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Vitamin D used to be discussed simply in the context of rickets, the dramatic weakening and softening of bones caused by severe calcium and phosphorous deficiency (a condition directly linked to severe vitamin D deficiency).

For many years, this myopic view kept the medical mainstream’s focus on preserving only the minimum levels of vitamin D necessary to maintain bone health. While warding off rickets is certainly a worthy goal, it’s just one of vitamin D’s countless functions.

Though we’ve known of vitamin D’s vital and multi-faceted role in maintaining health for some time, only in recent years have we begun to take this knowledge to heart.

Even the mainstream now acknowledges that vitamin D—which isn’t just a vitamin, but actually a steroid hormone—directly affects nearly every cell in your body. It’s essential for the health of every major system in the body—it protects the heart and brain, bolsters the immune system, ensures the integrity and proper signaling of cells throughout the body, prevents mood imbalances and mental illnesses, and even facilitates DNA repair. And that’s just scratching the surface.

One of the more unexpected ways benefits of this essential nutrient is its ability to prevent and heal insulin resistance and diabetes.

Vitamin D deficiency and diabetes risk

Researchers have suspected for some time that vitamin D plays a role in healthy glucose metabolism, but recent studies have confirmed that it’s even more invaluable than previously thought. In fact, vitamin D deficiency may be more closely linked to the development of type 2 diabetes than obesity (which was once considered one of its greatest risk factors).

Researchers determined this link by observing that individuals with low vitamin D serum levels are dramatically more likely to be pre-diabetic or diabetic, regardless of their weight.[1] In other words, vitamin D deficiency is an even more accurate predictor of your diabetes risk than whether or not you’re overweight.

The exciting takeaway of this study is that you can significantly lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes by maintaining optimal vitamin D serum levels (40-60 ng/ml).

This prescription is supported by other studies too, including one that conclusively demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation can prevent pre-diabetes from progressing into fully developed type 2 diabetes. Astoundingly, every unit increase in vitamin D levels decreased study participants’ risk of progressing into diabetes by 8%.[2]

Natural healing for diabetics

And vitamin D’s diabetes-healing abilities aren’t limited to prevention—many studies have demonstrated that raising vitamin D levels can aid those who already have diabetes, as well.

One prominent study found that type 2 diabetics who were given 50,000 IU of vitamin D per week for eight weeks experienced reductions in both fasting plasma glucose and insulin,[3] and another study demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation increased insulin sensitivity by a whopping 54%.[4]

While the mechanisms by which vitamin D works its magic are complex, there are a couple notable reasons why it’s particularly healing for metabolic disorders. For starters, studies have shown that vitamin D is one of the primary factors that regulate and normalize insulin secretion.[5] Other experts believe that its effect upon calcium and phosphorous metabolism (the mechanism by which it keeps bones strong) is linked to a modulation of glucose metabolism (and thus to insulin sensitivity). Vitamin D even heals diabetes epigenetically by upregulating (i.e. “turning on”) the gene that controls insulin receptors, thereby increasing insulin sensitivity.[6]

So whether you’re already living with diabetes or simply want to prevent its onset, maintaining optimal vitamin D serum levels is a wise choice.

Get tested and take action

First things first: get your vitamin D level tested in order to determine whether you have a deficiency (the test can easily be ordered by any doctor, and there are many at-home test kits available too). If you’ve never supplemented with vitamin D, you’re probably deficient, but it’s still helpful to know exactly how far your serum levels are from optimal.

Next, make a plan that allows you to maintain an optimal level of 40-60 ng/ml year-round. Sun exposure is the easiest and most powerful way to get vitamin D (contrary to popular opinion, sun avoidance is much more dangerous than the sun itself). Depending on your skin tone, 8-24 minutes of direct sun exposure (on as much of your body as possible) will allow your body to manufacture all the vitamin D it needs.

This approach poses problems during non-summer months, though (especially in northern latitudes), so you’ll need to get your vitamin D from other sources too. Eating vitamin-D-rich foods like fatty fish, eggs, and vitamin-D-fortified products are a good start, but supplementation is by far your best option.

Make sure you supplement with D3 (not D2), and seek out a formula with liposomal delivery, which vastly increases its absorbability.

Most importantly, don’t put this off! Making the effort to maintain healthy vitamin D levels just might be one of the simplest and most powerful ways you can optimize your health on every level.


References

[1] http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/tes-vdd021815.php

[2] http://www.nephrologynews.com/raising-low-vitamin-d-levels-lowers-risk-of-prediabetes-progressing-to-diabetes-in-study/

[3] https://dmsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1758-5996-5-8

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9516221?dopt=Abstract

[5] http://www.eje-online.org/content/105/4/528.short

[6] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cbf.951/abstract

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We write a lot about vitamins, because we recognize the primary role they play in the maintenance of optimal health.

Vitamin deficiency is a risk factor that underlies the vast majority of ailments and health conditions—and thus, a growing body of research demonstrates that vigilant monitoring of vitamin intake can help successfully prevent or even reverse health problems.

But the world of vitamins can be overwhelming. Have you ever stood in front of a wall of vitamin bottles at your local health food store, completely unsure of which one to choose?

It helps to have a basic understanding of vitamins and their applications, so that you can build a regimen that works for you. To that end, we’d like to share a wonderfully helpful infographic, courtesy of 16Best.

