Catching up on summer days won’t only make your skin bronze, but it will provide a plenty of vitamin D. This vitamin is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” since it is a result of skin’s response to sunlight.
However, during the winter months, there is a lack of sun exposure. For this reason, people obtain vitamin D through artificial UVB light or from their diet.
However, the standard tanning beds contain magnetic ballasts, one of the most damaging elements. Another concern is the bulbs which usually contain UVA light. This light although provides bronze tan, but it does not increase the vitamin D levels.
Despite its name, vitamin D, in fact, is not a vitamin. Actually, it is a powerful neuroregulatory steroidal hormone which takes a significant part of the overall health of the human body.
Nowadays, Vitamin D deficiency tends to increase its rate which brings about the onset of many health conditions. According to analysis, it is said that a correction of vitamin D deficiency can reduce your risk of some diseases by 50%.
You might find this fact confusing, but vitamin D affects about 3,000 of your 24,000 genes. This is due to the high number of vitamin D receptors found throughout the body.
Vitamin D Affects Gene Activity
One important gene regulated by vitamin D is the body’s ability to fight chronic inflammation and infection. It stimulates the production of 200 antimicrobial peptides such as cathelicidin, the natural broad-spectrum antibiotic.
That’s why vitamin D plays a major role in fighting influenza and colds.
The Orthomolecular Medicine released a press in January 2013 which points out the great number of vitamin D medical papers which prove the far-reaching benefits of vitamin D to the mental and physical health.
According to this research, vitamin D can improve:
- Pregnancy risks (lower risk of pre-eclampsia and Cesarean section)
- Diabetes (both type 1 and 2)
- Stroke and heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, and other brain disorders
- Viral and bacterial infections
These recent studies show how vitamin D can treat pain in diabetics, depression, Crohn’s disease and even breast cancer.
Vitamin D and Crohn’s Disease
Previous studies have shown that an increased risk of Crohn’s disease has something to do with vitamin D deficiency. One recent study has shown a significant link between Crohn’s disease and vitamin D susceptibility as well as genotype and vitamin D levels.
Patients with Crohn’s disease have low serum vitamin D levels. Seven DNA sequence variations were examined, two showed an association with vitamin D levels in patients with Crohn’s while four with vitamin D levels among controls.
So, vitamin D can significantly affect the genetic expression in Crohn’s disease. It can improve or worsen the state, depending on its levels in the body.
Vitamin D Can Reduce Pain and Depression
According to many studies, vitamin D supplements can reduce the pain and depression in diabetic women.
The PsychCentral has reported that the experts wanted to find out how vitamin D supplements can affect diabetic women suffering from depression.
At the starting point of the study, 61% of the women reported some neuropathic pain including burning or shooting pain in the legs and feet while 74% experienced sensory pain including tingling and numbness in the hands, fingers, and legs.
Further on in the study, the participants were given 50,000 IU vitamin D2 supplement once a week for six months. By the end of the study, the participants experienced lower levels of depression.
Also, the women with neuropathic and sensory pain have reported that their symptoms decreased after 3-6 months of the vitamin D2 supplementation.
The Ph.D. Todd Doyle, the leading researcher, stated that such vitamin D supplementation is one promising treatment of both depression and pain in type 2 diabetes. He also points out that there are even more promising results if the patients use vitamin D3 instead of D2 since on a long-term basis because it can do more harm than good.
Is Vitamin D3 Better than Vitamin D2?
Vitamin D2, usually prescribed as Drisdol, is a synthetic form made by irradiating fungus and plant. This vitamin is not a response to the sun or the tanning bed, but actually, it is the vitamin D3.
The Cochrane Database has conducted a meta-analysis in 2012 which analyzed the mortality rate of people who used D2 supplements versus those who used D3. The results have shown significant differences between the two.
A study with 94,000 participants found:
- Vitamin D3 users experienced 6% reduced risk
- Vitamin D2 users experienced 2% increased risk
So, this research reveals the role vitamin D has in the management of type 2 diabetes. So, if you consider that 60% of the patients with type 2 diabetes experience vitamin D deficiency, there is still something to discuss.
Another study which showed the benefits of vitamin D in the treatment of type 2 diabetes was published last year. The researchers found a substantial relation between insufficient 25 (OH) D and abdominal obesity concerning insulin resistance.
