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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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The historic 2017-2018 flu season is continuing to worsen. Authorities now report that the influenza virus is “widespread” across every region of the United States (usually, virus levels peak in different regions over the course of the season; it’s extremely rare for the entire country to be saturated at once).

The death toll has risen to 206, which includes a record-number of otherwise healthy individuals under 65.

Despite the severity of this year’s flu, though, it’s important to remember that best practices for preventing and treating the virus remain the same. Check out our article from a couple weeks ago for general lifestyle practices that help prevent the onset and spread of the flu.

In that article, we mentioned several natural flu remedies to keep in your healing arsenal. We also noted that the flu shot is may not be your best bet, especially this flu season.

Sure enough, the CDC’s fears have been confirmed: the flu shot is proving particularly ineffective at preventing this year’s most common strain, H3N2—most regions are reporting less than 20% efficacy.

These facts were transparently reported by medical authorities prior to the beginning of the 2017-2018 flu season; many doctors lauded their honesty. Heath A. Kelly, MD, adjunct professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University in Canberra, said the following:

“When I first started researching influenza vaccine effectiveness, it was evident that killed sub-unit vaccines did not seem to reflect the marketing hype. This was at a time when both the CDC and the WHO were claiming that influenza vaccines were 70% effective, a claim that was difficult to sustain….

It is understandable that public health authorities would not want to undermine confidence in vaccines in general and influenza vaccines in particular, but it is an open question whether overstating influenza vaccine effectiveness is good for public confidence. That is why it is refreshing to see an honest statement of the problem.”[1]

The takeaway is that, regardless of your views on the advantages and disadvantages of the flu vaccine, and whether or not you choose to receive it this flu season, it would be wise to take other precautions too.

Let’s look more closely at a couple more flu remedies that are must-haves for severe flu seasons like this one.

Your holistic flu fighting toolkit

Vitamin C is a highly underestimated tool for flu prevention and treatment (we mentioned it in our last flu article, and it’s most certainly worth mentioning again). High-doses courses (at least 1,000mg three times every day) can help the immune system fight off the flu in the first place. For those who have already contracted the flu, these same high doses been shown to reduce symptoms by up to 85%.[2]

60 Minutes even documented a case in which a patient not expected to survive severe complications of swine flu was administered high-dose, intravenous vitamin C—and experienced a full recovery. You can experience the efficacy of intravenous vitamin C without the high cost and inconvenience by seeking out an optimal-quality liposomal vitamin C formulation.

Vitamin D. The connection between vitamin D deficiency and disease is well-documented—and susceptibility to the flu virus seems to be no exception. High-dose vitamin D (10,000 IU per day) can boost immune function and decrease the duration of the flu.

Furthermore, fascinating research demonstrates that maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D can actually boost “innate immunity” to viruses—researchers have even shown that vitamin D supplementation can reduce the occurrence of the flu (as well as all other colds and infections) by more than 70% over three years.[3] Also seek out a high-bioavailability liposomal vitamin D formulation, ideally one that is complexed with vitamin K2.

Iodine, selenium, and magnesium. While any mineral deficiency can increase your risk of contracting the flu, it’s especially important to maintain high levels of these three. All three are vitally important for maintaining the body’s defense systems.

Iodine has been shown to halt replication of the flu virus and to decrease infectiousness;[4] one study demonstrated that selenium deficiency can cause influenza to mutate into newer, more virulent strains;[5] and magnesium has been shown to “regulate antiviral immunity” and clear viruses from the body.[6]

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). This is one use for baking soda that may surprise you—but this common substance can work wonders for influenza, thanks to its potently alkalizing effects. While more research on the subject is needed, clinical evidence suggests that baking soda could be a veritable flu cure hiding in plain sight. A prominent doctor named Dr. Volney S. Cheney once wrote the following:

“In 1918 and 1919 while fighting the ‘Flu’ with the U. S. Public Health Service it was brought to my attention that rarely anyone who had been thoroughly alkalinized with bicarbonate of soda contracted the disease, and those who did contract it, if alkalinized early, would invariably have mild attacks. I have since that time treated all cases of ‘cold,’ influenza and ‘la gripe’ by first giving generous doses of bicarbonate of soda, and in many, many instances within 36 hours the symptoms would have entirely abated.”