The infographic below lays out all the basic details you need to know about the “classic” vitamins: vitamin A, all the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. You’ll learn what makes each of these vitamins essential, how much of each vitamin the body needs, which ones are water soluble and which are fat soluble, why some of the letters in the “vitamin alphabet” are missing, and much more.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you peruse the infographic.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Obviously, there are many other nutrients that are worthy of your time and attention, but this infographic should help you get your foot in the door of the vitamin world. If you feel called to explore deeper, there are plenty more articles on our site featuring nearly every major vitamin and nutrient under the sun.

“Daily Minimum Intake” represents just that—the minimum. This infographic discusses the “Daily Minimum Intake” of each vitamin. This terminology is a remarkable improvement over “Recommended Daily Allowance,” which makes it sound like this amount is all we ever need to take. As we’ve written about in past articles, it can often be incredibly beneficial to take doses higher than the RDA for specific vitamins. This is partially because RDAs are far too low in some cases (according to the opinion of many doctors and experts), and partially because the therapeutic mechanisms of vitamins can shift and deepen when higher doses are consumed.

Two prominent examples are vitamin C and vitamin D, both of which exhibit remarkable healing benefits when safely taken at higher doses. When trying out higher doses of supplements of vitamins, though, remember these few rules of thumb: talk to your doctor first, do your own research, and listen to your body.

Some vitamins work better together. Finally, while this infographic presents each vitamin in isolation, it’s important to remember that some are safer and more effective when taken together. For example, you shouldn’t take vitamin D without vitamin K, as doing so can cause your lead to use calcium improperly.

In other cases, vitamin deficiencies can make it difficult for your body to absorb other vitamins. For example, a vitamin D deficiency (as well as mineral deficiencies) can make it harder to absorb vitamin B12 (a nutrient that many people already have trouble absorbing). Therefore, it’s beneficial to take both vitamins (from food sources and as supplements), even if you think you’re only deficient in one.

So without further ado…may this infographic serve as your introductory guide to the world of vitamins!


References

Infographic source

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 77-year-old woman was cooking in the kitchen when she collapsed onto the floor. Her daughter called an ambulance and the woman was taken to the emergency room. She had suffered a stroke, and slowly regained consciousness over the next two days.

However, when she woke up, she had the following signs and symptoms:
– paralysis of the right face and arm
– loss of sensation to touch on the skin of the right face and arm
– inability to understand what was said to her
– inability to speak

Approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke every year in the United States alone—it is the third leading cause of death, and the number one cause of serious, long-term disability.[1]

Strokes occur without any warning, and often lead to severe and irreparable brain damage. Because damage occurs so quickly, it’s imperative to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

Symptoms of stroke damage vary widely, but common afflictions include paralysis on one side of the body (depending on which side of the brain the stroke occurred), vision problems, speech pathologies, memory loss, and behavioral abnormalities.

Some stroke victims are able to return to normal functioning through protracted rehabilitation, but others aren’t so lucky. Researchers are attempting to develop measures for regenerating brain cells after a stroke has occurred—such as the curcumin-derived compound CNB-001—but we’re still a long way off from this option being available to everyone.

Luckily, strokes are entirely preventable.

Despite the tragic commonality of strokes, up to 80% of them can be prevented with the right lifestyle practices. Let’s take a look at three of the most important ways to ward off this potentially debilitating and life-threatening event.

Prevention through Lifestyle: Diet, Exercise, and Supplementation

Unsurprisingly, controlling the risk factors that can lead to stroke begins with an examination of your basic lifestyle habits. Because the most common type of stroke (ischemic stroke) occurs because of clogged brain arteries, it’s important to minimize foods, practices, and deficiencies that have been shown to contribute to arterial plaque buildup. Here’s some of the biggest offenders to avoid.

1. Trans fats. Amidst all the debate about “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” fats, everyone agrees that trans fats carry serious health risks. They are linked with systemic inflammation, as well as many biomarkers that signal the development of cardiovascular disease.[2]

After some New York counties banned the sale of trans fats, incidence of heart attack and stroke had already declined significantly after only three years.[3]  In order to act on these findings, and hopefully save hundreds of thousands of lives in the process, the FDA is instituting a national ban on the sale of partially hydrogenated oils on June 18, 2018.[4]

2. Red meat, smoked meats, and processed meats. While some evidence suggests that any meat consumption has its downsides, the real problems lie with low-quality, processed, conventionally raised meat products.

A meta-analysis of research on the subject has demonstrated that red meat consumption increases the risk of ischemic stroke,[5] but it’s possible that these studies did not differentiate between organic, grass-fed meat and toxic, conventionally raised meat.

No one debates, though, that smoked and processed meats are hazards to your health. One study directly linked the consumption of processed meats to stroke,[6] and others have clearly outlined a plethora of other health risks.

3. Sedentary lifestyle. Research has demonstrated time and time again that maintaining an active lifestyle affects your stroke risk tremendously. In fact, one study showed that a moderate, hour-long walk five days a week (or exercise of similar intensity) can decrease the risk of stroke by half. Even 30 minutes a day, five days a week decreases the risk by 24%.[7] Our fast-paced modern lives make it difficult to find time for exercise, but what’s more important than protecting ourselves from heart attacks and strokes?

4.Vitamin D deficiency. If this risk factor comes as a surprise to you, know this: vitamin D deficiency is a health issue of enormous magnitude, and one which underlies nearly all of our most prevalent diseases. According to research conducted at the John Hopkins Medical Institution, low levels of vitamin D doubles the risk of stroke in Caucasians.[8]

To remedy the issue before it turns into serious health issues, be sure to have your vitamin D levels tested. If you’re deficient, begin by spending at least twenty minutes out in the sun every day (without sunscreen).