They also stated that 47% of the increased chances of insulin resistance is associated with the interaction between high body mass index and insufficient vitamin D level.
Diabetes Care published another study which promotes the ability of vitamin D to prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus in pre-diabetic. However, this study is still observed, and causality cannot be still established.
The participants show that the participants with the highest level of vitamin D have 30% fewer chances to develop diabetes than those with lower levels.
Cancer Surgeon Claims that Vitamin D Can Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer
The Professor Kefah Mokbel, a famous breast cancer surgeon, suggests women take vitamin D supplements on a daily basis to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Prof. Mokbel requested Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary to make vitamin D pills available to all people because they would save about 1,000 lives every year.
Also, he recommends that all women above the age of 20 should be given free vitamin D supplements because they can prevent the onset of breast cancer.
The Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska conducted a study which evaluated menopausal women from rural areas in Nebraska for about 4 years. The results have shown that both vitamin D and calcium reduce about 60% of the risk of cancer such as breast, colon and lung cancer.
According to the professor of nursing and medicine at Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska, Joan Lappe, this method is completely safe, inexpensive and easy to take.
Vitamin D Can Be Crucial for Cancer Prevention
Different studies have shown that vitamin D is high in protective qualities against different cancers such as breast, pancreatic, prostate, lung, skin and ovarian cancers.
The theories that associate vitamin D deficiency to cancer have been analyzed and confirmed in more than 200 studies and over 2,500 laboratory trials.
One such study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2007. It was found that a serum 25 (OH) D level of more than 33 ng/mL was linked to 50% lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Two years ago, the International Journal of Cancer had published research. It showed that a 10 ng/mL increase in serum vitamin D levels was linked to 15% reduction of colorectal cancer and 11% reduction of breast cancer.
After 4 years of follow-up, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in 2007. It was found that women who received 1,100 IU vitamin D and 1,450 calcium on a daily basis have 77% higher cancer-free survival rate than those who received calcium by itself or a placebo.
The founder of GrassrootsHealth, Carole Baggerly claims that 90% of the common breast cancer relate to vitamin D deficiency. Even breast cancer was described as “vitamin D deficiency syndrome.”
Optimal Vitamin D Serum Levels – The Most Important
Maintaining an optimal level of vitamin D serum levels is of utmost importance. The minimum vitamin D level for cancer prevention is 40 ng/ml, but an ideal level is around 60-80 ng/ml.
The Annals of Epidemiology has published a review article named “Vitamin D for Cancer Prevention: Global Perspective”. It showed that high serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the main form of vitamin D are connected to low rate of breast, colon, renal, ovarian, aggressive prostate, pancreatic and other cancers.
Epidemiological discoveries and recently discovered mechanisms showed a different cancer etiology model that explains these actions of calcium and 25(OH) D.
Its 7 phases include:
- Natural selection
Vitamin D metabolites prevent the disjunction of cells and provide many benefits for the other phases.
So, it is believed that an increase of the minimum serum from 40 to 60 ng/ml. This would prevent around 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer and 58,000 new cases of breast cancer.
Such a dose would reduce by half the case-fatality rates in people with colorectal, breast and prostate cancer.
Vitamin D Supplementation Guidelines
According to a GrassrootsHealth research, adults need 8,000 IUs on a daily basis to get a serum level of 40ng/ml. It is highly recommended that people get appropriate sun exposure when possible in order to boost the vitamin D levels.
If you are looking for some vitamin D supplement, bear in mind to enrich your diet with more vitamin K.
How to know whether your vitamin level is in the proper range? For this reason, you have to test your vitamin D serum every 6 months since most people vary in their response to oral D3 supplementation and ultraviolet exposure.
Your aim is to get a serum level of 50-70 ng/ml and to maintain that rate for the whole year. Also, make sure you test it in August and February, the highest and lowest points of vitamin D.
Vitamin D and Prevention of Disease
Regarding this issue, we have discussed considerable evidence so far. It shows that vitamin D has a highly important role in the prevention of some diseases and the maintenance of optimal health.
Vitamin D affects around 3,000 out of 30,000 genes in the human body and numerous vitamin D receptors.