Humans require sunlight like plants do!
Nature’s original plan was that plants and humans would get sunshine. In our modern world, humans get very little. Most of us live and work indoors, drive to work and, when outside, have been conditioned to cover up and apply sunscreen. (READ HERE about the toxic substances in sunscreens which can be absorbed into circulation and ironically cause cancer.) Sunshine delivers healthful energetic waves plus it stimulates our skin to turn cholesterol into vitamin D. A good quality far infrared sauna can replace some of the energetic waves, but without significant sun exposure, it is hard to get sufficient vitamin D because there is little in food.
Why do we care? Never mind occasional media nonsense based on poorly-structured studies, vitamin D is useful for more than just building bones. It protects against issues such as: arthritis, asthma, depression and obesity, dementia, brain shrinkage, brain health, many cancers, prevention of colds and flu, autoimmune diseases, deaths from infectious disease (think covid-19), hardening of the arteries and allergies. It also helps heart health, teeth, fertility and benign breast lumps. Anyone with multiple sclerosis (MS) or other autoimmune disease should study the remarkable recoveries using the Dr. Coimbra protocol. The following stat from a study should get our attention: there was 80% less breast cancer among women whose blood levels of vitamin D were above 60 ng/ml compared to the wimpy 20 ng/ml level some docs still say is okay. (I wish the cancer charities would use some of the millions they raise to spread more prevention information like this.) Vitamin D is important for immune response. There is also a 5 times risk of diabetes if vitamin D is low. And making matters worse, diabetics are at 4.5-times greater risk for an early death when their blood levels of vitamin D are low. Not enough motivation? How about this article? Overwhelming Proof that Vitamin D3 deficiency causes most human diseases.
Here is another shocker: Scientists have now calculated: If all Germans over the age of 50 were to take vitamin D supplements, up to 30,000 cancer deaths per year could possibly be avoided and more than 300,000 years of life could be gained – in addition, health care costs could be saved. Read about that. Who would have thought that vitamin D would be an important factor with Parkinson’s Disease? These researchers found out it is.
And, timely in 2020, one study showed that persons with insufficient vitamin D blood levels were almost twice (1.77x) as likely to test positive for covid-19. Also, researchers in Spain have discovered that 82% of hospitalized patients with Covid-19 were vitamin D deficient. (In the Spanish study they used a very low cutoff level as “deficient”-20 ng/ml. If they looked at what nutritionists consider normal or optimum, 70-100 ng/ml, I’m betting that 100% of those hospitalized would have shown up as low in vitamin D.)
Maybe vitamin D is an even bigger deal. Read Jeff Bowles’ The Miraculous Cure For and Prevention of All Diseases—What Doctors Never Learned.
All ages. Of course, children need vitamin D to build their bones, but experts also say that it seems likely that in children, deficiency of Vitamin D may well be “THE [that emphasis was in the original article] leading cause of cancer, type 1 diabetes, asthma, allergies, eczema, and possibly epidemic autism.” At the other end of the age spectrum, seniors are 3 times more likely to be dependent (versus independent) if low in vitamin D. Adequate vitamin D has also been shown to reduce death from “all causes.”
How it works. Few nutrients have as much impact on our health as vitamin D which is actually more a hormone than a nutrient. Nearly every cell in the body has a receptor for vitamin D and it may control how 1,000 or more of our genes behave…meaning that vitamin D can turn on the good ones and turn off those that are harmful. It also helps DNA repair and reduces inflammation. As you likely know, it is also important for getting calcium absorbed. (But, not everyone knows that Vitamin K2 is needed to assure that the calcium gets into the bones, rather than causing mischief in the arteries.)
Deficiency. Medical journals worldwide show that we’re not getting enough Vitamin D for even basic functions, let alone therapeutic benefits. Pregnant women and their breastfed babies are deficient. More than a third (36%) of healthy young adults are low even by what are now considered below minimum standards. A Stanford study said that elderly folks are more fragile because they aren’t getting enough. Perhaps as much as 80% of those with chronic illnesses are deficient. Even people living in sunny US states can have low blood levels and those with dark skin are at greater risk. (Some may be low because they do not have the magnesium and vitamin K2 and other nutrients required for absorption and usability.) Insufficient sun exposure is one factor, but there are other possible issues:
- With exposure to sunlight, the body makes vitamin D from a cholesterol layer under skin.
- That initial form, calcidiol, is stored in liver during the summer and can be drawn on in the winter when there is less sun.
- Then calcidiol (and Cholecalciferol from supplements) go to the kidneys, where they are converted to the active form, calcitriol. Zinc is needed for that conversion. Fucoidan (a seaweed extract) helps that conversion as does forskolin from coleus which can double D levels. (Avoid Forskolin if you take a blood thinner.) Also, for conversion, the kidneys need to be working well. See below.*
- Once converted, the active forms goes into the blood stream and is delivered to cells. However, getting into the cells isn’t automatic. Polyphenols (think resveratrol, quercitin, catekin, fisitin and cinnamon) sensitize the receptors.
The mineral magnesium is important to the whole vitamin D system. Deficiency of magnesium can lead to deficiency of D. This well-researched article by Bill Sardi covers the controversy as of September 2019.
Sources. We always prefer to get our nutrients from food, but that wasn’t the plan with vitamin D because food is a poor source. Some vitamin D naturally occurs in eggs, fatty fish, and of course cod liver oil. The amount of vitamin D3 added to milk is small and many adults avoid milk for health reasons. That means most people who do not have sufficient sun exposure will need to take vitamin D3 supplements.
For details on vitamin D dosage, safety and testing of blood levels, visit this vitamin D Supplement page in the Healthy by Nature Library.