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Ancient TB Case Shows the Power of Vitamin D

January 08, 2008 | 41,287 views
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tuberculosis, sunlight, skin colors, circle of friendsPaleontologists examining a 500,000-year-old skull discovered in Turkey have found the earliest known evidence of tuberculosis – a peril that your ancient ancestors encountered as they migrated out of Africa.

The discovery lends support to the theory that dark-skinned people who migrate out of tropical climates tend to have lower levels of vitamin D, which can adversely affect their immune system.

Dark skin protects against the intense ultraviolet radiation of equatorial countries, but this adaptation became a liability during early migration to more temperate latitudes where sunlight exposure was less prevalent.

Then, as now, your risk of vitamin D deficiency increases when you live in temperate zones or have less access to natural sunlight.

How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health

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. Dr. Heaney is the research director of GrassrootsHealth and is part of the design of the D*action Project as well as analysis of the research findings. GrassrootsHealth shows 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 was 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 study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research 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."

Vitamin D Kit
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Where Do We Go From Here?

GrassrootsHealth is now undertaking a new project entitled the Protect our Children NOW! (POC) project. The aim of this project is to acquire participation of at least 500 pregnant women in a community, and to increase their serum levels to the suggested level of at least 40 ng/ml based on the clinical trial by Hollis & Wagner.  In addition, the project will take these results in 2 years and 'march' on the various institutions in the state/government/to the March of Dimes, to demand that action be taken to protect the world's next generation.

Among other items, the projects expected impact is likely to be a reduction in preterm births,(in some cases up to a 50% reduction). The project already has the blessing of the scientists, the physicians at the Medical University of South Carolina (which are implementing it in their practices) and even the insurance company. Any community can implement this and make a difference for themselves and others. For further information contact Jen Aliano, Project Manager, at jen@grassrootshealth.org.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

This is the latest in a string of recent studies confirming the vital role vitamin D plays in increasing your body’s natural capacity to ward off autoimmune diseases, including preventing and treating tuberculosis. 

Vitamin D deficiency is a growing epidemic across the world, contributing to many chronic debilitating diseases – many of which conventional medicine insist need to be treated with vaccines and medication, rather than recommending proper sunlight exposure. 

I really wonder if they would recommend it if they could devise some method to charge you for it, but for the time being at least you can’t patent sunlight.

In the most of the northern hemishpere, the late winter vitamin D average is so low it falls within the category of “serious deficiency.”  

If you are dark-skinned, your risk of being deficient in vitamin D is vastly increased. As many as 42 percent of African American women, compared to just over 4 percent of white women of childbearing age suffer from vitamin D deficiencies during the summer months. African Americans are also statistically more susceptible to TB infection.

How Vitamin D Deficiency Can Cause Tuberculosis

Although nearly one third of the word’s population carries the tuberculosis bacteria, only about 0.2 percent of those infected with tuberculosis (TB) actually develop a clinically significant infection. This fact indicates that something other than the bacteria itself is responsible for developing the disease.

Several studies have appeared in the last decade, indicating that vitamin D is one of the major keys that dictate whether you will actually develop the disease. These studies have all come to the conclusion that vitamin D deficiency sets off the disease if you are a carrier of the bacteria.

One previous study was able to show an astonishing 100 percent resolution rate by treating TB patients with 10,000 units of vitamin D daily (compared with the 400 units usually advocated by conventional medicine).

How Vitamin D Can Treat Tuberculosis

How does vitamin D treat TB so effectively?

Your white blood cells convert vitamin D that your skin produces from proper sun exposure into an active form, which helps form a protein that kills the tuberculosis bacteria. Therefore the more severe your vitamin D deficiency is, the higher your risk of developing the active form of TB.

Although there are vitamin D supplements on the market, I am convinced that supplementing with oral vitamin D is a poor substitute for proper UVB exposure on your skin,  The primary reason is that it’s  just too darn easy to overdose on vitamin D since it is an oil soluble supplement, which easily stores in fat tissue. It is so easy that I’ve actually done it a few times, so I speak from personal experience on this one. Instead, your safest bet is to get your vitamin D from natural sunlight exposure.  


Because unlike other vitamins, vitamin D is created by your body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. This is the active vitamin D -- vitamin D3. Nearly all the prescription-based supplements are synthetic vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which is FAR LESS effective.  

If you do take oral vitamin D supplements, make sure you get your vitamin D level tested before you begin. Please bear in mind that there are TWO vitamin D tests: 1, 25(OH)D and 25(OH)D. The correct test your doctor needs to order is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, as it’s a much better marker of overall vitamin D status. 

“Normal” 25-hydroxyvitamin D lab values are between 20-56 ng/ml (50-140 nmol/l). However, this range is far too broad to be ideal. In fact, your vitamin D level should never be below 32 ng/ml, and any levels below 20 ng/ml are considered serious deficiency states. Instead, the OPTIMAL value you’re looking for is 50-55 ng/ml (115-128 nmol/l). 

For more in-depth information about sunlight’s vital role in maintaining optimal health, I recommend reading my special report on the topic. Also keep an eye out for my forthcoming book, Dark Deception, which is slated for publication sometime this year.  Previous studies have actually found that more than one million people die every year from lack of sun exposure and subsequent vitamin D deficiency, so fear of the sun is really something that needs to be overcome. My book will take an in-depth look at all of the various issues relating to sunscreen, cancer, vitamin D, and sunlight -- and expose why the conventional wisdom to stay out of the sun is dead wrong.

If you simply are unable to access sunlight during the winter then ideally you will want to consider using a safe tanning bed.

Why You Should Not Ignore Your Emotional Issues

Another strong contributor to TB is your emotional issues. Needless to say, Energy psychology tools are the way to go if you want to optimize your health by resolving long-standing emotional issues. The Emotional Freedom technique, which uses simple tapping techniques, is one of the most effective energy therapies out there.

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