Complement this practice by beginning a daily vitamin D supplementation regimen, especially if you live farther north than Atlanta, Georgia (above this latitude, it’s difficult for your skin to synthesize vitamin D from the sun’s UV rays). Ideally, always supplement with a highly absorbable liposomal vitamin D that is formulated with vitamin K2.

Learn to recognize the signs of a stroke

Prevention is always the best treatment, but you should still learn how to respond to a stroke if and when one occurs. This is the only way that you’ll be able to seek treatment and minimize the damage in yourself or a loved one.

The onset of a stroke is most often marked by the following symptoms: difficulty walking, dizziness, lack of balance or coordination, confusion, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, difficulty seeing, and severe headache.

If you observe any of these signs in yourself or a loved one (especially when multiple symptoms occur at once), seek emergency medical attention immediately. Conventional stroke medications are actually remarkably effective at dissolving cerebral blood clots and preventing further brain cell damage—but only if they are administered within one hour.

 


References

[1] http://www.strokecenter.org/patients/about-stroke/stroke-statistics/

[2] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/3/562.full

[3] http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/article-abstract/2618359

[4] https://blogs.fda.gov/fdavoice/index.php/2015/06/protecting-consumers-from-trans-fat/?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

[5] http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/strokeaha/43/10/2556.full.pdf

[6] http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/791009

[7] http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/1998/10/exercise-can-reduce-stroke-risk-study-says/

[8] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101114161929.htm

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It’s no secret that sugar can be hazardous to your health. While glucose plays an essential role in energy metabolism and shouldn’t be shunned entirely, the results of sugar overconsumption are clear.

Including a reasonable amount of natural sugar sources (such as fruits, juices, honey, sugary vegetables like carrots and beets) is perfectly healthful for those who don’t already have glucose metabolism issues. But this balanced consumption of sugar is a far cry from the Standard American Diet, which is replete with refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy forms of sugar.

We all know that sugar contributes heavily to weight gain (no pun intended), and you may even be aware that sugar suppresses the immune system and leads to chronic inflammation. It’s linked not only with the development of diabetes, but also heart disease[1] and other leading causes of death.

But did you know that sugar undermines your health by depleting your body of essential vitamins and nutrients?

This is because the metabolism of sugar is an energetically complex process, so it causes your body to “recruit” more nutrients than usual to get the job done. Glucose even “competes” with some nutrients, meaning that it takes up space within cells or transport molecules, and blocks them from absorbing beneficial nutrients.

Overconsumption of sugar disrupts nutrient metabolism across the board, but some nutrients are at particular risk for depletion.

Sugar causes these nutrient deficiencies

It should come as no surprise that many of the primary nutrients that sugar depletes are also the nutrients in which people are most often deficient.

Magnesium deficiency is one of the most widespread of all nutrient deficiencies; at least half of all Americans have sub-optimal levels,[2] and some experts posit that the number is closer to 80%. Magnesium is critical for nearly every major bodily function—it regulates glucose and overall energy metabolism, allows for proper nerve and muscle function, and even aids in the synthesis of proteins, bone tissue, and DNA.

But when the blood sugar is too high (because of sugar consumption), the kidneys excrete more magnesium, and stores become depleted. This creates a vicious cycle, since without optimal levels of magnesium, blood sugar levels spiral out of control to an even greater degree.

Vitamin D, another nutrient in which many of us are deficient, has been directly correlated with sugar consumption.[3] Sugar actually increases the expression of enzymes that break down vitamin D and decreases the expression of enzymes that help synthesize it.

Not spending enough time outside is usually blamed for vitamin D deficiency, and while this is certainly another factor, it seems that high-sugar diets are a culprit that simply can’t be overlooked. A mountain of research demonstrates that vitamin D deficiency is linked to a vast array of chronic diseases, so we would do well to keep our levels optimized (aim for between 45-60 ng/ml).  

Calcium works in conjunction with vitamin D, and thus is also adversely affected by sugar consumption. Vitamin D allows calcium to do the work of fortifying bones, coagulating blood, and aiding nerve and muscle function. Without it, your body can’t absorb calcium properly, and sometimes it can even end up calcifying your arteries instead of your bone tissue (one of the major risk factors for developing heart disease).

Furthermore, glucose consumption has been shown to increase calcium excretion via the kidneys (meaning that your body gets rid of calcium instead of properly using it).[4]

Vitamin C is not a nutrient deficiency we hear much about, mostly because its utility is greatly misunderstood. The mainstream opinion is that only a small amount of vitamin C is necessary, in order to prevent scurvy. But a growing body of research and clinical experience suggests that higher levels of vitamin C can supercharge the immune system and work wonders for a large variety of ailments.

It should come as very bad news, then, that excess blood glucose blocks the body from being able to utilize vitamin C, because sugar and vitamin C use the same finite transport molecules. This means that even if you’re supplementing with vitamin C, you won’t achieve optimal levels unless you minimize your sugar consumption (and avoid eating any sugar right before taking vitamin C).

Supplementation is a good choice, but cut sugar first

If you consume even a moderate amount of sugar on a daily basis (or have other reasons to believe you may be deficient in these nutrients), consider starting a daily supplementation regimen.

Remember, though: supplements will only be a temporary solution unless you change your dietary habits. You’ll experience real balance when you cut refined sugars, sodas and other sugary drinks, and sweet processed food from your diet.

Supplementation, together with a balanced diet that contains only a reasonable amount of healthful sugar sources, will ensure that your body maintains optimal levels of its key nutrients.

 


References 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24493081

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22364157

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3981704/

[4] Ibid.

