Posts

Do I Need Vitamin D3?

You absolutely need Vitamin D3

In fact, it’s a critical part of maintaining good health.

To begin, vitamin D3 is essential to bone health.  Without it, the body can’t absorb calcium efficiently. If you are low on vitamin D3,  your body can only absorb a tenth to a fifteenth of the calcium you take in.

In addition, vitamin D3 naturally combats cancer. Optimal vitamin D3 levels are thought to reduce the risk of many types of cancer including: colon, prostate, and breast cancer.

Vitamin D3 is also an anti-inflammatory agent that protects the heart. Researchers have found that patients with low levels of vitamin D3 demonstrate a 60% percent increased risk of heart disease. In addition to this, studies have shown that inadequate levels of vitamin D3 may triple the risk of hypertension.

And that’s just the beginning of vitamin D3’s abilities. It even helps to stave off diabetes, depression, multiple sclerosis, and the flu. Pretty amazing, right?

The difference between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3?

However, make sure you are taking the correct vitamin D. Often  milk and other foods are fortified with vitamin D but unfortunately, it is of the synthetic form, and is known as ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2. On the other hand, vitamin D3, known as cholecalciferol, is produced in the skin with sunlight exposure – making it natural to the human body, and a perfect match. To emphasise! Make sure to choose vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). You should avoid vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) at all costs. I can’t stress this enough.

The reason? Because vitamin D2 is not natural to the human body. Vitamin D2 is a compound produced by irradiating yeast with ultraviolet light – it is not natural! The body does not recognise it, and therefore, works only half as well! In fact, vitamin D3 is at least three times more potent than vitamin D2, is more stable, safer, and more useful in the body. And importantly, vitamin D2 has been linked to various health issues, one of which is irritation of the lining of the blood vessels.  

Why deprive your body of true D3 when you can get it so easily? From the sun, through supplementation, and from certain foods! Vitamin D3 however, can not be found in many foods, in fact, just  about 10 percent of the vitamin D3 we get, comes from the foods we eat.

Remember this when you’re shopping: look for the top nine vitamin D rich foods: sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, raw milk, caviar, eggs, mushrooms, and cod liver oil. And don’t forget sunlight promotes the synthesis of vitamin D from cholesterol. Also, an authentic, high quality, vitamin D3 supplement enables your body to recognise, understand, and use it appropriately. Basically speaking… let your body do what it does best with what it knows best! In short, give your body what it recognizes. Always, always follow nature.  

However, beware of prescription vitamins, they are, more often than not, vitamin D2 rather than vitamin D3, and are therefore, not the best for your health.

Did you know that vitamin D3 isn’t really a vitamin?

Strange concept, interesting fact.

The truth is that vitamin D3 is a steroid hormone. It can’t be a typical vitamin because the body can – and does – make it on its own.

As mentioned previously, sunlight promotes vitamin D3 synthesis from cholesterol. But let’s take a closer look at this miraculous feat!

When sunlight meets your skin, the body undergoes a symphony of sorts. It produces a substance called 7-dehydrocholesterol. You might not have heard of it, but it is the start of an incredible process undertaken by your body.

7-Dehydrocholesterol then turns into cholesterol (yes, you heard that right), which converts into a healthy supply of vitamin D3. All you have to do is spend about twenty minutes in the sun without sunscreen- et voila! Your body has naturally supplied itself with this essential nutrient. However, vitamin D3 synthesis declines with age, mainly because the concentration of 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin declines. This is where supplementation is important.

I personally advocate the use of supplements if you’re vitamin D deficient. If you’ve read my books, you’ll definitely understand why. 

My books (The Cholesterol Puzzle and The Menopause Cure) and are available to buy on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

The Menopause Cure | Menopause Woman

The Menopause Cure

Is vitamin D deficiency rare?

Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is not rare. Recent official figures show that in the UK, 23% of adults, 21% of the elderly and 22% of teenagers have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. Astonishing, and deeply troubling figures that highlight how big an issue vitamin D3 deficiency is.

Some experts have suggested that nearly half of the global population is deficient.  And because of a decrease in production with age, your risk of deficiency is even higher. Maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D3 is essential to your overall health and wellbeing.

