Sunlight provides us with good levels of vitamin D, a vitamin and also a hormone with several functions. It is thought to help protect us from cancer, TB, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and possible some as-yet unknown disease. Vitamin D is manufactured from cholesterol when skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun and it is difficult to get enough from diet alone.
The most well known result of severe vitamin D deficiency is rickets, a disease causing crippling bowlegs. That is because vitamin D is necessary for the proper absorption of calcium and magnesium, needed for good bone density. In adult, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia and is caused by an inability to absorb both calcium and phosphorus, for which vitamin D is necessary.
Vitamin D has recently become known as an effective anticancer agent, and it has been known for decades that there is an inverse correlation between sun exposure and cancer mortality. Vitamin D is associated with lower colon, prostate, skin, and breast cancer. Women with breast cancer have been found to be twice as likely to have a fault in the gene that enables that body to use vitamin D. The anticancer activity of vitamin D may be due to its ability inactivate certain oncogenes, genes that instruct ordinary cells to become cancer cells.
Vitamin D can be obtained from the diet, but not very easily. Milk and some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D. Eggs contain vitamin D but you would need to eat 10 eggs to get 200IU. The best source of vitamin D are fish oil and cod liver oil. Vitamin D is no use with a completely fat-free diet, since it is a fat soluble substance needing fat for transport.
Spending ten to twenty minutes outside two to three times a week in summer is thought to give us adequate vitamin D to help prevent and manage many health conditions. Those with dark skins may need more, and you may need to take supplements in if you live in a cloudy region. It is best to have your vitamin D level tested to determine if there is a vitamin D deficiency. To ensure proper assessment of vitamin D level, 25-hydroxyvitamin D should be tested. A level below 32ng/ml is considered deficient and requires therapies including diet and lifestyle changes and supplementation. Published cases of vitamin D toxicity all involve intakes of at least 40,000 IU/day.
Examples of conditions that benefit from vitamin D:
- · Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rickets
- · Vitamin-D deficiency myopathy
- · Psoriasis
- · Polycystic Ovaries
- · Seasonal mood disorder
- · Scleraderma
- · Prostate cancer
- · Migraines
For more information about vitamin D testing or supplementation, please contact Dr. Lee via email firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-319-5322.