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You may remember the vitamin D craze of a few years ago. Because enthusiasm for the therapeutic benefits of this vitamin has simmered, some people might be tempted to believe that it was just a fad. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

Vitamin D is essential for nearly every aspect of your health—and the problem of deficiency is still as widespread as ever.

According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of all Americans, and approximately 1 billion people worldwide, are deficient in vitamin D. The number skyrockets among some minorities in the United States: 69.2% of Hispanics and 82.1% of African Americans are deficient.[1]

This is bad news, because sufficient vitamin D levels are necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions. It’s so important that every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D. “Vitamin” is actually somewhat of a misnomer, because it functions as a hormone—and contrary to what we used to believe about it, vitamin D doesn’t just build strong bones (though that’s certainly one of its many benefits).

Beisdes regulating levels of phosphorus and calcium in the blood (which is how it contributes to skeletal strength and stability), vitamin D also optimizes immune function,[2] regulates mood,[3] promotes cardiovascular health, and much more.[4]

Vitamin D deficiency has been correlated with a staggering list of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal issues, Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive decline, greater incidence of infectious illness, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, stroke, and cancer.[5]  

And sadly, many people don’t even know they’re deficient until they’ve developed more serious health issues. Luckily, there are some signs you can look out for.

Common symptoms of deficiency

First and foremost, it’s important to note that some people are more predisposed than others to vitamin D deficiency. As indicated above, those with darker skin tend to be more at risk, as do the elderly, vegetarians, those who are overweight or obese, and those who live far from the equator. If you fit into any of these categories, you should pay especially close attention to your vitamin D levels.

Here’s some other signs that it could be time to get your vitamin D levels tested.

Bone loss is perhaps the most obvious symptom, given that vitamin D is thought to be predominantly associated with skeletal health. A large observational study found a strong correlation between low vitamin D levels and low bone density.[6]

Frequent illness. As mentioned above, vitamin D plays a critical role in the functioning of the immune system.[7] Observational studies demonstrate that those who frequently contract colds, flus, brochitis, and pneumonia are vitamin D deficient,[8] and that supplementing with 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily may reduce the risk of respiratory infection.[9]

Depression. While it’s hard to say whether vitamin D deficiency is an actual causative factor in clinical depression, any consistently low or depressed mood can be a sign that you’re deficient. Researchers have linked vitamin D deficiency with depression, especially in older adults.[10]

Fatigue. When tiredness and fatigue becomes chronic and consistent (whether it’s caused by insufficient sleep and excess work or not), it is nearly always correlated with low levels of vitamin D,[11] which your body recruits in order to deal with its burden of stress. Studies demonstrate that such fatigue can be overcome through vitamin D supplementation.[12]

Back pain. If you suffer from chronic lower back pain—particularly the kind that can’t be traced to a specific injury—it could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Research has shown time and time again that those with deficiencies are much more likely to have moderate to severe back pain.[13]

How to restore optimal vitamin D levels

If you’re suffering from any of these symptoms, get your vitamin D levels tested as soon as possible. Don’t put it off; vitamin D deficiency is very simple to fix, but can have disastrous consequences for your health if left unaddressed.

If your blood serum levels are below 40 ng/ml, it’s time to make some lifestyle changes, and possibly to begin a supplementation regimen. Start by spending more time outside—about twenty minutes every day in direct sunlight, with as much of your body exposed as possible, will work wonders.

If you live in a latitude above 37 degrees north, however, your skin won’t make enough vitamin D when exposed to the sun throughout the majority of the year. Take a look at this map to locate your “vitamin D latitude”:

If you live above the red line, it’s particularly important that you get your vitamin D from food and supplements. Eat plenty of fish, orange juice, milk (preferably raw), egg yolks, and fortified cereals, and take a high-quality, high-bioavailability vitamin D supplement daily.

Seek out liposomal vitamin D if possible, and always take D3 instead of other forms. For best results, combine your vitamin D with MK-7, a form of vitamin K2 that works synergistically with it.

 


References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310306

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20824663

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26998791

[4] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/

[5] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra070553

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26538987

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20824663

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27178217

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3686844/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26998791

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26543719

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21206551

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26431139

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Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a a public health crisis of epidemic proportions! A study published in the July, 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that a jaw-dropping 59 percent of the population is vitamin D deficient. In addition, nearly 25 percent of the study subjects were found to have extremely low levels of vitamin D.

Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D are often inadequate to satisfy either a child’s or an adult’s vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D is found in small amounts in some foods, such as milk, eggs, fish, and fortified orange juice — but the most important, natural source of vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight.

Being that we have become an industrialized society, meaning most of us work indoors during the peak hours of sun exposure, most of us do not get enough sun exposure to generate adequate amounts of Vitamin D. Also, the latitude where you live can affect whether or not you receive Vitamin D from the sun in winter months.

For instance, I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico and during the months of Nov to March, I cannot generate adequate Vitamin D levels from sun exposure!

I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico and during the months of Nov to March, I cannot generate adequate Vitamin D levels from sun exposure!

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” is now recognized by traditional and natural doctors alike as one of the most powerful, inexpensive ways to prevent disease.

Vitamin D influences over 2,000 of the 30,000 genes in the body, which explains why it has been found to inhibit the onset and spread of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autism, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis, and more.

Beyond cancer, increasing levels of vitamin D could prevent many common diseases. Studies now link this miraculous Vitamin D to the prevention of many debilitating conditions including:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Immune System Disease
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Kidney Failure
  • Osteoporsis
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

With the current amount of research being done on this wonder nutrient it is likely that Vitamin D and it’s healing influence over even more diseases will be discovered.

