By Nurse Mark
Vitamin D continues to be in the news as conventional medicine “discovers” its importance to human health.
We have been telling you about it for years; you can see some of our previous articles here: Vitamin D – An Old Friend Finding New Respect and here: Vitamin D and Liver Cancer: More Reasons Love Vitamin D but it’s now “official” – Vitamin D deficiencies are common and the problems that this causes are severe.
What are some of the problems that Vitamin D deficiencies can cause?
- Bone problems: In children, rickets. In adults, osteoporosis (porous and brittle bones) and osteomalacia (soft bones) along with muscle weakness and increased risk of falling.
- Heart (cardiovascular) disease including heart attack (myocardial infarction), sudden cardiac death, heart failure, myopathy, high blood pressure (hypertension), and stroke.
- Blood sugar problems including glucose intolerance, Type II diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
- Respiratory (breathing) problems including upper respiratory tract infections, influenza and even tuberculosis.
- Brain and mental health problems such as cognitive impairment and low mood.
- Immunity problems and autoimmune disease including multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, systemic lupus erythromatosis (SLE or just “Lupus”).
- Vitamin D deficiencies appear to increase the risk of many cancers and increased Vitamin D levels have been shown to decrease cancer risks.
- Low Vitamin D levels during pregnancy puts women at risk for developing gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and low birth-weight and sickly infants.
- Many other diseases are associated with Vitamin D deficiency – such as psoriasis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and inflammatory bowel disease, to name just a few.
- Even overweight and obesity has been found to be associated with Vitamin D deficiency: See our article Vitamin D – For Successful Dieting?
How much Vitamin D is enough?
Vitamin D dosages in this country are generally measured in IU or International Units and according to the United States Institute of Medicine the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) of vitamin D are:
- Infants from 0–12 months – 400 IU/day
- Children and adults from 1–70 years – 600 IU/day
- Seniors over 71 years – 800 IU/day
- Pregnant or lactating women – 600 800 IU/day
Remember, the RDA is really more like the minimum needed to prevent diseases of deficiency – it is not what we would consider an appropriate dose for optimal health.
Since everyone is different, an optimal daily dose of Vitamin D will be different for every person as well. In someone whose Vitamin D levels are sufficient, the minimal daily dose might be enough to keep them well. For another person who is quite deficient, doses of 2000, 5000, or even 10,000 IU per day may be needed to bring Vitamin D levels up to where they should be and to prevent and correct some of the problems of Vitamin D deficiency that they may be experiencing.
But how can you really know?
The answer to that is easy – a simple test will quickly tell you your baseline Vitamin D level and provide you with guidance about how much you really need to supplement.
Dr. Myatt recommends testing, then supplementing with Vitamin D based on the test results, and then re-testing in 3 months to verify the effectiveness of the supplementation and to allow fine-tuning of Vitamin D doses.
Other authorities recommend starting with 5000 IU per day for 3 months, and then testing.
Either way, testing gives definitive answers – and Dr. Myatt’s “test-supplement-test-adjust” regimen seems a little more certain and safer.
Speaking of safety… Can’t you get too much Vitamin D and hurt yourself?
Conventional medicine has long warned of the dangers of “too much Vitamin D” without actually telling us where they are getting the information to back up these warnings. Certainly, it is possible to consume massive doses of Vitamin D and cause a toxicity known as ‘Hypervitaminosis D” which causes hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood). To actually achieve this an adult would need to take 40,000 IU per day of Vitamin D for weeks or even months.
Needless to say, Vitamin D overdose is extremely rare and noted Vitamin D researcher Reinhold Vieth has stated in a research article titled “The Pharmacology of Vitamin D, Including Fortification Strategies” that there is "no evidence of adverse effects from taking 10,000 IU of Vitamin D a day" and he goes on to say that "…cases of vitamin D toxicity with hypercalcemia, for which the 25(OH)D concentration and vitamin D dose are known, all involve intake of (greater than or equal to) 40,000 IU/d."
The moral of this story? Perform a Vitamin D Test and be sure!
So, what are the “numbers”?
The Vitamin D test tells us blood levels of vitamin D measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) and the results can be grouped like this:
- Deficiency: less than 20 ng/ml
- Insufficiency: 20 to 32 ng/ml
- Sufficiency: 32 to 100 ng/ml
- OPTIMAL (per Dr. Myatt): 40 to 80 ng/ml
- Excess (toxicity risk): greater than 150 ng/ml
Where to get the test?
Your conventional “insurance doctor” might be willing to order a Vitamin D test for you, and your insurance might cover the cost of it. You will have to give him a good reason to order it though – so you’ll have to hope that he really believes that Vitamin D deficiency is possible (many conventional doctors still haven’t gotten the “news”) and hope that he doesn’t believe that vitamin supplements are a waste of money (“expensive urine” they call it…) and then hope that he will be willing to go along with you taking more than the RDA minimum daily dose of Vitamin D.
Or, you can just order the test and do it yourself at home. It is a simple “Blood Spot” test, very much like the “finger poke” that diabetics do multiple times daily to check their blood sugars. A drop of blood, off to the lab in the pre-paid mailer, and the results come back in a few days. Then you can get started replenishing your Vitamin D levels, because I’m betting they will be low – since overall, 41.6 % of Americans are Vitamin D deficient, and that number skyrockets to 82.1% of African Americans and 69.2% of Hispanics.
What about Vitamin D supplements?
Dr. Myatt’s Optimal Dose Daily Multiple Vitamin formula Maxi Multi contains 800 IU of Vitamin D per day and her convenient MyPacks contain 753 IU of daily Vitamin D – so if you are using these already you may be “covered.”
If you are deficient and want to increase your Vitamin D levels be sure to use a high quality supplement – Dr. Myatt offers two supplements that have met her standards for quality and you can learn more here: Vitamin D 5000 capsules and Vitamin D 2000 Drops
We now know that vitamin D isn’t "just" a vitamin but that it acts more like a hormone that plays a major role in immunity, bone and cardiovascular health, diabetes, overweight and autoimmunity. The “experts” may argue; vitamin or hormone – but whichever, the bottom line is that it’s some seriously important stuff!
Deficiencies of Vitamin D are common and correcting those deficiencies up to optimal levels is easy to accomplish. Given its importance to so many physical functions, and how easy it is to test levels and get them to "optimal," I recommend that this simple step be taken by everyone. It’s a basic, simple, but oh-so-important step we can take to safeguard our overall health.
Full references can be found in our Vitamin D Special Report
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