Recent studies proving vitamin D3’s health benefits and immune boosting qualities are legion. One of these, by University College London Institute of Child Health, found vitamin D3 deficiency is ‘largely being overlooked by our health professionals.’
Their report, in the British Journal of Nutrition, appeals for a unified approach from health authorities towards supplements. They call into question the Department of Health’s advice that pregnant women make certain they receive 10 micrograms of vitamin D3 daily, adding that diet and sunshine don’t provide an adequate supply.
95% OF WOMEN ARE VITAMIN D-DEFICIENT
A University of Michigan study (Lee JM et al) of 40 pregnant women, the majority of whom were taking prenatal vitamins, found 37 of them had vitamin D levels below 40 ng/mL, and the majority had levels below 20 ng/mL. More than 25% had levels below 10 ng/mL. The results were published in Clin Pediatr (Phila), 2007.
50% OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION IS VITAMIN D DEFICIENT
In the July 2010 issue of Endocrine Today, a monthly newspaper published by SLACK Inc, Anthony Norman, a distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry and biomedical sciences and an international expert on vitamin D, writes that half the people in North America and Western Europe get insufficient amounts of vitamin D:
“Given that two- thirds of the people are vitamin D insufficient or deficient, it is clear that merely eating vitamin D-rich foods is not adequate to solve the problem for most adults.”
“There is a wide consensus among scientists that the relative daily intake of vitamin D should be increased to 2,000 – 4,000 IU for most adults.”
GETTING OUT IN THE SUN
Subsequently, Cancer Research UK has now revised its advice that we should stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm, wear hats and clothing and use a sunscreen (provoked by concern that rising skin cancer rates are linked to exposure to sunshine).
Now the charity recommends short spells of midday sun exposure without using a sunscreen. This is great news, giving us licence to get out into the sunshine in the knowledge we’ll top up our levels of vitamin D3 and boost our immune systems.
Vitamin D3 has aroused a lot of interest among cancer researchers, both as a preventative measure or with involvement in treatment of the disease.
An American study, in 2007, showed that women who ate foods containing high levels of calcium and vitamin D3 had up to 40% less chance of developing breast cancer before the menopause. The study involved more than 30,000 women.
Prostate cancer was the subject of a study published in the Journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons in 2009. Results showed that a daily dose of vitamin D3 reduced PSA levels – the gauge measuring the severity of prostate cancer – by as much as half in 20% of patients.
The protective effect of vitamin D3 against bowel cancer was the subject of a study by researchers from Imperial College London. They discovered a 40% reduced risk of bowel cancer among people with the highest concentrations of vitamin D3 in their blood. Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers concluded that vitamin D3 may be associated with a protective effect against bowel cancer.
Twenty Swedish men and women suffering from psoriasis were taken for a 3-week break to Gran Canaria, to test the effects of vitamin D3-rich sunlight on the group. The severity of their psoriasis was measured by the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) and results were impressive, with their PASI scores dropping by an average of 73%.
COLDS & FLU
Vitamin D3 supplements can reduce the incidence of colds and flu by 70%, according to American researchers at Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola. A group of volunteers tested the vitamin over a period of 3 years. Findings showed it stimulated natural immunity to viruses and bacteria, suggesting the occurrence of colds and flu is a direct result of the decline in vitamin D3 containing sunshine.
Latest research from Canada suggests a strong link between the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and a gene that increases the risk of MS. Lead researcher Professor Ebers said the interaction of vitamin D with the gene is very specific and seems most unlikely to be a coincidence. That it may have the potential for treatment which might prevent MS one day in the future.
Another group that appears to benefit is the over 60s who, because of mobility problems, may not receive enough sunshine, ergo vitamin D. In a recent double-blind controlled 6-month study, individuals tested the effects of Calcium plus vitamin D (D3) or calcium plus a placebo. The Calcium/vitamin D group saw hip flexion strength increase by 16.4% and leg extension strength increased by 24.6%.
And vitamin D will surely reveal even more health benefits in the future.
RECOMMENDED VITAMIN D3
Vitamin D3TM 5000iu capsules deliver a significant dose of Vitamin D3 as well as a 100mg of Calcium from coral.