Vitamin D influences over 2,000 of the 30,000 genes in the body, which explains why it has been found to inhibit the onset of many diseases

Some of the current research on Vitamin D and it’s relationship to 5 Common Diseases is presented here in our Special Report.

  1. Cancer

Evidence validating the benefits of Vitamin D in prevention of many forms of Cancer has been recorded since the 1980s.

When the body absorbs vitamin D, it converts it into a hormone called calcitriol.  The body’s organs use this hormone to regulate cell growth and repair cellular damage, including malignant cancer cells.

Dr. Michael Holick, one of the world’s most respected authorities on Vitamin D and author of The UV Advantage explains that “Vitamin D is made in the skin, gets into the bloodstream, and then goes into the liver and kidneys where it is activated into a hormone called 125-dihydroxy (calcitriol).  It is this activated vitamin D that has biological, disease-prevention effects, such as preventing prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer.”

The proper amount of vitamin D in the body helps to:

  • Stop mutated cells from forming and spreading.
  • Causes diseased cells to commit “cell suicide” — i.e., cause them to literally self-destruct.
  • Causes the differentiation of cells (Cancer cells are often undifferentiated, and this causes them to reproduce faster).

An article in the American Journal of Public Health in 2006 concluded that after a review of more than 60 studies of Cancer and Vitamin D, that cancer occurrence could be reduced with improved levels of Vitamin D in the body. The incidence of breast cancer could be reduced by 50% and colon cancer by 80% That is dramatic!

  1. Heart Disease

Most people suffering from heart disease are chronically deficient in vitamin D. By correcting their vitamin D levels people can simultaneously halt cancer and prevent Heart Disease too.

Researchers reviewed the health records of more than 9,000 people who had been diagnosed with vitamin D insufficiency and who had also undergone vitamin D testing at a later date. They found that approximately 50 percent of all patients had achieved healthy vitamin D levels of at least 30 nanograms per milliliter by the second test. Rates of heart disease were significantly lower in this group than among patients who were still deficient in the vitamin.

Chronic Heart Disease has been linked to inflammation in the body. Researchers have found that those who had inflamation in the body also had very low levels of VtiaminD.   As they supplemented with Vitamin D, their inflammation decreased.

Vitamin D contains a protein called cytokines, which have been found to manage and control inflammatory processes, thus reducing not only inflammation but future potential health conditions.

Medical studies have shown in the case of congestive heart failure (CHF) an increase in what is called pro-inflammatory cytokines (those which INCREASE inflammation). In a recent clinical trial, people with CHF were given very high doses of Vitamin D.

There was a 43% increase in anti-inflammatory cytokines in their bodies within 9 months! The conclusion was definite… Vitamin D plays an important role in reducing inflammation in heart patients.

  1. Diabetes

Vitamin D deficiency, long suspected to be a risk factor for glucose intolerance, is commonly found in people with poor diabetes control, according to research studies. 

Esther Krug, MD, an endocrinologist at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that Vitamin D deficiency was common in her study of Diabetic patients, with more than 91% of participants deficient. As the deficiency worsened, so did diabetes control. Only eight of the 124 participants took vitamin D supplements she found.

Krug and her colleagues decided to look at vitamin D deficiency in the wake of reports suggesting that vitamin D has an active role in regulating pancreatic cells, which make insulin.   What they found is that the average blood sugar level was higher in patients with severe vitamin D deficiency compared to those with normal levels of vitamin D.

Aggressive continued screening and supplementation of vitamin D levels is crucial for people with diabetes.

Also, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a study done in Norway. The study showed that cod liver oil, a good natural source of Vitamin D, greatly reduced the risk of Type I diabetes in children if it was taken the first year of life.

The conclusion by the research was that the Vitamin D in cod liver oil has an anti-inflammatory affect on the body, reducing the onset of Type I Diabetes.

  1. Osteoporosis

More than 40 million adults in the United States have or are at risk of developing osteoporosis, according to the National Institutes of Health. Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue that increases bone fragility and the risk of bone fractures.

Research studies over the years have helped us to understand that insufficient levels of Vitamin D in the body, contribute to osteoporosis by reducing calcium absorption. Supplementing your diet with Vitamin D will allow your body to utilize the calcium that your are taking, more benefically and efficiently.

Seniors and menopausal women are more at risk for developing Osteroporsis and what we see is that the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D declines with age. This prevents the kidneys from converting Vitamin D into the hormone that benefits your bones and keeps them strong.

The National Institute of Health has reported that 50% of women with hip fractures were shown to have Vitamin D deficiency and osteroporosis. Low levels of Vitamin D were also seen in an estimated 40% of seniors who were hospitalized for hip fractures.

By supplementing with Vitamin D and maintaining adequate levels, the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in menopausal women and seniors could be greatly reduced.

  1. Cholesterol and Vitamin D Deficiency

Many in the medical profession are beginning to recognize that people who take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are becoming vitamin D-deficient. Cholesterol is required by the body to synthesize vitamin D and statin drugs are are responsible for eliminating it, leading many to speculate that statin drug users do not have enough cholesterol to process vitamin D.

Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol actually plays an important role in maintaining health. It regulates proper hormonal levels and is the precursor substance for the production of vitamin D. Cholesterol also works to digest and absorb fats, nutrients, and vitamins. When converting sunlight into vitamin D, cholesterol in the skin acts as the catalyst for this important process.

