When summer is here, it is the right time for brief (less than 20 minutes) whole body exposure to sunshine. Your skin turns the sunshine into vitamin D. Other sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil and vitamin D3 supplements. Everyone knows that too much sun exposure can burn the skin but it seems that some doctors discourage any sun and still believe that vitamin D relates just to the health of bones. The truth is that vitamin D is responsible for so much more.
Research shows how adequate vitamin D levels can help prevent cancer and that there may be heart benefits as well. A Harvard research team led by Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D. showed a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and heart attack risk. In fact, the data revealed that heart attack risk might be cut in half when low vitamin D levels are doubled.
The optimal blood range for vitamin D is now considered by world experts to be at least 45-50 ng/ml (nanograms per millilitre). Some nutritionist like to see it even higher, in the range of 50 – 60 or more, depending on your overall health. Below 40 ng/ml is considered sub-optimal; below 30 ng/ml is deficient; below 20 ng/ml is now considered seriously deficient, and below 10 ng/ml places the patient at real risk, requiring prompt intervention.
Deficiency results in chronic illnesses, and is associated with muscle pain and weakness, and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. If you have high blood pressure or a family history of stroke or heart attack you should get your Vitamin D levels checked. Low levels of Vitamin D are implicated in autoimmune disorders, and in at least 16 different types of cancer, especially pancreatic, lung, breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancers.
It would seem to be imperative that patients suffering from fatigue or any of the above mentioned conditions take charge of their own management and check their vitamin D status. Please feel free to talk to me before adding any new supplements to your daily regimen.
Dr Jeffrey Tucker works full time as a Nutrition Consultant and Chiropractor in the WLA area. (telephone: 310-473-2911). His website is www.DrJeffreyTucker.com
“Vitamin D Deficiency”. Michael F Holick MD PhD; NEJM 2007:357:266-281; see also “Ultraviolet B and blood pressure”. Rolfdieter Krause, Michael Holick et al. Lancet 1998:352:709-710)
“Prevalence of Cardiovascular Risk Factors and the Serum Levels of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the United States”. David Martins et al. Arch Intern Med: 2007:167:1159-1165).