vitamin d3 - the 'sunshine' vitamin

Low Vitamin D levels are linked to an increased risk of Childhood Diabetes, Vision Problems, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Osteoporosis, Heart Disease and much more.

Vitamin D Facts:
» One of the most important micronutrients due to its anti-cancer, anti-obesity & mood-boosting qualities.

» 50% of men & women are deficient because they are not exposed to adequate sun due to office-bound jobs, indoor lifestyles and the use of sunscreen which reduces levels by 80%+. In studies undertaken in countries with similar sunlight conditions to South Africa (Australia & New Zealand), the highest rates of deficiency occur in dark-skinned or pregnant women (80% deficiency!). The elderly had deficiency rates of 76%, with young adults 23-43% deficient!

» Deficiency results in osteoporosis, cancer, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart attacks, depressed mood & obesity (ever noticed how people who suntan regularly lose weight and feel great - it is due to sunlight-induced vitamin D production). 

» Research in 2007 shows 600,000 cases of cancer can be prevented EVERY YEAR through regular preventative supplementation with Vitamin D.

» A broken hip resulting from osteoporosis poses a greater risk of death than any type of cancer. Vitamin D helps prevent both.

» Recent research shows a previously recommended 400IU per day dose is 5 times too little. Optimal vitamin D consumption should be 2000IU daily.

From October through March in many cities across the (northern) world, the sun's rays are not strong enough to synthesize vitamin D naturally. Moreover the skin's ability to produce the vitamin drops with age, putting men and women over the age of 50, particular at risk.

Around 90% of vitamin D is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. The so-called sunshine vitamin is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Deficiencies in children can trigger rickets, a bone disease that leaves children with soft bones and skeletal deformities.

As breast milk doesn’t contain sufficient levels of vitamin D, public health officials recommend that infants who are exclusively breastfed should take a supplement. Autism affects 1 in 86 children in the UK (Lancet 20016) and is steadily rising. It seems to directly correspond with advice to pregnant women to stay out of the sun and wear protection at all times. Dr Cannell of Alascadero State Hospital in California reported that autism is more prevalent where UVB rays needed to make vitamin D are lacking.

In adults, low levels can cause osteoporosis, putting us at risk of fractures. People with darker skin tones are also often advised to take a supplement as they have more difficulty generating natural vitamin D from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Also people with a reduced ability to absorb dietary fat, including people suffering from Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis or liver disease, often have low vitamin D levels.

A Belfast study showed inadequate levels of Vitamin D in 99% of women tested.

BEWARE: The safest and most effective type of vitamin D is the D3 form, not the D1 or D2 form

Children & the Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been shown time & again to be crucial to a baby’s brain development throughout pregnancy, and throughout their early years. Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of over 200 genes. It helps to protect brain and nerve cells and is important for their structure and function. Quite simply, the brain cannot function properly without adequate vitamin D.

Scientists from Bristol University’s School of Social and Community Medicine reported “higher levels of vitamin D can lower the risk of mental health problems in children”. Children with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to suffer from depression they found.

Vitamin D, Flu & Asthma Attacks
Recent scientific studies show that asthmatics with lower vitamin D levels were at five times the risk for colds & flu. Researchers concluded children could take 1,200IU per day starting in the autumn to prevent flu & asthma attacks during flu season.

Vitamin D & Childhood Diabetes
Obese children with low levels of vitamin D may be more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research. The study found that obese children with low levels of vitamin D had higher levels of insulin resistance, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

In the study, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center measured vitamin D levels in 411 obese children and 87 others of a normal weight, aged between six and 16. They also measured blood sugar levels, insulin levels, blood pressure and body mass index (BMI).

Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, which is needed to lower blood sugar levels, or when the body's cells become less responsive to the hormone. The study found that those who were obese were more than 3 times more likely to be deficient in vitamin D compared with the non-obese children.

The obese children had more unhealthy diets and were more likely to skip breakfast and consume more fizzy drinks and juices, which contribute to low vitamin D levels.

Dr Micah Olson, who led the study, said: "Our study found that obese children with lower vitamin D levels had higher degrees of insulin resistance." The study findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Vitamin D Deficiency, Stroke, Heart Disease and Death!
A study by researchers at the Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, shows vitamin D contributes to a strong and healthy heart - and that inadequate levels of the vitamin may significantly increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and death, even among people who have never had heart disease.

The researchers found that patients with very low levels of vitamin D were 77% more likely to die, 45% more likely to develop coronary artery disease, 78% more likely to have a stroke and twice as likely to develop heart failure compared with patients whose levels were normal.

“The results are quite surprising and very important”, said Heidi May, an epidemiologist with the research team and one of the study authors. “Vitamin D deficiency is easily treated. If increasing levels of vitamin D can decrease some risk associated with these cardiovascular diseases, it could have a significant public health impact.”

Vitamin D may Boost Eyesight
Vitamin D supplements may help to combat the effects of age-related eye disease, a study suggests. Researchers said they hope the findings mean that vitamin D supplements could provide a simple and effective way to combat age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the most common form of sight loss in the UK, affecting around half a million people. AMD affects the eye's retina and causes the loss of central vision, so the person is left with only side vision.

Lead researcher Professor Glen Jeffery, from the Institute of Opthalmology at University College London, said the blood vessels supplying the retina can become inflamed and accumulate debris as we age.

"In humans this can result in a decline of up to 30% in the numbers of light receptive cells in the eye by the time we are 70 and so lead to poorer vision," he said. However, when vitamin D injections were given every three days for just six weeks, the researchers found that inflammation was reduced, the debris partially removed and tests showed vision was improved.

Multiple Sclerosis & Vitamin D Deficiency
Food in Scotland should be laced with Vitamin D to stave off Multiple Sclerosis (MS) experts say!! Scotland's food supply should be laced with vitamin D in a bid to cut the high rate of multiple sclerosis (about 10,000 people in Scotland have MS) in the sun-deprived region, experts have said.

Scotland has some of the highest MS levels in the world and many experts believe vitamin D deficiency is a major contributing factor. Vitamin D deficiency is caused by a lack of sunlight and for half of the year no one living in Scotland gets enough UVB rays from the sun on their skin to make adequate levels of the vitamin D.

Ray of light?
Medical experts believe fortifying Scotland's food supply could tackle high MS levels in the absence of regular sunshine.

Oxford academic Professor George Ebers says the evidence of the link between MS and vitamin D deficiency is so strong it warrants fortifying food with it, the Guardian newspaper reported. In addition, many do not eat enough of the foods that contain it, such as oily fish.

Food sources of Vitamin D such as fish, eggs and mushrooms contain very little compared to what we can make from the right kind of sunlight

Professor Ebers, from the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and his team recently published their findings of a genetic link between MS and an uncommon inability for the body to produce vitamin D.

He told The Guardian, “Now the question is, can we finally persuade the public health authorities that they should supplement the population?”

There have long been theories that high numbers of people with MS live in areas deprived of sunshine - with low levels for those in countries with year-round sunshine. This is the first recognised study that offers strong scientific evidence of its link to MS.

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