Vitamin D: An underestimated nutrient

February 23, 2012

Cancer, Depression, Health, Health Concerns

The fact is that up to 75 percent of the American population, including those living in Arizona, are deficient in vitamin D.

by Matt Nagelbush — 

Many of us who live in Arizona believe we do not have to worry about getting enough vitamin D. Yet this is a big misconception. The fact is that up to 75 percent of the American population, including those living in Arizona, are deficient in vitamin D. In addition, up to 90 percent of African Americans are also deficient in this very important nutrient.

The following YouTube poem describes the importance of vitamin D:

  • “So you go outside — aah — and the sun hits your skin, do you cringe, cover up — no — you let it all in.
  • That’s because photons from sunlight dive into skin you see, morphing compounds like cholesterol into pre-vitamin D.
  • To your blood, to your liver, then to your kidneys it flows, that is the first place that active vitamin D begins to grow.
  • Vitamin D controls calcium, is best friend to bone and to muscles, nerves and all the teeth that you own.
  • With enough sun you know you will get even more D, in cells in your body for better enhanced immunity.
  • D helps blood pressure drop while depleting arthritis, diabetes, depression and even psoriasis.
  • D will chill inflammation and battle infections, so your whole immune system can beat insurrections.
  • If it’s MS or cancer or diseases of the heart, D is the preventative, right from the start.”

If you find these concepts difficult to believe, read what other studies have found:

UCSD Medical Center — 600,000 annual cases of breast and colorectal cancer could be prevented by adequate levels of serum vitamin D.

Vitamin D Council — Current research indicates that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in causing 17 varieties of cancer.

Journal of National Cancer Institute — Higher vitamin D levels are linked with reduced risks of developing colorectal cancer.

Diabetes Health — People with high vitamin D and calcium intake had an 18 percent lower risk of diabetes.

Doctor’s Guide — Clinicians need to monitor serum vitamin D levels on a regular basis.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III — People who spend more time in the sun as children subsequently have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis.

So, how do you get enough vitamin D? A major source is the sun. But how safe is that? Vitamin D is found naturally in many vegetables, especially those of the green leafy variety, and the food industry is now adding vitamin D to many foods during processing. Additionally, many companies are manufacturing products that serve as supplements for the natural source of vitamin D. We suggest that you find a good nutritionist to help you combine these sources of vitamin D to best fit your lifestyle.

How much vitamin D is enough? First, we suggest that you get your serum levels checked before starting any vitamin D supplementation. Then recheck it on a regular basis. It has been recommended that one maintain a level between 50 to 100 ng/ml, with a level closer to 100 ng/ml than 50 ng/ml.

More than any other vitamin, the role of vitamin D is of primary importance in processing a multitude of metabolic functions, and monitoring the intake of this vitamin will enhance and improve your health.

 

Matt Nagelbush is lab director at Patient’s Choice Lab Services, with five locations in the Valley. 602-923-0605 or www.ptchoice.com.

Reprinted from AZNetNews, Volume 30, Number 4, Aug/Sept. 2011.

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