It’s been a while since I’ve posted any articles about health issues, mostly because I spend so many hours now writing and researching for Dr. Mercola that I have less time and energy to write articles for my own website.
But there is something I’ve been learning about over the last several months, through my research and affiliation with Dr. Mercola, that is so important, so vital for people to know about, that I feel it is important to take time to post on it.
That something is vitamin D.
One of the things I do in my position with Dr. Mercola is to transcribe and illustrate some of the doctor’s Inner Circle expert interviews. He does an in-depth 2-3 hour interview each month with one of the world’s leading experts on a health-related topic, then offers those interviews to people as part of a subscription called the Inner Circle. I love to work on the transcripts because they are so fascinating and informative.
Two of the Inner Circle interviews I’ve worked on recently were with a couple of the world’s leading vitamin D scientists, physicians who are on the cutting edge of the latest research in this area. What they have learned about this nutrient boggles the mind.
They now know that vitamin D is not “just a nutrient.” It’s actually a repair and maintenance steroid-like hormone that regulates over 3,000 genes in our bodies. That’s not an insignificant fact, given we only have 30,000 genes—so that’s 10%!
Vitamin D may have literally thousands of health benefits. They are just beginning to scratch the surface.
A meta-analysis of 18 randomized controlled trials completed just last year found that supplemental vitamin D significantly reduces mortality from all causes. We’re not just talking about bones and osteoporosis…we’re talking cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, autism, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, asthma, infertility, migraines, diabetes 1 and 2, and on and on.
Vitamin D is also a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic and antiviral, and one of the most powerful flu combatants. If you want to avoid the flu, look no further.
How do you know if you are vitamin D deficient?
Chances are that you are deficient, unless you live in a tropical zone and work outside with much of your skin exposed to the sun every day. Researchers estimate that 85% of North Americans are severely deficient in vitamin D, and this is a major contributing factor to today’s high rates of degenerative illness.
In fact, some scientists are calling it a “vitamin D deficiency pandemic.”
The best way to make vitamin D is through UV exposure. By exposing most of the skin (you must be naked or nearly so) to the sun for 10-20 minutes, just until it begins to blush pink but not burn, you are creating 20,000 units of vitamin D for yourself. This is optimal exposure, and if you can do this a few times per week, there is no need for supplementation.
However, for practical purposes, most of us cannot do this on a daily or even weekly basis. So, you will need to get your D from artificial UV or an oral supplement.
The RDA’s on your vitamin bottle are seriously outdated when it comes to vitamin D—all of these breakthroughs have been in the past 10 years, since the RDA was set. In fact, the researcher interviewed in the most recent Inner Circle interview–not even published yet– was on the panel responsible for setting the existing RDA’s, and he said the 1997 RDA’s are far too low to do anyone any good.
So there you go…straight from the horse’s mouth.
To see what your levels really should be, refer to this article on the Vitamin D Council website for current recommendations. If you do decide to take a vitamin D supplement:
- Make sure you take D3 only.
- Make sure you have blood level checked after your first 4-6 weeks of supplementation. Be sure to get the right type of test since the form of vitamin D test most often ordered does not offer an accurate reflection of your actual vitamin D level. The correct test is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and the most reliable testing is done by LabCorp.
There is a huge amount of information available on the internet about vitamin D. To give you a little kick start, here are a few key links. If you want to delve into it further, go to mercola.com and type “vitamin D” in the search window–you’ll literally come up with over 1,200 pages of articles on vitamin D.