Overview of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a major component for maintaining bone density and strength and helps to absorb much needed calcium from the intestines. A lack of Vitamin D causes calcium-depleted bones, which increases the risk of fractures due to weak bones. Millions of Americans lack a sufficient amount of Vitamin D in their blood to protect their bones. The current recommended daily intake for Vitamin D runs from 200-600 IU’s per day, depending on your age. However, in light of recent research, and with most people testing “severely deficient” in blood testing today, this level of supplementation seems to be inadequate.
Vitamin D concentration in the body is correlated with immune function (i.e. fighting off the flu and preventing cancer), and contributes in multiple ways to the optimal function of the human body as virtually every cell has a receptor for Vitamin D. This includes the cells of the pancreas where vitamin D has its impact on blood sugar.
Vitamin D2 vs. Vitamin D3
If you are like most North Americans, the form of Vitamin D you are most likely lacking, and with which you need to supplement, is Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) – not Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D3 is not a vitamin in the traditional sense, but actually a pro-hormone that is produced in the skin from cholesterol in response to absorbing UVB rays. When this pro-hormone is converted via the liver, it is then transported to the kidneys and carried to the cell’s nucleus, the heart of every cell, where it influences its physiology to take the healthy pathways by dictating genetic expression.
Most of us are lacking several thousand IU’s of Vitamin D3 per day because we spend our days indoors – and even in the summer, we move from an air-conditioned house, to an air-conditioned car, to an air-conditioned office building, to an air-conditioned bedroom for the night … Then we repeat the cycle the next day.
Blood Serum Levels of 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D
The level of Vitamin D circulating in our system is directly proportionate to the amount of skin exposed to sunlight. According to leading experts in medicine today, to have acceptable levels of 60-80 ng/mL we need 10-15 minutes of mid-day sun with 40% body exposure, and for most of us this is not possible.
Vitamin D Supplementation
Traditionally, people have been taught to supplement with 1000-2000 IU’s of Vitamin D per day, to maintain levels above 20 ng/mL in order to prevent Rickets. Research compiled by Garland and Baggerly for GrassrootsHealth shows that levels should be at least 60 ng/mL to prevent diseases related to Vitamin D deficiency such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and osteoporosis. Vitamin D testing often reveals that most people more accurately need to supplement with 5,000 for maintenance, or 10,000 IU per day until health levels are reached and verified by follow-up testing.
The following concentrations of Vitamin D3 indicate your risk of various illnesses:
< 20 Deficiency, high risk of various conditions
20-32 Insufficiency, mild risk of various conditions
32-100 Sufficiency, possibly enough in certain individuals
60-80 Most optimal, preferred range, normal in sunny countries. This range reduces severity of various conditions and possibly necessary for optimal health in certain individuals.
> 100 Possibly unsafe levels
> 150 Toxic levels, impossible to achieve with sun alone
The above reference ranges are not based on guidelines set by governing bodies, but on clinical research in the natural health field. “Acceptable” ranges advocated by governing bodies may not meet the same standards as those endorsed by Maximized Living.
The Maximized Living Approach
The Maximized Living approach includes customized nutrition and supplementation programs and ensuring proper function of the central nerve system which ultimately controls your body’s conversion of pro-hormones including Vitamin D3.
While it would be most ideal to get all the nutrients you need from food, the best source of D3 is the sun. In absence of regular sunlight, or in cases where body levels test lower than 60 ng/mL, be sure to supplement with a healthy form of Vitamin D3 on a daily basis. Other sources of D3 include salmon and mushrooms, but these do not provide nearly as much D3 as direct sunshine.
More important than getting the right amount of nutrients for optimal function is your body’s ability to assimilate them. The process, guided by the central nerve system, is the most overlooked element in most nutritional supplementation programs. Be sure to request a scan of your nerve system by infrared thermography or by chiropractic X-ray to ensure that maximum nerve supply is reaching every organ of the body.
Fundamentally, aligning your lifestyle with the 5 Essentials of Maximized Living will help you to live by tested principles and practices that have kept cultures thriving for thousands of years. One of those practices observed in nearly all cultures of centenarians is everyday safe sun exposure. Unfortunately, the indoor North American lifestyle has interfered with our innate affinity to get sunshine – and as with all practices in Maximized Living, it is necessary to remove the interference to promote true optimal healing.
This article was submitted by Dr. B.J. Hardick