Researchers continue to prove the importance of vitamin D and adequate sun exposure as the perfect way to optimize the levels of this vitamin in the body.

 However, during the winter, it would be best to use artificial UVB light, as it has been found that UV ray exposure also offers many health benefits above and beyond the production of this vitamin. Moreover, you should also try to obtain vitamin D from your diet.The problem with standard tanning beds lies in the magnetic ballets.  If electronic ballast is used, the effects are less damaging.

The bulbs being used are yet another concern since there is a great likelihood that they contain only UVA light which doesn’t increase vitamin D but is responsible for the tan only.  Getting vitamin D from the sun is not possible for much of the northern hemisphere and these people must rely on artificial UVB light to optimize vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a potent neuroregulatory steroidal hormone which tells a lot about its health benefits.  Therefore, it is not surprising that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a hundred of common health issues. According to one analysis, reversing vitamin D deficiency may reduce your risk of dying by 50%.

Vitamin D affects approximately 3,000 of your 24,000 genes, which is done via vitamin D receptors found throughout the body.

Vitamin D Beneficially Affects Gene Activity
Vitamin D Beneficially Affects Gene Activity

Vitamin D up-regulates body`s ability to combat chronic inflammation and infections. It is also responsible for the production of more than 200 anti-microbial peptides, out of which cathelicidin is the most important.

This is one of the reasons why vitamin D is effective against influenza and colds. According to a 2013 press release by Orthomolecular Medicine, vitamin D provides remarkable benefits to both physical and mental health, including the following:

  • Autism, Alzheimer’s, and other brain dysfunction
  • Bacterial and viral infections
  • Pregnancy outcomes (reduced risk of Cesarean section and pre-eclampsia)
  • Type 1 and 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease and stroke
Relevance of Vitamin D in Crohn’s Disease

Earlier research linked low vitamin D levels with an increased risk of Chron`s disease and shown that fixing vitamin D deficiency improves symptoms of the disease,  recent study found “significant interaction between vitamin D levels and Crohn’s disease susceptibility, as well as a significant association between vitamin D levels and genotype.”

Patients with Chron`s disease have been found to have low serum vitamin D levels.  The researchers examined seven DNA sequence variations and two of them showed a notable associated with vitamin D levels in patients with Chron`s disease and four of them were associated with vitamin D levels among controls.

Vitamin D May Reduce Depression and Pain

Vitamin D supplementation has been also found to reduce depression and pain in women diagnosed with diabetes. As reported by PsychCentral:

“The investigators set out to determine how vitamin D supplementation might affect women with type 2 diabetes who were also suffering from depression.

At the beginning of the study, 61 percent of women reported neuropathic pain, such as shooting or burning pain in their legs and feet, and 74 percent had sensory pain, such as numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers and legs.

During the course of the study, the participants took a 50,000 IU vitamin D2 supplement every week for 6 months. By the end of the study, the women’s depression levels had significantly improved following the supplementation.

Furthermore, participants who suffered from neuropathic and/or sensory pain at the beginning of the study reported that these symptoms decreased at 3 and 6 months following vitamin D2 supplementation.”

Why I Recommend Vitamin D3 Over D2

Drisdol is synthetic version of vitamin D2 and is made via radiation of fungus and plant matter.  Unlike vitamin D3, this version is not produced by the body when exposed to sun or exposure to safe tanning beds.

According to a 2012 study which dealt with assessment of mortality rates for people who supplemented with D2 versus those who supplemented with vitamin D3,   there was a 6% risk reduction among those who used vitamin D and 2% risk increase among those who used D2.

Cut Your Breast Cancer Risk with Vitamin D, Cancer Surgeon Suggests

Professor Kefah Mokbel, a British breast cancer surgeon, supplementation with vitamin D helps cut breast cancer risk. According to the article,

Prof. Mokbel has also requested Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, to make [vitamin D] pills freely available as this would result in saving about a 1,000 lives annually. ‘I am calling for all women from the age of 20 to be given free vitamin D supplements on the NHS because it is effective in protecting against breast cancer,’ Prof. Mokbel said.

…[R]esearch1011 conducted by the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb, which analyzed menopausal women from rural eastern Nebraska for over four years, revealed that taking vitamin D supplements along with calcium cut about 60 percent risk of cancer, including breast, lung and colon cancer…’It’s inexpensive, it’s safe, and it’s easy to take. It’s something that should be considered by a lot of people,’ says Joan Lappe, professor of nursing and medicine at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb. ‘It’s low-risk with maybe a high pay-off.’”

Vitamin D Is Critical for Cancer Prevention

Mounting evidence shows that vitamin D has enormous protective effect against various cancer types, including lung, ovarian, breast, prostate, pancreatic, and skin cancers.  This information stems from over 2,500 laboratory trials as well as 200 epidemiological studies.

For instance, according to a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, a serum 25(OH)D level of more than 33 ng/mL was linked to 50 % lower risk of colorectal cancer. Additionally, a research reported by the International Journal of Cancer found out that a 10 ng/ml increase in serum vitamin D levels was associated with a 15 % reduction in colorectal cancer incidence and 11 % reduction in breast cancer incidence.

Most Important—Maintaining Optimal Vitamin D Serum Levels

Keeping a beneficial serum level at all times is extremely important. Studies show that 40ng/ml is the minimum needed foe cancer prevention. According to a 2009 study,

“Higher serum levels of the main circulating form of vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), are associated with substantially lower incidence rates of colon, breast, ovarian, renal, pancreatic, aggressive prostate and other cancers. Epidemiological findings combined with newly discovered mechanisms suggest a new model of cancer etiology that accounts for these actions of 25(OH)D and calcium. Its seven phases are disjunction, initiation, natural selection, overgrowth, metastasis, involution, and transition (abbreviated DINOMIT). Vitamin D metabolites prevent disjunction of cells and are beneficial in other phases.

It is projected that raising the minimum year-around serum 25(OH)D level to 40 to 60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L) would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, and three fourths of deaths from these diseases in the United States and Canada, based on observational studies combined with a randomized trial.

Such intakes also are expected to reduce case-fatality rates of patients who have breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer by half… The time has arrived for nationally coordinated action to substantially increase intake of vitamin D and calcium.”

Last but not least, it is important to provide general supplementation guidelines. A research by GrassrootsHealth suggests that adult individuals need 8,000 IUs daily to reach a serum level of 40 ng/ml, which is considered a healthy serum level. With this being said it is recommended to increase your sun exposure and wisely choose your supplements to boost your vitamin D levels.

Sources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/02/vitamin-d-deficiency-depression.aspx
http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d?m=0

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