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Get Your Vitamin D Checked: Why And How?…b9aded0752f2131

After my commentary is a nice round-up of Vitamin D benefits from LifeSpotlight (as well as a link to where you can get a test done on your levels).

And now for an obligatory anecdotal “Vitamin D rocks” story:

Just last week my pregnant, dark-skinned (Read: harder to get Vit D) wife came down with a pretty strong cold (and it may have been the flu). For a few days, I seemed to totally avoid it despite taking care of her, sleeping in the same bed, and not taking any particular precautions. About five days into her sickness, I woke up with a scratchy throat and mild congestion. Note: I had previously been supplementing about 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day (Two Carlson Lab Vit Ds plus another 1,000 IU or so from some Calcium vitamins).

On the initial cold symptoms, I immediately upped the dosage to two doses of 10,000 IU per day (So 10 of those tiny little Carlson pills per day total).

Twenty-four hours later, the scratchy throat was still there but it had not gotten any worse. I continued supplementation and after three days of mild scratchy throat and extremely mild congestion, it was gone.

Obviously this is anecdotal, but this has never been the normal progression of a cold for me. The scratchy throat always develops into an all out snotfest within 24 hours and then lasts for days if not more than a week.

So I’m a big believer in Vitamin D at this point. Don’t supplement in these winter months at your own risk.

The clip:

For starters, height and body fat in adolescent girls is affected by vitamin D status:

Approximately 59% of subjects were 25OHD [vitamin D3] insufficient (≤29 ng/ml), and 41% were sufficient (≥30 ng/ml). Strong negative relationships were present between serum 25OHD and … measures of visceral and sc [subcutaneous] fat… In addition, weight, body mass, and imaging measures of adiposity at all sites were significantly lower in women with normal serum 25OHD concentrations than women with insufficient levels. …there was a positive correlation between 25OHD levels and height.

The demarcation line of “sufficient” is quite low as well, so no telling what we’d see with people that have levels in the 40, 50, or 60 ng/mL range.

It’s been found before that higher levels of vitamin D correlate with better breast cancer outcomes. Now we know why: Vitamin D Found To Stimulate A Protein That Inhibits The Growth Of Breast Cancer Cells

Calcitrol, the active form of vitamin D, has been found to induce a tumor suppressing protein that can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells

Athletes, muscle power is increased by vitamin D (at least for girls).

After controlling for differences in the girls’ body weight, the girls with the highest vitamin D levels had the highest jump speeds, jump height, power and force.

Want to think clearly in old age? Get enough vitamin D

The study found that as levels of Vitamin D went down, levels of cognitive impairment went up. Compared to those with optimum levels of Vitamin D, those with the lowest levels were more than twice as likely to be cognitively impaired.

And if you want a cold or the flu, keeping your vitamin D levels low will help.

In the largest and most nationally representative study of the association between vitamin D and respiratory infections, people with the lowest blood vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu. The risks were even higher for those with chronic respiratory disorders, such as asthma and emphysema.

Here are a few more peculiar things vitamin D supplementation has done for Dr. William Davis’ (of The Heart Scan Blog) patients.


Get some sun

Following up a bit on my post regarding hormesis, is an article I read regarding the importance of getting sun exposure for creating Vitamin D from U.S. News. Points of note from the article:

  • There may be a connection between reduced risk of heart disease and Vitamin D, which can only be created by our bodies if they are exposed to UV-B rays from the sun.
  • You don’t get enough sun exposure in the winter to create Vit D if you live north of Atlanta. This brings to mind the correlation between skin color and proximity to the equator.
  • Fair-skinned folk like me only need a paltry 10 minutes in the midday sun to generated more than enough Vitamin D. Yeah! At last a benefit to being so susceptible to sunburn!
  • Glass stops UV rays, which is why you don’t get a tan from riding with that moon roof open or having your arm on the car door window sill.

In thinking about sun exposure, I think about cancer and sunburns. Furthermore, I’m reminded of the commonly held tenet that its your worst sunburn that gives you cancer. Somewhere between sunlight causing cancer and lack of sunlight being unhealthy must be a happy middle ground — perhaps one met with as little as ten minutes a day.

In other sunlight-and-health news, one health editorial wonders if its lack of sunlight on certain areas of the body leads to the worst, most untreatable types of cancer (link). [H/T PF]