Just a few years ago, vitamin D was simply known as the “bone vitamin.” Thanks to the hard work of many scientists the data now shows that nearly every tissue and cell type in the body has receptors and uses for vitamin D. As a result of this discovery, much higher doses are required for optimal health. This discovery has radically changed how we understand the role of vitamin D in the body. An estimated 1 billion people (that’s about a seventh of the global population) have inadequate vitamin D supplies in their bodies.
According to mainstream medical standards, there are three levels of vitamin D status: sufficient, insufficient, and deficient:
- People who are considered vitamin D sufficient have blood levels of at least 30 ng/mL. However, optimal vitamin D status is achieved with a minimum of 50 ng/mL.
- Those considered insufficient (meaning their bodies aren’t at optimal vitamin D capacity) have levels between 21 and 29 ng/mL.
- And those who are deficient are defined as having levels at or below 20 ng/mL
By those criteria, 25% of Americans are insufficient,and 39% are outright deficient. In other words, fully 64% of Americans don’t have enough vitamin D to maintain optimal health. It’s hardly any wonder we are plagued with so many chronic diseases.
The results of this deficiency are catastrophic. Studies have now shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of a long list of diseases that span all systems in the body. Checking for vitamin D levels is still not standard of care for many primary care physicians. At Advanced Osteopathic Health we understand that assessing vitamin D status is one of the most important health-protecting steps you can take. Fortunately, we can assist you with achieving optimal levels of vitamin D and protect you against a range of lethal diseases.
Why vitamin D is so Vital
While we can make some vitamin D in our bodies, most of us require additional amounts from our diet, the sun, or from supplements in order to maintain adequate levels. It’s becoming evident that higher doses of vitamin D are required to support its other activities in tissues such as heart muscle, brain cells, and fat tissue, to name just a few. Additionally, vitamin D regulates genes that control cell growth and development, immune function, and metabolic control. Studies have now shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of numerous chronic disorders, including type II diabetes, cancer, infections, and cardiovascular, autoimmune, and neurological diseases.
Low vitamin D poses serious and pervasive health risks
The risk of contracting the following health conditions increased sharply in patents that have habitually low levels of Vitamin D:
- Autoimmune: Multiple Sclerosis – 61%
- Autoimmune: Psoriasis – 189%
- Autoimmune: Rheumatoid Arthritis – 24%
- Cancer, Bladder – 83% overall; 494% for invasive tumors
- Cancer, Breast – 150%
- Cancer, Thyroid – 100%
- Cognitive Decline – 41%
- Cardiovascular: (Risk of Heart Attack) – 38 to 192%
- Dementia, Alzheimer’s – 77% increase
- Dementia, Non-Alzheimer’s – 200%
- Infection, Respiratory – 36%
- Metabolic: Diabetes – 91%
- Metabolic: Diabetes for insulin resistance – 38 to 106%
- Metabolic: Risk of progression from normal blood glucose to diabetes – 77%
- Stroke -22 to 64%
Vitamin D is essential for maintaining a balanced immune system. The Immune system cells are well-supplied with vitamin D receptors, that help this system modulate its response: from “attack mode” in the face of pressing threats to “cleanup” mode once the threat is past. Vitamin D also plays a role in the onset and progression of autoimmune diseases, including type I diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis. Fortunately, studies show that restoring vitamin D levels to the healthy range through supplementation can help patients with autoimmune diseases.
The increase in vitamin D levels through supplementation has a number of targeted health benefits:
- It causes a decline in the disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
- It reduces the risk of developing type I diabetes and preserves insulin-producing pancreatic cells once the disease has started.
- It suppresses the development of multiple sclerosis in animal models of the disease, and a large human trial has shown that supplementation was associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 Slow the Progression of Arterial Calcification
Vitamin D also provides improved bone development by helping you absorb calcium, there is new evidence that vitamin K2 directs the calcium to your skeleton, while preventing it from being deposited where you don’t want it. For example, in your organs, joint spaces and arteries. A large part of arterial plaque consists of calcium deposits (atherosclerosis), hence the term “hardening of the arteries.” In other words, without the help of vitamin K2, the calcium that your vitamin D so effectively lets in might be working AGAINST you — by building up your coronary arteries rather than your bones.
Odds are that you haven’t got enough vitamin D in your body for optimal health. The solution is not as straightforward as going to the shelf of your local store and adding it to your diet without fully understanding your level of deficiencies. Too much vitamin D can have harmful effects to your body.
It’s important that you contact the professional staff at Advanced Osteopathic Health for your Vitamin D profile and receive the necessary guidance to move forward to a healthier you.