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Is Vitamin D the "Nutrient of the Decade?"

March 08, 2008 | 99,245 views
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sunbathe, vitamin D, sun exposure, sunlightVitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” has been associated with so many health benefits that it may become the “nutrient of the decade.”

While federal officials have resisted increasing the daily recommended level of vitamin D out of fears of overdose toxicity, increasing evidence suggests that the currently recommended intake levels are not adequate to prevent the serious diseases linked to low vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D has been found to;
  • Strengthen bones
  • Reduce tumor growth
  • Lower your risk of cancer
  • Reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis
  • Lower your risk of diabetes
Through most of human history, sunlight was the primary source of vitamin D. Based on how much time you spend in the sun, you may also need additional sources, such as from foods (vitamin D is found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, bluefish, catfish, sardines and tuna) or vitamin D3 supplements.

Researchers like Bruce W. Hollis believe that the current top recommended daily level of 2,000 I.U. for vitamin D is far too low. Dr. Hollis has been giving pregnant women 4,000 I.U. a day, and nursing women 6,000, with no adverse effects.

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:

If you live in the United States in an area where, in the winter, you are regularly digging out from snow, unable to go outside without a heavy sweater or coat, or find yourself looking up at yet another gray, cloudy sky, your vitamin D levels are probably too low.

In fact, it is even more likely that you are deficient.

The late winter average of vitamin D levels in the United States is only about 15-18 ng/ml -- and any levels below 20 ng/ml are considered serious deficiency states that will increase your risk of breast and prostate cancers and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Ideally, when you have your vitamin D levels tested -- something I advise everyone to do, especially if you’re taking a vitamin D supplement or have never had it done before -- the OPTIMAL value that you’re looking for is 50-55 ng/ml.

Be sure when you do so that you ask your doctor for the correct test, which is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Now is the Time to Get Your Vitamin D Levels Where They Need to Be

Folks, it’s late winter, and it will be several weeks or more before it’s warm enough to get adequate sun exposure in many areas of the United States. This is, of course, your best choice to get vitamin D. All you need to do is expose your skin to the sun, and it will do the rest for you, producing exactly the amount of vitamin D that your body needs to stay healthy.

The challenge, though, is that many of you have been cooped up inside, and your vitamin D stores from summer (IF you even had any) will have long since been used up. This is because vitamin D is stored in your blood for a few weeks and in your fat for just a few months.

According to one of the leading vitamin D researchers in the world, William B. Grant, Ph.D., vitamin D levels generally drop by 20 percent to 30 percent during winter in mid attitudes and the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency increases markedly during this time.

So right now, many Americans are running on fumes when it comes to vitamin D.

These low winter/springtime vitamin D levels are associated with the development of a number of autoimmune diseases such as autism and type 1 diabetes, and schizophrenia -- and cancer detection also increases in the winter/spring as well, according to Grant’s research.

To put it simply, if you ignore this advice and choose not to make sure your vitamin D levels are where they should be, you could easily be increasing your risk for serious chronic diseases.

Nutrient of the Decade? How About Nutrient of the Century?

I believe the latter would be much more fitting. I can’t think of another nutrient that so many people are deficient in, yet that has the potential to prevent diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year -- including 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers!

Meanwhile, this is a nutrient that you can get for FREE, simply by doing something that inherently feels great to most of us: letting the sun shine on your bare skin.

I have detailed everything you need to know to get your vitamin D levels up to par in my new book, Dark Deception, which will be coming out soon.

In the meantime, while I don’t normally recommend you run out to see your doctor, do run out and get your vitamin D levels tested.

When you get your results, if they’re not in the optimal range (50-55 ng/ml) then make it your priority to get them there by:
  • Getting plenty of safe sun exposure when the weather warms up (just don’t get burned!)
  • Considering the use of a safe tanning bed (one that has the X-rays and electromagnetic field emissions removed)
  • Taking a vitamin D3 supplement (if you opt for this route, keep in mind that you should continue to get your vitamin D levels tested so that you don’t overdose)

[+] Sources and References

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Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
Alliance for Natural Health USA
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico