on to point out:

 “According to the most recent research, the ideal adult dose is closer to 8,000 IU's a day in order to achieve serum levels at or above 40 ng/ml.”

Ok, so let’s say, as an adult, I want to be getting somewhere between 4000 to 8000 IU on a daily basis. Before I go purchasing a vitamin supplement of D-3, why not consider getting it through food. So what kinds of food contain Vitamin D?

  • Cod Liver Oil (1 tablespoon = 1,360 IU)
  • Salmon (3 1/2 ounces = 360 IU)
  • Mackerel (3 1/2 ounces = 345 IU)
  • Sardines (3 1/2 ounces =  370 IU)
  • Milk (1 cup = 98 IU)
  • Eggs (1 egg = 25 IU)

So how much of each of these would I need to consume on a daily basis to approximate an amount of, let’s say, 5000 IU of D-3?

  • Cod Liver Oil (3-4 table spoons daily)
  • Salmon (2.8 pounds daily)
  • Mackerel (3 pounds daily)
  • Sardines (13 cans daily)
  • Milk (51 cups daily)
  • Eggs (200 eggs daily)

So what is my preferred method for getting vitamin D-3 during this season? Answer: The vitamin supplement form called natural lanolin. And where does it come from? It’s a substance taken out of the wool that is sheared from sheep and then purified. In one daily capsule I can receive 5000 IU of vitamin D-3 to help optimize my D-3 blood serum level.

And what about toxicity?  While there is no danger of toxicity in getting vitamin D-3 from sun exposure there is a toxic upper limit to be aware of when supplementing. The Vitamin D Council explains, “Published cases of toxicity, for which serum levels and dose are known, all involve intake of ≥ 40,000 IU (1000 mcg) per day. 1 Two different cases involved intake of over 2,000,000 IU per day - both men survived. “

When checking our blood serum vitamin D-3 levels we want to make sure we keep it under 100 ng/ml ( in the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25 OH vitamin D) testing scale.

 

(to see the graphic representation of the testing scale goto the bottom of the linked article, “Vitamin D health benefits”, mercola.com)

Dr. Mercola suggests we first get our Vitamin D-3 blood serum level checked at our doctor’s office (ask for the 25(OH)D test, also called 25-hydroxy-vitamin D) and if that level proves to be below optimum (under 50 ng/ml), we can supplement. We can then have it rechecked after 2-3 months of supplementation to verify we are keeping within the optimal range (50-70 ng/ml).

And what other benefits come with this optimized level? Many

  • In combination with exercise, it helps us reduce visceral fat
  • Prevent type 2 diabetes
  • Rejuvenate aging eyes
  • Reduce Alzheimer's risk
  • Help treat Tuberculosis
  • Slash Pneumonia deaths
  • Protect us from 16 different types of cancer.

To view the graphic for the vitamin D-3 blood serum scale, go to the bottom of this page:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/05/vitamin-d-health-benefits.aspx

For a more detailed presentation of this information check this link:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/16/my-one-hour-vitamin-d-lecture-to-clear-up-all-your-confusion-on-this-vital-nutrient.aspx

For further information by the Vitamin D Council:

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

* For a look at Dr.Oz’s recommended D-3 blood serum level:

http://www2.tbo.com/lifestyles/life/2013/jan/12/4unewso17-vitamin-d-3-gets-an-a-from-the-docs-ar-603429/

For a closer look at Dr. Frank Lipman’s coverage of Vitamin D-3:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-frank-lipman/vitamin-d-what-you-need-t_b_308973.html

 For a closer look at the 2010 study mentioned in the article, go to:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/14/study-shows-vitamin-d-cuts-flu-by-nearly-50.aspx

The food values in this article were taken from:

http://www.womenshealthso.com/patient-resources/health-education/preventative-health-dietary-information/vitamin-d/

 

-        Au Naturel Health & Beauty (7 North Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joan McDaniel January 18, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Why take vitamin D and C? When you can take the more expensive Doctor Visit and let him write the Rx so he gets some of the take. What ever you do - do not try to make your immune system stronger. The medical profession makes better money with you sick then If your well. I have done research in the area. I was very sick and used food as my medicine to get well. I created a blog site and documented what I found . If you think I only took the taboo Vitamin C, D etc I did much much more I ate Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, and Salt (Sea Salt) I am an LPN who ate my way back to health. Read my continuing story about researching a different kind of nutrition. http://coconutcreamcare.com/2012/06/26/and-what-do-you-do-with-coconut-oil-2/
Au Naturel Health & Beauty January 20, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Hi Ted, thanks for reading our blog and for the opportunity to clarify Au Naturel's perspective on this matter. First, I wish to respond from the anecdotal experience of myself and our customers. It's funny, as I was reading your blog response a customer walked into the shop and raved how by taking D3 she was over her cold in no time. And recently, I also had a parent come in with her daughter who could not get over her cough sniffles watery eyes for weeks on end; she tried some free samples of children's D-3 and the next day she saw improvement. Her daughter was finally kicking it out of her system. Now, these personal experiences aside, I wholeheartedly recommend To anyone concerned or confused by the results of this recent Jama study (which concluded an only 10% reduction in colds and flu through vitamin D-3 supplementation) to watch the interview between Dr. Mercola and Dr. John Cannell, head of the Vitamin D Council. go to this page: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/10/17/sun-exposure-vs-vitamin-d-supplements.aspx
New York Accents January 21, 2013 at 06:01 PM
As an African American, I never thought that vitamin D3 ---the sun was necessary that was until for the first time in my life last year, I had my D3 level checked. It was so low! I mean in the danger zone. Since then, I've been supplementing with 10,000 IU & higher and I've raised it to a normal level. I think, how did I go through my whole life without this being checked? ...And the only reason why I had it checked last year was not because of my doctor's suggestion but because my boyfriend said that it was important to check. I believe D3 has helped to build my immune system along with my other daily healthy routines. I was the only one in my office this flu season who did not catch a cold or flu. There's definitely a need to spread the word about the benefits of D3 so thanks Au Naturel Health & Beauty for this post! And for the African American community who do not live year round in the sun, I suggest that you get your D3 level checked. Having brown skin does not mean that we do not need the benefits of the sun. We need much more than we think...and taking a good D3 supplement is an easy way to achieve this. ...There's ton's of info about African American's and the Vitamin D epidemic online. I think the problem within my cultural community stems from the need to dispel old myths.
James Bankhart January 21, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Actually new York your skin pigment works against you. In areas with strong Sun your body was able to get enough Vitamin D. In the northern areas yo needed pale skin to get the Vitamin D. I have a low level also, and my Dr. is far from Holistic. He has read the mainstream literature and is convinced. I am trying to raise my levels now.
Lourdes Lopez January 22, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Very informative article. I will be sure to ask my doctor to check my levels. Thank you!

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