Current research shows that new cases of breast cancer and colon cancer could be prevented by simply raising vitamin-D blood levels. That’s about 600,000 new cases of breast and colon cancer a year!
Low levels of vitamin D are associated with hypotension, migraine headaches, influenza, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, periodontal disease, epilepsy, osteoporosis, heart disease, and osteoarthritis. Low vitamin-D levels are also associated with infertility, PMS, fatigue, seasonal affective disorder, depression, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Crohn’s disease. It has been shown to improve survival in lung cancer patients, reduce falls in the elderly, and increase performance in adults. Vitamin D is a smart choice for any of the conditions previously mentioned.
So, how can one vitamin help so many conditions? Dr. Stuart Grace Green, a former associate of mine, states in his book on vitamin D that there are 3,000 receptor sites for vitamin D in the body. All of your body’s cells have vitamin-D receptor sites. This means that vitamin D communicates with all the cells in your body and your cells use vitamin D to directly regulate your genes. This is why vitamin D can influence issues in so many areas of the body, such as inflammation, cardiovascular health, and cancer prevention.
It’s important to know that low vitamin D is a risk factor for several cancers. I recommend vitamin D for all my patients. A safe dose is 2,000 IU for children and 4,000 IU for adults. I like to test for vitamin D levels with a simple blood test and I highly recommend that you do this with your treating health-care provider. You should get a 25[hydroxyl] vitamin D level as a base line and then monitor yearly. The new data suggest that you want the range to be at least 50ng/ml, and some suggest that you shoot for 80ng/ml.
Most of the patients I have tested have been very low in vitamin D. There are many reasons for this. As we get older, the skin’s ability to convert vitamin D decreases. As we get older, we tend to spend less time in the sun. Also, it’s been shown in studies that those who do not use sunscreen have twice the amount of vitamin D than those that use sunscreen do. Different diseases that affect the stomach, intestinal tract, the liver, which is involved in the conversion of vitamin D, and the kidneys, where vitamin D is converted into the active form, will certainly affect vitamin-D levels. There are medications that interfere with the body’s production of vitamin D as well as alcohol. Corticosteroids will also decrease vitamin D. Any food that will decrease the absorption of fat such as olestra (found in some fat-free foods) and mineral oils taken as a laxative may interfere with absorption of vitamin D. Statin drugs don’t directly affect vitamin D, but they reduce cholesterol and cholesterol is needed to make 7-hydroxycholesterol, which is one of the beginning steps to making vitamin D. This can be a problem long-term. Anti-convulsant medications may interfere with the liver and kidneys’ ability to convert and activate vitamin D. Certain antibiotics are also thought to interfere with the ability of the liver and kidneys to activate vitamin D.
In summary, I highly recommend getting your vitamin D levels tested and supplement with a good absorbable product for one of the best preventative things you can do.