You’ve probably noticed that there are lots of advertised natural flu remedies out there, but sometimes focusing on a few of the simplest and most powerful remedies is the most effective course of action.

If you already have the flu, stock up on the supplements listed above; you’ll be amazing by their ability to stop the flu in its tracks (and reduce its severity and duration at the very least). If you haven’t caught the flu, even better…start this flu fighting regimen to prevent onset in the first place.

 

 


References

[1] https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/889563

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10543583

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308600/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19678928

[5] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010608081506.htm

[6] https://www.nature.com/articles/nri3501

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Supplementation is still a controversial topic. Despite tens of thousands of studies demonstrating the benefits of correctly taking nutritional supplements, skeptics still have their doubts about whether supplementation is necessary or even helpful in any way.

Later in this article, we’ll cover best practices for optimizing the benefits of your nutritional supplement regimen. We would be amiss, though, if we didn’t begin by addressing some of the doubts and worries often expressed about supplementation in general.

Common arguments against supplements

“There’s no need to take supplements if you’re eating properly.” This argument is inherently an ideological one—it’s based on the desire to believe that all we need to do to stay perfectly healthy is to eat a healthy diet. It is, after all, a simple and elegant solution (and ignoring supplements can theoretically save us some money too).

In many ways, the general idea behind this argument is true. Diet should be your first priority—if you’re trying to patch up the damages caused by a terribly unhealthy diet with lots of supplements, you’re going about it all wrong (and it probably won’t work anyway). The more healthy, nutrient-dense whole foods you eat, the less likely you are to need supplements for optimal health maintenance.

Here’s the problem, though: this argument is not based on facts. Plenty of people who do eat healthy diets still suffer from nutrient deficiencies (as well as the health imbalances to which they can lead). Many others were raised on the Standard American Diet that we’re conditioned to accept—and even when they switch to healthy dietary choices, supplements may still be necessary to repair acute issues and deficiencies.

“Vitamins and other supplements are useless anyway.” The logic behind this argument is that, even if there’s some people for which supplements could be useful or necessary, the products available to us don’t work, so we shouldn’t bother buying them.

While it is true that there are countless low-quality products on the market, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of high-quality ones too. Condemning all supplements because some of them are made by unscrupulous manufacturers is tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

As with all consumer goods nowadays, choosing high-quality supplements (and using them properly) simply requires some forethought and self-education. As long as you’re following even a limited number of best practices for taking supplements, you can experience remarkable, long-lasting benefits for far less than the cost of conventional healthcare.

So without further ado…

Best practices for getting the most out of supplementation

Figure out which supplements you actually need to be taking. Supplement enthusiasts have a tendency to go overboard with their regimens. Keep in mind that taking more supplements is not always necessary or better. It’s easy to forget that many supplements and herbal remedies are very powerful—just because they’re not a prescription medication doesn’t mean we can take them indiscriminately without ill effects.

The next time you go to your doctor for a check-up, get blood panels to ascertain which (if any) nutrient deficiencies you have. Decide which (if any) health imbalances or symptoms you want to address—and get confirmation from your doctor that these imbalances actually exist, in the form of hard data if possible. Then build a supplement regimen based on this data. While there are some nutrients that are almost universally helpful to take on a maintenance level—such as magnesium, vitamin D3, and vitamin C—you still want to be calculating about why you’re including a specific supplement in your daily regimen.

Take the right kind of supplements. Even when you’ve dialed in what supplement regimen is right for you, the battle still hasn’t been won. You still need to sift through the veritable ocean of products available to you, in order to find the ones that will provide the most benefit for your buck.

