Vitamin D supplements may lower your risk of dying from any cause, according to a new European study.
Researchers from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, reviewed 18 trials of more than 57,000 people.
The trials involved doses of vitamin D ranging from 300 international units (IUs) to 2,000 IUs. The average dose was 528 IUs.
After a period of six years, the data showed that people who took vitamin D supplements had a 7 percent lower risk of death compared to people who did not take the supplements.
Further, according to the nine trials that collected blood samples, people who took vitamin D supplements had a 1.4- to 5.2-fold higher level of vitamin D in their blood than those who did not.
Because vitamin D can reduce the proliferation of cells, which occurs in cancer, the researchers believe their finding could lead to new drugs to fight cancer and other illnesses.
Vitamin D also helps your body to uptake calcium for bone health.
The researchers recommend taking between 400 IUs and 600 IUs of vitamin D daily. Your skin can also produce its own vitamin D by getting moderate sun exposure each day.
Archives of Internal Medicine September 10, 2007;167:1730-1737
Forbes.com September 10, 2007
Vitamin D is much more important to your health than you may think. As this new study found, it appears to reduce your risk of death from all causes.
What many people hear, though, is simply that vitamin D can prevent rickets and is good for your bones. But it has so much more impact than that.
Diseases that vitamin D is known to positively influence include:
You may have also read the ground breaking study I posted in August that found 600,000 cases of cancer could be prevented EVERY year
just by increasing your levels of vitamin D.
Even beyond cancer, the researchers pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D3 could prevent diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year!
The Best Way to Get Vitamin D
This is an important study as it is one of the first ones that seems to confirm a benefit on mortality with supplements rather than sun exposure. I still firmly believe, though, that the best way to raise your vitamin D level is NOT with supplements, but by exposure to sunshine on your bare skin.
However, getting sun exposure is not always practical, especially if you live in the Chicago area like I do. During the winter, or during other times of the year when sun exposure is not a possibility for you, then supplementation is an option.
If you decide to supplement your diet with vitamin D, there are two crucial things to know:
- It IS possible to overdose on oral vitamin D supplements (there’s very little risk of overdosing on vitamin D from the sun, however), so you need to have your blood levels of vitamin D measured regularly.
- Only vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the type of vitamin D found naturally in foods like eggs, organ meats, animal fat, cod liver oil, and fish, is appropriate for supplementation. Do NOT use the highly inferior vitamin D2.
What’s an Optimal Vitamin D Level?
The OPTIMAL value of vitamin D that you’re looking for is 45-52 ng/ml (115-128 nmol/l).
You can find out what your levels are by asking your doctor for a blood test called a 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. (Please note, there are two types of vitamin D tests, and this one is the one you want.)
Again, if you are taking vitamin D supplements, you should have your levels tested regularly to make sure you don’t overdose.
The topic of vitamin D, and its immense beneficial impact on health, is something that’s interested me for years, and there’s so much information that I want to share with you that I wrote a book on the topic called Dark Deception.
Dark Deception explores the topic of vitamin D in detail, and exposes why the conventional wisdom on the subject, which encourages you to stay out of the sun, is dead wrong.
How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health
Additionally, a robust and growing body of research clearly shows that vitamin D is absolutely critical for good health and disease prevention. Vitamin D affects your DNA through vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which bind to specific locations of the human genome. Scientists have identified nearly 3,000 genes that are influenced by vitamin D levels, and vitamin D receptors have been found throughout the human body.
Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, vitamin D appears to play a crucial role? This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. It is showing how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.
In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. This is an ongoing campaign during the month of February, and will become an annual event.
To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)
As a participant, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five year program, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every 6 months for your sponsorship of the project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you "it's time for your next test and health survey."