Vitamin D has long been recognized as vital to bone health because our bodies need the vitamin to absorb calcium. Research has recently suggested that it may also be essential for a wide range of conditions including prevention of colon cancer, diabetes, fatigue, muscle weakness, breast cancer, fibromyalgia, and generalized weakness as we age. Studies have also shown that with age our skin becomes less productive at allowing sunlight to produce vitamin D, thus making a deficiency more pronounced, putting us at risk for fatigue, weakness, and even cancer.
A study published in Archives in Internal Medicine with data from more than 10,500 women over a 10-year period found that women who had a consistent intake of vitamin D and calcium showed a 30 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer.
One of the most interesting functions of vitamin D is its ability to down-regulate hyperproliferative (abnormal) cell growth. Cancer cells that have a vitamin D receptor often respond to Vitamin D, by decreasing their growth, thus reducing the chance of cancer growth.
So what can vitamin D do for you?
• Help prevent a growing list of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart
disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer
• Help keep your bones and teeth strong and healthy
. Regulate the growth and activity of your cells
• Reduce inflammation and help with chronic pain
• Promote energy and strength
How can we get more vitamin D?
• Salmon, sardines, shrimp, milk, cod, cheese and eggs (sockeye salmon contains the highest levels)
• Exposure to sunlight supplies the majority of vitamin D our bodies require. Aim for 20 minutes, three times weekly, in the early morning.
• A supplement containing vitamin D3 is crucial. D3 (cholecalciferol) is from fish oil and also found in eggs, organ meats, animal fat, cod liver oil and fish. It is equivalent to the vitamin D formed on our skins from UV-B sunlight. The dose for younger and older adults is 1,000 IU daily
Testing for vitamin D levels
The best marker for vitamin D is a simple blood test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH) D. This test should be run for those that are in a higher risk category, or have problems getting enough sun exposure (all of us in the winter) and those that have chronic pain, fatigue or loss of strength.
Ask your medical provider for a vitamin D test and start getting your adequate supply of the "sunshine" vitamin this winter!
Nisha Jackson PhD, MS, WHCNP, HHP
Nisha Jackson is one of the nation's leading bio-identical hormone & wellness experts. She is the host of the nationally syndicated radio program "Just Ask Nish', columnist, lecturer, and continues to be in high demand in her Southern Oregon-based specialty practices. With no hidden agendas Nish, as she is known by her radio audience, is relentless to uncover health solutions that work. If it's effective and good for you, it's good medicine.