Is vitamin D3 linked to osteoporosis?

The answer is yes.

Vitamin D3 is required for the absorption of calcium into the bones and to help keep them strong. Again, production of vitamin D3 declines with age, without sufficient vitamin D3 the bones will become soft and weak. Taking professional-grade supplements may help protect against osteoporosis. Other nutrients that may also help are magnesium, calcium, vitamin K2 (as menaquinone), zinc, selenium, collagen, and silicon.

Will my vitamin D3 levels fluctuate with the seasons or based on location?

This depends on how far you live from the equator. Here are some rather interesting vitamin D3 statistics:

  • If you live in the UK, your body will struggle to produce sufficient vitamin D3 from October to March.
  • In the Southern Hemisphere, the schedule flips. For example, citizens of Buenos Aires won’t produce much vitamin D3 in June.
  • Scotland is particularly vulnerable to vitamin D3 deficiency. This is why experts recommend supplements throughout the year – especially during autumn and winter months.

Is there anything I should know about vitamin D3 and the menopause?

Ensuring that you have optimal vitamin D3 levels is one of the most important steps towards managing the menopause and staying healthy. Think of it like this: bones need calcium for strength. After menopause sets in, the body can’t make vitamin D3 as easily so it often needs a little assistance to reach optimal vitamin D3 levels. Doing this now can help prevent osteoporosis and other menopause-related health issues in the future.

What should I do next?

You owe it to yourself to get your levels of vitamin D tested. A doctor can perform a very quick and easy procedure to help you find out your levels. The best possible strategy you can employ is to be proactive and help prevent a vitamin D3 deficiency.  

Note: Always supplement with magnesium when taking calcium – magnesium is a natural calcium blocker, therefore is heart-healthy. Magnesium has the ability to block the channels by which calcium enters the cells; when magnesium is low, intracellular calcium rises. Magnesium can help avoid a buildup of calcium in the arteries.

References:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/2/491S.full

www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/

www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/vitamin-d-and-your-health

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002405.htm

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/128762-overview

www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/176941.php

www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2010/1/startling-findings-about-vitamin-d-levels-in-life-extension-members/page-01

www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/vitamin-d-and-osteoporosis/

www.prevention.com/health/symptoms-vitamin-d-deficiency

www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/vitamin-d-and-osteoporosis/

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/%23!po%3D1.18110&source=gmail&ust=1481664140371000&usg=AFQjCNFqbC9sm6NZ3B2f_lHGqjWCfO8OtQ

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/vitamin-D-sunlight.aspx

www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/Healthy-Living/Food-Health/vitaminD

www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3945536/From-preventing-flu-helping-live-longer-doctor-reveals-follow-Government-s-advice-pop-vitamin-D-winter.html

3 things to you need to know about bone health

We all know that as we age our bones become weak and fragile and can progressively move towards osteoporosis. Here are restorative medicine’s top 3 tips to keep your bones strong and healthy, and osteoporosis away:

1. Keep your hormones levels balanced and at optimal levels

As we age hormones declines which go on to totally disrupt the hormonal environment. There are various hormones involved in bone health including the major sex hormones oestrogens, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA, as well as parathyroid hormone, and vitamin D. In menopause both oestrogen(s) and progesterone levels drop quite drastically, this is the beginning of ‘bone breakdown’. Oestrogen(s) and progesterone work as a team in our body, and along with their many tasks, support bone health.

If we keep our hormone environment healthy we will keep our bones healthy, along with the rest of the body. Restore your hormones, restore your body, with bioidentical hormone restorative therapy. In my latest book The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health, you will find out so much more on how to protect your bones… your brain and your body!

2. Make sure your blood levels of vitamin D are optimal

The second tip is make sure your blood levels of vitamin D are optimal so calcium can be absorbed. Almost everyone is deficient in vitamin D, even those living in warmer climates. Soak up some sun, but not too much, don’t abuse it! Eat a diet rich in calcium to supply the body with its daily needs thus avoiding the necessity to raid the bone storage vaults, which would then leave the bones deficient in calcium – our bones are a reservoir that store minerals and calcium that may be needed by other parts of the body!

