“Vitamin D truly is the center of the universe.”
~ Dr. Russell Chesney, professor and chairman of pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.
Vitamin D may well be one of the most important supplements you can take for overall health. It’s been “hot” for a while now – all over the news, with stories gushing about it and it’s many benefits.
So what’s the real story? Can vitamin D live up to it’s own hype? Turns out the answer is yes – in fact, it may even exceed it.
The most obvious benefit for D is in relation to bone health – it’s absolutely critical for calcium absorption. But turns out deficiencies of vitamin D have been implicated in diseases from autism to cancer to heart disease and more.
Why Most People Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is produced when our skin is exposed to sunlight. But for years now sunlight has been like a bad case of the cooties – something to be avoided at all costs. We stay indoors hooked up to our computers – most of us even exercise inside. And if we do venture out, the Dermatologist gives us strict orders to cover up with clothing or sunscreen.
Unfortunately, vitamin D is one of the few nutrients you can’t enough of through diet. First of all, there just aren’t that many foods that contain vitamin D. Second, those foods that do contain D almost always have it in the form of D2 – a slightly different form than the D3 created by sun exposure that has been shown to be much less beneficial.
No wonder vitamin D deficiency is now considered a worldwide pandemic.
Why You Need Vitamin D
Bone Health Vitamin D may actually be more crucial to bone health than even calcium. It helps maintain the correct concentration of calcium in the blood, thereby enabling normal bone mineralization. It’s needed for bone growth and bone remodeling. It’s been shown to decrease the risk of falls, fractures and bone loss in elderly patients, to reduce the risk of hip fractures, to improve bone density and to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
More links to research on the link between vitamin D and osteoporosis prevention can be found here.
Heart Health It’s been documented that deaths from heart disease increase with distance from the equator. Blood pressure has also been found to increase with distance from the equator as well as during the winter months. All of which has led to the conclusion by many researchers that vitamin D plays an important role in cardiovascular health. Higher levels of vitamin D have been associated with a substantial decrease in cardiovascular disease. Supplementation with D has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with Prehypertension.
You can find a very thorough list of studies on the links between vitamin D and heart disease here.
Diabetes Vitamin D appears to play a role in insulin regulation. Deficiency has been associated with insulin resistance, Type I & Type II Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It’s also linked to poor diabetes control. Supplementation with vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes, insulin resistance, and Type II Diabetes. This study found supplementation with D3 to have a positive effect on both First Phase Insulin Secretion as well as insulin resistance, and the authors concluded D3 supplementation to be a valuable part of diabetes treatment.
Diabetic patients with very low levels of vitamin D were found to be at much higher risk from dying of all causes and from cardiovascular disease.
More research on the role of Vitamin D in diabetes can be found here.
Weight Loss If vitamin D plays a role in insulin regulation it makes sense it would have a role in weight loss, right? Turns out it just may. Obese individuals consistently have significantly lower levels of vitamin d than those at a healthier weight. And generally, the higher a person’s BMI (Body Mass Index) the more deficient in D they tend to be. Some scientists have even hypothesized that vitamin D deficiency is the cause of common obesity. Vitamin D supplements don’t effect weight loss automatically or without effort. But a higher level of vitamin D going into a diet has been shown to predict greater success in a weight loss effort, especially in losing abdominal fat. In one study women who took vitamin D along with calcium supplements were significantly less likely to gain weight, and indeed lost more weight than women on a placebo.
Overall Health A 2007 analyses reviewed 18 different trials involving 57,000 people and found that those on vitamin D supplements had a 7% lower risk if death from any cause during the 6 years of the study. In Canada, for example, it has been estimated that increasing the amount of vitamin D in everyone’s blood nationally would save 37,000 lives every year and reduce the economic burden by $14.4 Billion.
Vitamin D Cofactors
No nutrient is a vacuum. Vitamin D requires several other nutrients to operate optimally in the body. Calcium is probably the most obvious. But other nutrients include:
- Magnesium is essential for vitamin D metabolism, and that metabolism is impaired by magnesium deficiency.
- Zinc regulates vitamin D receptors in osteoblasts (so it plays a crucial role in vitamin D’s ability to help build stronger bones)
- Vitamin K2 enables carboxylation, which directs calcium deposits away from arteries and into bones. It’s considered a cofactor of vitamin D as D can accelerate calcification. Vitamin K ensures the proper organs are calcified.
- Boron enhances Vitamin D utilization in the body.
Rag-Tag Research Geek Recommendation
You need a supplement in the form of Vitamin D3, along with calcium, magnesium, zinc, K2 and boron. At this time we have found no single supplement with all of these ingredients. The closest we have found is Calciology™. We recommend taking it along with added zinc, manganese, copper and boron for maximum health. Learn more about Calciology™ by clicking here.