Vitamin D Prescription:
The Healing Power of the Sun & How It Can Save Your Life
We picked up a health-oriented magazine at our local healthy foods store and found some information by Dr. Eric Madrid about an important vitamin that must be accessed from something other than food. We thought this would be good to share since summer is coming on:
Vitamin D is the #1 vitamin of 2008 and will certainly be the most talked about vitamin of 2009. If there is one vitamin in the world that can do more for a person’s health and longevity- vitamin D is it. Fortunately, this vitamin can be made for free, when time is spent in the sun. UV-B light from the sun reacts with our skin, the generate vitamin D. However, to achieve adequate blood levels, most will need to take a vitamin D supplement. Hundreds of studies have been published over the years showing health benefits when one optimizes their blood levels.
Those with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood have less heart attacks, breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, high blood pressure and more. Over the last several decades, scientists and physicians have been telling people to avoid the sun or else they put themselves at risk for skin cancer. While this may be true, 95% of skin cancers are not life threatening (non-melanoma). Avoiding the sun completely appears to be dangerous and will actually create more cancers than it prevents. Preventing sun burns however is important.
Research shows about 80% of the U.S. population have vitamin D deficiency, with blood levels of vitamin D that are below the normal level 32 ng/ml. Few people spend 15 to 20 minutes each day in the sunlight (the time required for adequate vitamin D production) allowing their face, arms and legs to be exposed.
Here’s a list of health concerns resulting from vitamin D deficiency: thin bones and osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, breast cancer (a 2007 study showed a 50% reduction in women with vitamin D levels greater than 52 ng/ml; another study showed that women living in geographic areas with more sunlight exposure had a 25% to 65% reduction in breast cancer), colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, stroke rates, peripheral artery disease, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, fibromyalgia, falls, fractures, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and much more.
Can we get too much vitamin D? There is no such thing as “vitamin D toxicity”. However, those who take in excess of 10,000 I.U. of vitamin D daily may absorb too much calcium resulting in elevated blood calcium levels. As a result, it is important that people check their blood vitamin D and calcium levels before taking anything over 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Those with kidney disease or high blood calcium levels need to consult with their physicians before supplementation.
Get your vitamin D blood level checked. Most people will need at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to get there blood levels above 32 ng/ml. And then, spend 15 minutes a day in the sun (without sunscreen), allowing your arms, faces and legs to be exposed. Preventing chronic disease is the key to longevity and a quality life. Vitamin D supplementation will likely prove that one vitamin that can actually help us achieve this goal.
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