First and foremost, avoid multivitamins. All too often, they contain fillers, use inferior nutrient forms (to save on costs), and combine nutrients in ratios that are inconvenient for addressing any health concern in a meaningful way. Instead, seek out the highest-quality, most absorbable form of each nutrient in your regimen. This approach may seem a bit more tedious or costly (more products to buy, more pills to take), but it’s really the only way to go if you want to experience real benefits.

Make sure the vitamin formulations you’re purchasing are made with the optimal nutrient form (e.g. methylcobalamin for vitamin B12, D3 for vitamin D, l-ascorbic acid for vitamin C, and MK-7 for vitamin K2). Then ensure that the product implements a formulation method that optimizes bioavailability (e.g. micelle and liposomal formulation are proven to increase absorption dramatically; any product that combines these two delivery methods is going to provide stellar results).

Time your supplementation properly. Lastly, proper sequencing is also important. Most supplements shouldn’t be taken on an empty stomach. Only a limited number of vitamins (such as vitamin C, B vitamins, and some brain supplements like 5-HTP) tend to cause stomach upset when taken without food, but better safe than sorry. The exception to this rule is vitamin B12, which tends to absorb best when the stomach is empty—take it in liposomal form to avoid stomach upset.

Further, nearly all supplements will absorb more effectively in the presence of fat (this is why liposomal supplements have such a high bioavailability). A great percentage of nutrients will also be absorbed if the body isn’t overwhelmed by too many at once (in the case of a “supplement traffic jam,” your body tends to excrete more of the nutrients unmetabolized). For these reasons, aim to take half of your supplement regimen in the morning after breakfast (or whenever your first meal is), and the other half in the evening after your last meal.

Always talk with your doctor or health professional about interactions between different supplements (e.g. fiber slows the absorption of fatty acids, vitamin E blocks the absorption of iron, vitamin D should not be taken without vitamin K2, and so on).

As long as you follow these guidelines, supplementation can be amazing low-cost tool for addressing acute health issues and optimizing your overall health.

 


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You’ve most likely had the unfortunate experience of finding out just how awful the flu can be. This year’s flu season in the United States is already one of the worst on record—new strains of the influenza virus have sprawled across 46 states and claimed the lives of 106 people—and health agencies fear that it will get even worse.

For example, the number of Californians under 65 who’ve died of the flu has jumped to 42, compared with nine at the same time last year, state officials said Friday.

The flu season, which runs from October through May, typically peaks in February. Public health officials say they don’t yet know whether the flu season is peaking earlier than normal, or if this year will be a particularly tough one for the flu.

“We are still early in the season but … the number of deaths so far is significantly higher than at the same time in the previous several influenza seasons,” said Dr. James Watt, chief of the division of communicable disease control with the California Department of Public Health, in a press call with reporters this week.

Thousands of people in California started showing up at doctors’ offices and hospitals in December with the flu. Since then, emergency rooms have been crowded with long wait times, and patients have struggled to get doctor appointments as well as flu medications.

Remember the H1N1 “epidemic” of 2009 that had everyone shaking in their boots? In a perspective article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that during the current flu season, Australia reported nearly five times the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications compared to the 2009 H1N1 outbreak.[1]

It’s certainly not a pretty picture, but there are still plenty of measures you can take to prevent the onset and spread of this nasty bug.

How to protect yourself during this (and every) flu season

First and foremost, remember that prevention is the best treatment. The influenza virus is extraordinarily skilled at replicating and spreading to new hosts, but you can avoid catching it if your body is in a proper state of balance (even if you’re living with someone who is already ill from it). Try not to think of the flu as a bug to be avoided (because it’s everywhere), and instead focus on optimizing your body’s ability to keep it at bay.

Here are some principles and practices to get you started.

Proper sleep. Let’s start with the obvious: your body heals and recharges while you’re asleep, so if you’re not getting enough optimal sleep, you simply can’t expect your immune system to work properly. While many people have their own opinions about how many hours of sleep are needed to maintain optimal health, scientific data on the subject is fairly conclusive.

