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Vitamin D Guards Against Artery Disease

May 10, 2008 | 49,459 views

sunlight exposureVitamin D may protect against peripheral artery disease (PAD), a disease in which fatty deposits restrict blood flow to your limbs. PAD most often reduces blood flow to your legs, causing pain and numbness. It can impair your ability to walk and in some cases lead to amputation.

Scientists found that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood experience an increased risk for the condition.

The researchers based the findings on a U.S. government health survey involving almost 5,000 adults who underwent PAD assessment and had their blood vitamin D levels measured. The 25 percent of people with the lowest vitamin D levels were 80 percent more likely to have PAD than those in the highest 25 percent.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

This is good news to hear as the weather in the United States continues to warm up … and getting some regular sun exposure is becoming easier for much of the population.

Without question, appropriate sun exposure, of course, is the best way to get your vitamin D levels where they should be. Using oral vitamin D can work but you risk the danger of overdosing since your body was never designed to get its vitamin D this way. If it were, it would be in breast milk, and as you probably know, there isn’t a shred of vitamin D in breast milk. Although infants clearly need vitamin D for optimal bone growth and other metabolic processes, they were designed to get it from the sun shining on their uncovered skin.

So how can you find out if your vitamin D levels are adequate? Go to a doctor and ask for a 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, blood test.

When you get the results, don’t follow the typical “normal” reference range, as these are too low. The OPTIMAL value that you’re looking for is 45-52 ng/ml (115-128 nmol/l).

Keeping your level in this range, and even erring toward the higher numbers in this range, is going to give you the most protective benefit. If you find that your levels are low, you need to get out in the sun and possibly take a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement. If you opt for this latter approach, make sure you continue to monitor your vitamin D levels so that you do not overdose.

The other option to get your vitamin D is to use a safe tanning bed that has harmful emissions shielded, but sunlight is still the best approach.

As long as you have access to the sun, though, you can use it to your advantage to prevent not only PAD but also 16 types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and much, much more.

What Else Can You do for Peripheral Artery Disease?

Peripheral artery disease is a common circulatory problem that, if left unaddressed, can lead to heart disease and stroke. However, if you go to a conventional doctor, you will likely be given a host of drugs -- from cholesterol-lowering medications to drugs to lower high blood pressure and prevent blood clots.

This not only increases your risk of numerous side effects, but it also completely skirts over the underlying cause of this condition, which is related to your lifestyle.

What you often won’t hear is that, along with getting plenty of sun exposure, you can reduce your risk of PAD, and even stop the progression of the disease, by:

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