Supplementing with Vitamin D (what you need to know)

1. Warning: Never take Vitamin D Without Vitamin K2

Just as important as vitamin D3 is taking vitamin K2! Taking Vitamin D without vitamin K could actually be harmful to your Health!

When it comes to calcium metabolism, vitamins D and K work together. Both play important roles. Vitamin D gets calcium into your blood and Vitamin K gets calcium into the bones and prevents the calcium from accumulating in your arteries, kidneys or heart where it can wreak havoc on your health.

You don’t want rogue calcium going to the wrong places, causing joint stiffness or arterial plaque. Vitamin K2 insures that your body uses calcium properly.

2. Most D3 Supplements are NOT absorbable.

When D3 cannot be absorbed, your body is unable to assimilate and you will not get the benefits. So you still end up with the symptoms.

Vitamin D3 is fat-soluable. This means it needs to be taken with a healthy fat in order to be absorbed.  Most Vitamin D supplements are not absorbable.

PuraTHRIVE Introduces Vitamin D3 with K2: a formula that’s “liposomalized”—meaning it’s specifically blended to make D3 + Vitamin K2 bind to phosphlipids (fats) that increase its bioavailability more than 20 times.

Special Introductory Offer – Stock Up Today

 

 

 

  • Ryan Greendyk a professional health journalist and writer from Santa Fe, NM.  Yoga teacher and  meditator, he is most passionate about helping others discover the gift of of holistic health, teaching others how to take responsibility for their own health and changing the World.

References:

University of California Riverside More Than Half the World’s Population Gets Insufficient Amounts of Vitamin D, Says UC Riverside Biochemist. 15 July 2010;

Holick, M. F. Chen, T. C. Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Apr; 87 (4): 1080S-6S.

Los Angeles Times Vitamin D linked to lower heart disease risk.     March 15, 2010

Web MD Low Vitamin D Linked to Poor Diabetes Control.  June 21, 2010

National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D   June 24,2011

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Medicine Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency: an Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline July 2011

Natural News Do Statin Drugs Cause Vitamin D Deficiency?  January 8, 2010

woman relaxing in recliner under the umbrella at a beach in Miami, Florida

One look at the data on skin cancer is enough to worry anyone: the National Cancer Institute reports that the incidence of new melanoma cases among American adults has tripled since the 1970’s, and that number is continuing to climb.[1]

While these figures aren’t debatable, the real causes of skin cancer are. Sun exposure nearly always gets blamed, but the reality is much more complicated. As we’ve written about before, our society’s sun-phobia is based on many misunderstandings, and is often reinforced by the propaganda of sunscreen companies, who would love for you to continue “protecting” yourself with their products.

But sunscreen is not the way to prevent skin cancer. While it can be a helpful last resort if you’re going to be spending an extended amount of time in the sun, its use comes with all sorts of risks.

Most sunscreens are filled with all kinds of toxins, and even the healthy ones block your skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D (for which reason an increasing number of health experts are claiming the sun avoidance is much more dangerous than the sun itself).

If you’re skeptical, consider this fact: four independent studies conducted in the 1990’s found that individuals who use the most sunscreen are at highest risk for skin cancer[2]  It’s no coincidence that the rate of skin cancer incidence began to increase precipitously right around the time that sunscreen usage became widespread.

The real ways to protect your skin

Make no mistake: taking measures to prevent skin cancer is extremely important. Let’s take a look at some safe, holistic practices that are much more effective than hiding from the sun or slathering toxic sunscreens all over yourself.

Don’t be afraid of the sun. It’s long been said that “the dose makes the poison,” and this adage applies equally to the sun. While UVB ray exposure is associated with skin cancer, it’s also essential for endogenous vitamin D production.

We’d therefore do well to stop fearing the sun, and instead think of it like other medicines that require specific dosages in order to remain beneficial. Given that your skin can produce 2,000-4,000 IU of vitamin D with fifteen minutes of sun exposure on a clear day, researchers recommend receiving 8-24 minutes of natural sunlight on your arms and legs without sunscreen every day.

If you know you’ll be outside for a longer period of time, try covering up with sun-protective clothing and a hat, and only use sunscreen when absolutely necessary. When you must use sunscreen, choose natural mineral products instead of the more popular, chemical-laced varieties (even mineral sunscreens aren’t perfect, but using them sparingly is acceptable if you have no other way to prevent getting sunburned). Ideally, learn how to make your own sunscreen.

If you have a fair complexion and are worried about spending even a small amount of time in the sun, be aware that you may be at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency—which is a more serious risk factor for skin cancer than sun exposure itself. Regardless of your sun habits, have your vitamin D levels tested; if your levels are below 40 ng/ml, spend more time in the sun or take a vitamin D supplement.

Optimize your diet. You can also prevent skin cancer by ensuring that your skin has all the nutrients it requires to stay strong and healthy. And there’s no better way to do so than to fill your diet with nutrient-dense, healing foods. Antioxidant-rich plant compounds are best, like the caffeic acid in spinach, coffee, olive and wine, the resveratrol in dark berries, the epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in green tea, the ursolic acid in Holy Basil, and the curcuminoids in turmeric.

Cutting-edge research has even demonstrated that eating chlorophyll-rich plants not only protects your skin from damage, but also allows your body to manufacture energy directly from sunlightjust like plants do through photosynthesis! This emerging field of study offers even more evidence that we’re not meant to hide from the sun—some researchers even believe that human beings evolved to be relatively hairless in order to be able to absorb more sunlight.