As we reported in a past article, researchers at the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley define “sleep deprivation” as anything less than seven hours of sleep per night.

Chronically getting less than seven hours of sleep per night (especially for extended periods of time) has been correlated with decreased cognitive performance, cognitive decline, increased degenerative disease risk, and more.[2]

It should come as no surprise, then, that sleep deprivation dramatically increases the chances of contracting influenza. Proper sleep hygiene is always important, but it deserves particular attention during flu season.

Proper diet. The same goes for maintaining an antioxidant-rich, nutrient-dense diet. If the body is not fueled with the nutrients it needs to thrive, it will have a difficult time resisting infection with the flu virus and other pathogens. Eat plenty of leafy greens, organic fruits and veggies of all colors, whole grains, raw nuts, and healthy fats and proteins.

Avoid junk foods and snacks, processed and packaged foods, refined sugar, and simple carbohydrates, all of which will lead to systemic inflammation (which diverts the immune system’s much-needed attention away from preventing and fighting the flu.

Avoid nutrient deficiencies, which also create “points of weakness” that make the body more susceptible to infection. Studies have found that optimal levels of vitamin D are especially important, and that vitamin D supplementation can offer dramatic protection against the onset and spread of influenza.[3]

Think twice about the flu shot. You probably noticed that we haven’t yet mentioned anything about getting a flu shot as a preventative measure. Here’s why: based on data on Australia’s recent flu season, health agencies are worried that this year’s flu vaccine will be less than 10% effective.[4]

Flu shots have other potential risks and downsides too, but regardless of your perspective, this low-percentage efficacy should make it clear that you cannot rely solely on the flu shot to prevent the onset of the flu (as much as vaccine manufacturers would love for this to be the case).

Try natural flu remedies. While using the lifestyle practices above to prevent the flu in the first place is always your best bet, there are also plenty of natural remedies that have a time-tested track record for fighting the flu.

Elderberry has been shown to decrease the duration of influenza A and B by four days or more.[5]

The data behind high-dose vitamin C is even more impressive: hourly administration of 1,000mg attenuated symptoms by 85%, and completely prevented the spread of symptoms to a healthy control group.[6]

Manuka honey, which we’ve already praised highly in past articles, has also been shown to exhibit potent anti-viral properties against all known strains of the flu.[7]

 


References

[1] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1714916#t=article

[2] https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20170926/sleep-deprivation-a-serious-threat-expert

[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170216110002.htm

[4] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1714916#t=article

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10543583

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24880005

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mold

We’ve written in the past about the manmade toxins that litter our homes: toxic furniture, bedding, clothing, cleaning products, and more. Environmental air pollution gets a lot of attention, but according to the EPA, the air inside our homes is two to five times more polluted on average—and in some cases up to 100 times more polluted. [1]

Toxic home syndrome is worth worrying about—especially given that we spend as much as 90% of our time indoors. Indoor pollution has been correlated with a rise in the incidence of many diseases, including cancer, autism, and many other degenerative conditions caused by an increased toxin load. [2]

A lot of this pollution comes from the sources mentioned above, but some household toxins are naturally occurring…and potentially just as dangerous as the industrial poisons with which our bodies have to content. One prominent example is mold.

What you must know about mold

Mold has been on this planet for a lot longer than we have, and it’s not going anywhere. It’s a highly evolved, highly adaptable fungal organism that makes up 25% of the Earth’s biomass—so it’s safe to say that mold is a fact of life.

This is not to say that mold should be viewed lightly, though. It can grow very quickly on almost any surface, provided that there’s enough moisture to support it. This means that bathrooms, kitchens, areas with leaky pipes, or areas prone to flooding are at highest risk. Once mold colonies grow to a critical mass, their spores become airborne, and they can travel throughout your entire home.

