Everyone is talking about Vitamin D, but is it something everyone should take? Currently, we are including a vitamin D level on most routine laboratory exams, but labs will never tell the whole story. Let's look at conditions associated with vitamin D deficiency.
The flu – In our profession of natural medicine we do not believe a person gets the flu from being sneezed on, breathed or from a door handle. We believe you get it because your immune system is not up to par. In a study published in the Cambridge Journals, it was discovered that vitamin D deficiency might lead children to respiratory diseases. A study was than conducted which showed that vitamin D reduced the incidence of respiratory infections in children. There is no reason in my opinion to think that the same protection wouldn’t be available for adults.
Muscle weakness – There are many reasons for muscle weakness, which include a lack of healthy protein and exercise in the diet. However, according to Michael F. Holick, a leading vitamin D expert, muscle weakness is usually caused by vitamin D deficiency. He states that for skeletal muscles to function properly, their vitamin D receptors must be sustained by vitamin D. Interesting.
Psoriasis - Vitamin D, along with Zinc, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and essential fatty acids have been a stalwart of treatment for chronic skin conditions including psoriasis. In a study published by the UK PubMed central, it was discovered that synthetic vitamin D analogues were found useful in the treatment of psoriasis. Hmmm.
Chronic kidney disease - According to research, patients with advanced chronic kidney diseases (especially those requiring dialysis) are unable to make the active form of vitamin D. These individuals need to take D3 or the active form of vitamin D. But kidney patients beware; only take D3 with you nephrologists (Kidney doctor’s) blessing.
Diabetes - A study conducted in Finland was featured in Lancet.com in which 10,366 children were given 2000 international units (IU)/day of vitamin D3 per day during their first day of life. The children were monitored for 31 years and in all of them, the risk of type 1 diabetes was reduced by 80 percent. We gave our infant vitamin D at birth at the recommendation of our midwife/Naturopathic Doctor.
Asthma - Vitamin D may reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Research conducted in Japan revealed that asthma attacks in school children were significantly lowered in those subjects taking a daily vitamin D supplement of 1200 IU a day.
Periodontal disease - Those suffering from this chronic gum disease that causes swelling and bleeding gums should consider raising their vitamin D levels to produce compounds in their mouth that contain microbial properties and lower the number of bacteria in the mouth. Boost your natural defenses!
High Blood Pressure - Research conducted at Harvard University among nurses found that women with low vitamin D levels (17 ng/m [42 nmol/L]) had a 67 percent increased risk of developing hypertension. More evidence for prevention!
Schizophrenia and Depression - These disorders have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. It is important that children have vitamin D for healthy brain development so check your kids vitamins and formulas.
Cancer - Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC discovered a connection between high vitamin D intake and reduced risk of breast cancer. Again, more prevention.
Here is my conclusion: Everyone should be on vitamin D.
However, a good multi for most people should cover it. If a person has any of the above conditions, or has a family history of the conditions listed above, than they may want to take 1-2000 IU’s of extra D3. Also, always make sure you are taking D2 (commonly referred to as just vitamin D or the inactive form) along with D3. This gives you the opportunity to build your vitamin D storage while protecting your body immediately with D3 or the active form. A healthy body has both!