Avoid tanning beds. A study published in JAMA Dermatology reports that a whopping 35% of Americans use tanning beds—a figure that has increased dramatically in recent decades. Some experts believe that this could have something to do with skyrocketing melanoma rates. The same study even estimates that tanning beds cause up to 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. every year.[3]

Besides the fact that people simply spend way too much time in tanning beds, artificial sources of UV rays also don’t promote vitamin D synthesis (which helps protect against skin damage in the case of natural sun exposure). There’s limited evidence to support the notion that UVB-producing beds without magnetic ballasts can stimulate vitamin D production safely,[4] but spending a bit of time outdoors is still your safest and most affordable option.

Detox regularly. As we’ve discussed many times before, regular detoxification practices are an essential part of maintaining optimal health. Helping your body rid itself of toxins frees up its energy to protect against illness and disease. Eating the detoxifying foods mentioned above, practicing intermittent fasting and juice cleansing, cold showers and sauna sessions, and oil pulling are all excellent detox strategies.

Keeping the liver and kidneys detoxed has been shown to lower the risk of cancer—and because these organs aid in the conversion of vitamin D from sunlight and food into a usable form, keeping them clean and optimally functioning helps ward off skin cancer specifically.

By adopting these practices, you’ll not only be providing your body with superior skin cancer protection, but also freeing yourself from the reliance upon commercially bought sunscreens, whose manufacturers don’t consider your health a priority anyway.

 


References

[1] https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/skin-cancer-on-the-rise/

[2] http://draxe.com/75-of-sunscreens-are-toxic-what-to-do-instead/

[3] http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/29/indoor-tanning-increase/5028431/

[4] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2006/11/11/can-a-tanning-bed-be-healthy.aspx

Image source

Vitamin_D_Smashes_Cancer

By now, “make sure you’re not deficient in vitamin D” is an oldie…but it’s still a goodie too.

In the years since the vitamin D craze first began, researchers have only become more certain that vitamin D deficiency is a serious problem, and that the simple practice of maintaining optimal levels could be the solution to a staggering number of health issues.

Even mainstream medicine has begun to recognize vitamin D’s multi-faceted importance. In recent years, the RDA was raised from 600 IU to 800 IU—a very good sign, considering the bureaucratic nightmare involved in changing an official nutrient recommendation. But some experts warn that even the new RDA for vitamin D is more than ten times lower than what the body actually needs.[1]

If that’s not scary enough, get this: Dr. Robert Heaney, M.D.—arguably the world’s leading vitamin D researcher—says with great confidence that the current insufficient RDA was set due to mathematical error.

When he used precisely the same data sets the Institute of Medicine used to calculate their official RDA, his calculations yielded 7,000 IU.[2] Another research team at the University of Edmonton carried out the same process, and came to 8,895 IU as the ideal RDA.[3]

Furthermore, all of these calculations are based on the assumption that 20 nanograms per milliliter is a sufficient blood level of vitamin D for optimal health. This belief has been strongly called into question by many top researchers, who maintain that a year-round level of 40-60 ng/ml is the real sweet spot.

Dr. Heaney’s research has demonstrated that 20 ng/ml is not even sufficient to prevent osteomalacia (one of the signs of severe vitamin D and calcium deficiency), let alone promote peak health and performance.[4]

So why are optimal vitamin D levels so important?

There’s no shortage of research on the ravages of vitamin D deficiency. Studies have linked it to a wide array of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal issues, Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive decline, greater incidence of infectious illness, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, stroke, and cancer.[5]

Even the IOM itself (who set the low RDA in the first place) conducted a huge study showing that people most deficient in vitamin D have an 88% increased risk of death from any cause.[6]

With all the confusion surrounding what blood level actually comprises a deficiency, though, this wealth of research still hasn’t changed the tide of public opinion—despite the fact that maintaining a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml is one of the simplest and most direct possible ways to combat nearly every prevalent health issue our society faces.

We’re moving in the right direction, though. New research is focusing specifically on what happens when a blood level of 40 ng/ml is maintained—a methodology that circumvents the debate surrounding the “true” RDA for vitamin D.

And the results are very convincing. One prominent study demonstrated that a vitamin D blood level of 40 ng/ml reduces the risk of developing all invasive cancers by as much as 67%.[7]

This is a staggering finding. Past research has shown that a blood level of 50 ng/ml specifically decreases the risk of breast cancer by 50%,[8] and that low levels of vitamin D are found in all men with aggressive prostate cancer,[9] but a correlation between optimal vitamin D levels and universal cancer prevention is truly unique and revolutionary.

This landmark study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, even went so far as to state that optimizing vitamin D levels is a key cancer prevention tool—perhaps even more important and effective than any early detection strategies.

Vitamin D is a no-brainer

There’s not many health practices or supplements that provide unequivocal and dramatic benefits with almost no necessary effort—but vitamin D is one of them. Just the study mentioned above should convince you that keeping track of your vitamin D levels is worth it—and cancer prevention is just one of the myriad benefits that come with maintaining a blood level of 40 ng/ml (vitamin D is crucial for nearly every process in the body).

Optimizing your vitamin D level starts with spending sufficient time in the sun. As we’ve discussed before, sun avoidance actually causes cancer much more readily then the sun itself—and the vitamin D deficiency that results from sun-phobia is one reason why. Spend at least twenty minutes in direct sunlight every day, preferably with a good portion of your skin exposed.

Depending on the climate, seasons, and latitude of your location, though, you may not be able to get all the vitamin D you need from sunlight. Be sure to have yourself tested regularly, and supplement accordingly if your levels are still low.