And all molds that produce mycotoxins, when present in high enough quantities, can be harmful to your health (with “black mold” being the worst of all). The effects of mold exposure are most often referred to as “allergic reactions,” but the truth is that it’s a slippery slope from mold allergies to mold illness (especially if mold is proliferating in unseen places around your home, like behind drywall or in small bathroom nooks).

Mold exposure can cause a wide range of symptoms, including irritation of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat, dermatitis, rashes, and other skin issues, asthma and other respiratory issues, fever, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and diarrhea.

Mold can radically suppress immune function (especially in people who already have a compromised immune system), and can even cause flu-like symptoms and liver damage. Animal studies suggest that excessive mold exposure can lead to kidney damage, infertility and other reproductive issues, and neurotoxicity. One human study even strongly linked household mold exposure to depression. [3]

Check out this video from the National Mold Resource Center to see if you have any symptoms of mold sickness:

Take action to protect yourself

While molds can be incredibly virulent and persistent, you don’t have to feel powerless against them. Small mold colonies are common, and usually pose relatively little risk to your health, so don’t feel like the sight of any mold whatsoever is cause for panic.

Also, because most of the ill effects of mold exposure come from mycotoxicity-induced immune dysfunction, you can protect yourself by boosting your immune system. Turmeric, vitamin C, vitamin D, and adaptogenic herbs are always a good choice. Low oral doses of activated charcoal or healing clays (like bentonite and zeolite) are also great for cleansing your body of mycotoxins.

Keep Your Home “Mold-Free”

If your home appears mold-free (or contains only small visible colonies), great! You can keep it that way by cleaning up spills or flooded areas immediately, fixing water leaks within 1-2 days, keeping your house well-ventilated (especially the bathroom and kitchen), and scrubbing away mold as soon as it appears.

If you become aware of large mold colonies in your home, though, taking supplements is not going to cut it. Mold infestations need to be dealt with swiftly and properly. There are home test kits available which measure the level of mold spores in the air, but they’re often quite inaccurate. If you can see any decent quantity of mold in your home, don’t wait to test…start removing it immediately!

Scrub off any visible mold with baking soda, distilled water, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and borax, and be sure to wear gloves and a protecting mask during clean-up. Avoid using toxic homecare products—the point is to remove toxins from your home, right?

Keep in mind that mold colonies can form well out of sight (if you have any of the symptoms listed above, and can’t link them to other causes, you might be suffering from mold exposure). Full mold remediation often requires the removal and replacement and walls, ceilings, and carpets. Unfortunately, these processes can be quite costly, but they’re well worth it.

If you’re a renter, talk to your landlord about any mold in your home. Only some states hold homeowners liable for mold remediation, but many landlords are willing to take care of the issue in order to preserve the future integrity of the house. If your landlord is not willing to take action, and you’re unable to afford the mold cleanup, you should strongly consider moving into a mold-free home.

By being aware of mold (and other toxins) in your home, and being willing to take action, you can ensure that your home remains a health-promoting oasis in an otherwise polluted world.

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References

[1] http://draxe.com/indoor-air-pollution-worse-than-outdoor/

[2] Ibid.

[3] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829162815.htm

For most of our lives, we’ve been told the same story when it comes to sun exposure and cancer risk: the sun is dangerous and cancer-causing, so slather on that sunscreen and avoid harmful UV rays whenever possible.

There’s certainly at least some truth to this belief. Sun overexposure can damage the skin, and the oxidative stress that accompanies this damage is an underlying factor in the development of cancer.

But the narrative that hiding from the sun will therefore prevent cancer hasn’t quite played out. In fact, quite the opposite is true: rates of skin cancer have increased a shocking 660% since the introduction of sunscreen. And that’s just the average increase; among women, skin cancer rates have increased by 2300%!

These numbers continue to worsen year after year, despite that fact that over 70% Americans always use one or more types of sun protection.[1] In fact, some evidence even suggests that individuals who wear the most sunscreen are at highest risk for skin cancer.[2]

It’s clear, then, that sunscreen and sun avoidance are not the path to preventing skin cancer (and that they can actually be more dangerous that the sun itself).

