Vitamin D, the nutrient now dubbed "the sunshine vitamin," is gaining recognition among scientists for its major health benefits.
Vitamin D is different from other vitamins in that it influences the entire body -- receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from the brain to the bones.
Vitamin D is also unique in that it's the only vitamin that humans make on their own -- after exposure to ultraviolet B light from the sun. It takes a fair-skinned person only 15 minutes or less to generate 10,000 to 20,000 IU of vitamin D on a sunny day.
All of vitamin D's health effects are not yet known, but it's clear that the vitamin is a "blockbuster" nutrient capable of:
- Strengthening bones and the immune system
- Slowing down cancer
- Preventing type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia
- Providing pain relief
Concerns of Vitamin D Deficiency
Many scientists believe vitamin D deficiency is an unrecognized epidemic worldwide. In the <!--?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /--><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">United States</st1:place></st1:country-region>, experts are calling for revisions to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) vitamin D recommendations, which are outdated.
The FDA recommends 200 IU of vitamin D daily for those under 51 and 400 IU for those 51 to 70. However, researchers say the recommendations should be around 1,000 IU daily for all ages and perhaps as high as 2,000 IU.
OK, I "cheated" a bit to get you to click on this important topic, and I called vitamin D a drug -- just don't let the FDA know or they might want to shut the site down.
"What are you talking about?" you ask.
Well, if I was to sell you vitamin D with the claims below I would immediately be shut down by the FDA because the claims are not proven. Fortunately, I don't have to sell you this supplement because the best way to get this nutrient is by exposure to sunshine, and the last time I checked that was absolutely free.
But if you click on the link from the LA Times you will see I got the idea of calling vitamin D a wonder drug from them. The conventional media is starting to pick up on the fact that this amazing nutrient is good for just about everything that ails you.
Can you take this supplement orally? Absolutely. Are many clinicians now aware of vitamin D's benefits promoting high doses of this supplement? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is equally true.
Why is that a problem?
Because quite simply it is unnatural to take vitamin D orally. You can do so and will achieve many of the benefits, but you also run a serious risk of overdosing if you stay on it for any length of time. Believe me -- I have overdosed on vitamin D many times.
That is why it is absolutely imperative if you take any oral vitamin D to regularly check your blood levels to make sure you don't overdose.
I have arranged my life so I am able to get regular sun exposure even in the winter, as I snowbird away from my residence just outside of <!--?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /--><st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city> and work off-site. I realize most people are unable to do that, and if I wasn't, I would take oral vitamin D (from cod liver oil) and monitor my blood levels very carefully in the winter.
Your body was designed to regularly be exposed to sunshine and when you limit or avoid the sun you will start to suffer health problems. Vitamin D deficiency (85 percent of those in the United States are deficient) is one of the primary ones, but there are many others and a large number of them have not even been discovered yet.
Good old fashioned commonsense tells you that it is healthy to have some healthy sun exposure.
Now you might be wondering by now what those seven diseases are. I can assure you that vitamin D positively influences far more than seven conditions, but I stopped at seven as it is a great illustration.
Diseases That Vitamin D Positively Influences