When choosing a supplement, seek out reputable brands, but don’t fret too much about the details. Some evidence suggests that vitamin D is somewhat more absorbable when it is either plant-derived or in aqueous solution, but the difference is not a huge one.

So don’t wait; take these steps toward optimizing your vitamin D levels today. Doing so represents one of your greatest opportunities to strengthen and support every aspect of your physical health…take advantage of it!

 


References 

[1] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/10/vitamin-d-recommended-dietary-allowance.aspx

[2] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150317122458.htm

[3] http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/6/10/4472

[4] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/10/vitamin-d-recommended-dietary-allowance.aspx

[5] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra070553

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23533239

[7] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0152441

[8] http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/31/2/607.full.pdf+html

[9] http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2016/03/vitamin-d-prostate-cancer.html

Image source

sun-avoidance-deadly

It’s no secret that we’re afraid of the sun.

We blame sunlight for rising cancer rates and premature aging, we avoid its “destructive” rays at all costs, and when we have no choice but to be outside, we slather ourselves and our loved ones with toxic sunscreen for protection.

This is perhaps one of our society’s greatest absurdities—fear of the very force that allows all life to exist on this planet. Sadly, it’s a perfect example of the kind of fallacy that haunts conventional science and medicine.

In many ways, our society is created in opposition of nature, and science acts as the guardian of society. Science prides itself on its neutrality, its objectivity—but a closer look nearly always reveals an underlying slant, assumption, or dogma. Theories and data are twisted into justifications for previously held beliefs.

Case in point: our society is not one that leaves much time for being outside (let alone placing any importance on it). How convenient, then, that science postulates that sunlight is harmful. The sun is bad for you anyway…staying inside and working is good for both your career and your health!

Let’s take a look at how this fear took hold…and how it’s being overturned by new research.

Unpacking the sun conundrum

Let’s start with the age-old assumption that sun exposure increases your risk of cancer. This is a true statement.

But not so fast…this increased risk is not what you think it is. This is where the twisting of facts occurs—it’s this correlation that caused our sun-fear to begin with.

Luckily, medical science is beginning to correct its errors. A revolutionary new study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that sun exposure only increases your risk of cancer because it increases your life span (and the longer you live, the more statistically probable it is that you’ll develop cancer).[1]

It turns out that the real danger isn’t sunlight itself, but avoiding sunlight.

The study in question, which examined the sun exposure habits of women aged 25-64 over the course of twenty years, found that those with greater sun exposure were at lower risk for all-cause mortality.

The researchers even reported that “nonsmokers who avoided sun exposure had a life expectancy similar to smokers in the highest sun exposure group, indicating that avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking.”[2]

That’s right: it seems that sun avoidance is the new smoking.

But how could this be? What about all the evidence linking sun exposure to rising rates of melanoma? Isn’t it an established fact that sunlight causes skin cancer?

It turns out that it’s not nearly that simple. While some studies have demonstrated a correlation between sun exposure and skin cancer,[3] other experts argue that the data is skewed in all sorts of ways. For example, some researchers believe that the increased incidence of melanoma may be what is called “an artifact caused by diagnostic drift.”[4]

Here’s what they mean: melanoma is massively overdiagnosed (even those with benign growths are included in melanoma statistics), and this false reporting may be causing scientists to adopt sunlight as a scapegoat.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only type of cancer that is overdiagnosed and overtreated. As we reported in a past article, breast cancer screenings are often hyped in order to sell mammography equipment, and even benign growths are treated “just to be safe” (when in reality, the practice is designed to sell more chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy equipment).

The more deeply you examine the evidence, the more skeptical it seems we should be of past research encouraging sun avoidance.

One study even demonstrated that melanoma rates have only increased for indoor workers, and that the increase began in the 1940’s (right around the time when sun avoidance became a common recommendation, and shortly after sunscreen was invented). This study exonerated sunlight as the main risk factor for melanoma, and posited a different one: the decreased levels of vitamin D that accompany sun avoidance.[5]

Everything in moderation

This is not to say that getting sunburned all the time isn’t bad for you. It’s important to take the necessary precautions (cover yourself with clothing if you must be outside for an extended period of time, and only use natural, non-toxic sunscreen, if any at all).

In all likelihood, increasing rates of skin cancer (assuming they’re even increasing at all) are attributable to a complex interaction of different risk factors—toxic chemical and nanoparticle sunscreens (as well as all the other industrial toxins with which our skin comes into contact), vitamin D deficiency (as well as other nutrient and mineral deficiencies), and perhaps sun overexposure in sensitive individuals.

The bottom line is this: the first study mentioned above makes it clear that the risks of staying away from sunlight are actually greater than those of basking in it. Use common sense when spending time out in the sun, but don’t be afraid of it.

Sunlight was absolutely essential for the evolution of our species, and is arguably still one of the most fundamental necessities for optimal health. As we discussed in another article, there’s even evidence to suggest that our bodies use sunlight to produce energy through a fascinating sort of “human photosynthesis” called biophotomodulation.

This emerging field of bioenergetics uses fancy scientific jargon to remind us of a simple and primal truth: the sun is our friend, and it should be central to our lives and health maintenance protocols. Just as even too much water or too many vitamins can be harmful, so can excess UV rays—but we would never use this logic to declare water or vitamins harmful.

So always do your best to spend at least twenty minutes a day in direct sunlight…this simple practice is at least as important as drinking enough water, taking your vitamins, and anything else you do on a daily basis to stay healthy.

 


 

References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26992108

[2] Ibid.

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10994463

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19519827

[5] http://www.medical-hypotheses.com/article/S0306-9877%2808%2900599-9/abstract

Image source