As we’ve discussed in past articles, part of the problem is the plethora of toxic chemicals that make up most conventional sunscreen products. If you still feel the occasional need to use sunscreen after reading this article, that link also teaches you how to make your own non-toxic sunscreen at home.

But the greatest problem with sunscreen (and sun avoidance in general) is that it leads to vitamin D deficiency.

The complex relationship between the sun, vitamin D, and your health

One thing has become clear after decades of research: human beings are not meant to hide from the sun. Proper precautions and moderation notwithstanding, many health experts now believe that sun exposure is as important to optimal health as water intake, proper diet, and sleep.

This is, in large part, because your body cannot properly synthesize vitamin D without exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

Vitamin D has been all the rage for a number of years now, but let’s recap. Gone are the days when the medical establishment believed that vitamin D is only good for keeping bones strong. While this is one of its benefits, its role in the body is decidedly more pivotal.

 Optimal vitamin D levels is a powerful way to prevent a wide variety of ailments and diseases—including skin cancer.

Vitamin D modulates over 2,000 genes throughout the body, acts as a critical hormone, and safeguards the health of nearly every one of your cells. For this reason, maintaining optimal vitamin D levels is a powerful way to prevent a wide variety of ailments and diseases—including skin cancer.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that up to 70% of cancer patients exhibit severe vitamin D deficiency,[3] and that conversely, optimal vitamin D levels promote cancer cell apoptosis and inhibit the development of cancerous cells.

So here’s the bad news: the vast majority of the American population is vitamin D deficient. Some accounts posit that 90% of people have sub-optimal levels of this critical nutrient, and even conservative estimates place the number at least 50%.[4]

The vast majority of the American population is vitamin D deficient.

How to optimize your vitamin D levels

Our epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and its associated diseases does have a silver lining: vitamin D deficiency is a simple problem to fix, and doing so has far-reaching benefits. Unlike environmental toxins, EMF pollution, or other disease factors that are harder to control, vitamin D deficiency is something we can directly address with just a couple simple practices.

First things first: go get your vitamin D levels tested, even if you’re not yet experiencing any disease symptoms (prevention is key, especially with conditions like skin cancer). It’s essential that you monitor your levels, so that you know how much work needs to be done to optimize them.

Next, get outside everyday. Don’t wear sunscreen, and try to expose as much of your skin as possible. No need to go overboard, though—just twenty minutes in strong, direct sunlight is all your body needs to synthesize its daily dose of vitamin D. The short duration will also ensure that no damage is done to your skin.

Here’s where it gets tricky, though: throughout much of the United States (basically anywhere above Atlanta, Georgia), there are times of the year when your body won’t be able to produce vitamin D from the sun’s rays (this effect has to do with the angle at which UV rays reach your latitude). This is one reason why vitamin D deficiency is more common in northern latitudes.

The solution is to couple your sunbathing routine with vitamin D supplementation. Not all supplements are created equal, though—seek out a liposomal formula for maximum absorption. Also, never take vitamin D without vitamin K; doing so can increase vitamin K deficiency and worsen some of the very problems you’re trying to prevent.

If you’re searching for the right vitamin D supplement, look no further than Purathrive’s Liposomal Vitamin D3 with K2—it’s optimal quality, liposomalized for perfect bioavailability, and complexed with MK7, the most absorbable form of vitamin K2.

 

 


References 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/behavior.htm

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK247164/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3354850/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20133466

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If you’ve had the flu recently, you know how miserable it can be. For most people, one bout with it is enough to convince them to run out for a flu shot the following year.

This is exactly what flu vaccines manufacturers would prefer—but there’s actually very little evidence that these shots are the best way to prevent influenza, and plenty of evidence that they carry dangerous risks.

In past articles, we’ve discussed the dangers of flu vaccines, as well as the deceitful practices used by pharmaceutical companies to keep the public hooked on their toxic creations.

