Vitamin D: An Undervalued Miracle

Vitamin D is a miracle, no doubt about it. It can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, build bones and stop osteoporosis, and prevent up to 70% of cancers. So why are so many Americans – up to 58% – so deficient in vitamin D? Mostly because this vitamin – actually a pro-hormone – has very few food sources, and many people don’t get the vitamin D they need from exposure to sunlight. Plus, because vitamin D uses cholesterol as a building block, cholesterol-lowering drugs actually make it more difficult for your body to synthesize vitamin D. And as we age, our skin changes structure in a way that can reduce vitamin D production by up to 60%. Plus, there are genetic factors involved as well. A polymorphism – a slight mutation – on the VDR (vitamin D receptor) gene makes it more difficult for the body to absorb and use available vitamin D, whether from sunlight or supplements. Our old recommended daily requirements for vitamin D are partly to blame as well. They have been set at 400 IUs, which is barely 10% of what the body needs. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is associated with at least 17 forms of cancer. Clinical research has found that over 75% of breast cancer survivors in their studies were vitamin D deficient, and other studies conclude that high levels of vitamin D – much higher than our current recommendations – may reduce the risk of breast cancer by 50%! That’s an amazing statistic – if vitamin D were a pharmaceutical drug, the manufacturer could practically boast a “miracle cure”. And yet, we tend to overlook something as simple as a nutrient like vitamin D. Other studies have found that vitamin D is able to enter breast cancer cells and trigger cell death – in other words, vitamin D can kill breast cancer cells. While there is no agreement on how much vitamin D a person needs for a daily intake, current research certainly shows a need for higher recommendations. In some disease treatment, extremely high dosages of 50,000 to 100,000 IU have been used, but for most of us, a daily intake of 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D – possibly boosting it in a range of 4,000 to 6,000 IU for cancer prevention – is probably just right.

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.

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