Many women are advised to take calcium supplements which are really not necessary but if you do supplement with calcium, always, always remember to take magnesium as well. Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker and has the ability to block the channels by which calcium enters the cells; when magnesium is low, intracellular calcium rises. You do not want calcium entering the cells of your heart. Calcium plays a big role in the build up of plaque, arrhythmia, blood pressure elevation, and even constipation.

3. Regular weight bearing exercise

The third tip is do regular weight-bearing exercise; it is crucial to bone health. Weight-bearing exercise helps to keep both the muscle and bone healthy and strong. If you start weight-bearing exercise before the menopause your bones will take longer to thin out and weaken. Run, walk, move it and grove it, dance and chance it. If you don’t move it you will lose it! Start today!

Get some sun but do not abuse it!

Who is afraid of the big bad wolf?

Who is afraid of the big bad wolf? Not me! The sun is the thing that dreams are made of, paradise beach and palm trees. The sun is the thing that vitamin D3 is made from. So why be so afraid of it? Perhaps we don’t understand it. When sunlight hits the skin, it converts a substance in the skin into vitamin D3, through a series of actions. We also get a small amount of vitamin D3 from food but this alone is not sufficient to give us our daily needs, so the next best option is the sun, which is as natural as food, or then there is supplementation.

Why we need vitamin D3

Believe it or not, nearly everyone is deficient in vitamin D3, even those living in warmer climates. Insufficient vitamin D3 has been linked to just about every age-related disorder there is, including cancer, vascular disease, osteoporosis, and chronic inflammation. Adults, along with children, with higher vitamin D3 levels get less colds and flu, and other viral infections. Women with insufficient vitamin D3 levels could have a 253 percent increased risk of colon cancer and postmenopausal women a 223 percent increased risk of breast cancer. Myriad of studies show that higher levels of vitamin D3 reduce breast cancer incidence. Soak up some vitamin D3!

Bring on the sunshine

As an added bonus, the warmth of the sun on our skin makes us feel less inhibited, more lighthearted and that healthy glow makes you feel more attractive, contrary to what your dermatologist may tell you, “You are setting yourself up for cancer, wrinkles and sun damage,” says he. “Not necessarily,” say I. Sun exposure prompts our sexual desire because it stimulates two major glands, the pituitary and hypothalamus that play a role in this emotional reaction. Vitamin D3 is an anabolic nutrient and helps raise our testosterone and human growth hormones levels. Roll on that sun!

Safe and sensible sun exposure

It is only obvious that we want to breathe fresh air and feel the warmth of the sunlight on our face and body. The problems starts when we go overboard on the latter. What you want is a healthy and safe sun exposure, which is, a once-a-day soak up of 40 minutes (that would be 20 mins per side), without sunscreen. The best times are between 9.00am and 11.00am or after 2.00pm. Long hours in the sun are not necessary.

We need sufficient levels of vitamin D3 to be healthy and to protect our health for the future; sunlight is nature’s way of providing us with it. And it’s ‘free’! Get some sun but do not abuse it!

To your health.

References

J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2009;28(2):133-41.
South Med J. 2005 Oct;98(10):1024-7.
Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Jul;19(7):468-83.
Thyroid. 2009 Jun;19(6):623-8.
World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jul 21;15(27):3349-54.
Ann Oncol. 2009 Sep;20(9):1576-81.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Jun;2(6):598-604.
Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2009 Jul;18(4):308-14.
BJU Int. 2009 Apr 4.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006 Apr 5;98(7):451-9.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007 Jul 18;99(14):1120-9.
Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2009 Jul;7(3):414-22.
Am J Ther . 2009 May 15.
Orv Hetil. 2009 Jul 26;150(30):1397-402.
Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jun 9;168(11):1174-80.
Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jun 23;168(12):1340-9.
Arch Intern Med. 2007 Jun 11;167(11):1159-65.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2009 Jan;113(1-2):134-8.
Autoimmune Rev. 2009 May 7.
Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2006 Nov;24(6):702-4.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;82(3):575-80.
Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2009 Mar 3;89(8):514-8.
Trends Mol Med. 2002 Apr;8(4):174-9.
Arch Intern Med. 2009 Feb 23;169(4):384-90.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;63(4):473-7.
Epidemiol Infect. 2006 Dec;134(6):1129-40.