Some flu shots contain over 25,000 times the EPA’s safe limit for mercury

Some flu shots contain over 25,000 times the EPA’s safe limit for mercury,[1] which studies have linked with a rise in Alzheimer’s disease[2] and other degenerative conditions normally blamed on aging.

The newest model, a vaccine called Fluad, no longer contains the mercury-based preservative thimerosal—but it contains plenty of chemicals that may be even worse, including the heavy metal barium, the antibiotic neomycin, and the surfactant polysorbate-80. Check out this article to read about the litany of horrible risks and side effects associated with this vaccine.

Despite constant pressure from doctors and drugstores to get your flu shot each and every year, the manufacturer’s own packaging insert recommends that no one receive more than one shot (not per year, per lifetime).

And worst of all, flu vaccines are not even that effective

And worst of all, flu vaccines are not even that effective. In fact, the CDC admitted that the percentage of time that flu shots are effective is significantly lower than what doctors advertise.

They even found that getting a flu shot may increase your chances of experiencing a full-blown flu (unvaccinated people sometimes still get the flu, but don’t experience any symptoms at all).[3]

So what’s the alternative?

First and foremost, it’s worth mentioning that preventing influenza isn’t fundamentally about taking something.

Protecting against the flu is less about replacing the flu vaccine with a different physical remedy, and more about empowering the immune system to function at its peak. There are, however, remedies that accomplish this task far more effectively than flu shots—and vitamin D is at the top of the list.

The CDC notes a study published in the Journal of Virology, which found that the flu vaccine (especially when it’s received year after year) can inhibit certain types of immune response. Researchers theorize that this is why vaccinated people can actually be more susceptible to novel subtypes of influenza.[4]

Vitamin D, on the other hand, keeps the immune system in balance and confers natural, effective protection against influenza. One study found that “recent discoveries indicate that vitamin D upregulates the endogenous antibiotics of innate immunity.”[5]

Influenza can be considered a symptom of vitamin D deficiency, lowest blood serum levels of vitamin D experience the highest incidence of influenza

The same study builds on the theory of Dr. John Cannell, who was the first to posit that influenza can be considered a symptom of vitamin D deficiency; a number of other studies now support this model. Researchers consistently find that those with the lowest blood serum levels of vitamin D experience the highest incidence of influenza—this finding was even confirmed by a large study that included a cross-section representative of the entire United States.[6]

Connecting vitamin D deficiency with the flu helps answer many of the tough questions associated with the study of influenza. Why do “flu seasons” begin and end so abruptly? Why do flu epidemics occur in otherwise unrelated areas of similar latitude? It seems more and more likely that the sunlight deficiency (and thus the vitamin D deficiency) that characterizes winter months plays a central role.

Is vitamin D supplementation really more effective?

After conducting an exhaustive review of twenty-five different randomized trials, an international team of researchers concluded that vitamin D supplementation is indeed more effective than the flu vaccine for preventing influenza.

To put it precisely, flu shots will prevent 1 out of every 40 cases of the flu (and some experts believe this number is generous), while vitamin D supplementation will prevent 1 out of every 33 cases.

These numbers refer to individuals who already have relatively normal blood serum levels of vitamin D—in individuals with moderate to severe vitamin D deficiency, supplementation is 10 times more effective than the flu vaccine for preventing influenza.[7]

For this reason, it’s extremely important to have your vitamin D levels tested (unless you enjoy getting the flu). For ideal flu prevention, you’ll want to maintain a level of 45-60 ng/mL of vitamin D year-round—which very often requires supplementation, especially if you live in latitudes above Atlanta, Georgia.

2 Things You NEED to KNOW when selecting a D3 Supplement

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

 

 


References

[1] https://www.epa.gov/dwstandardsregulations

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847438

[3] http://www.nvic.org/nvic-vaccine-news/april-2016/cdc-admits-flu-shots-fail-half-the-time.aspx

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3209321/

[5] http://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-422X-5-29

[6] http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/414815

[7] http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i6583

Image source

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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a

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

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