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25 Excellent Reasons to Take Vitamin D

A portion of a June 2011 article with an excellent title

If you want to be healthier, live longer, get stronger, and keep your brain performing optimally, having adequate levels of vitamin D is the answer. We are well into days of shorter sunlight in the Northern hemisphere, and with an abundance of new research looking at the optimal vitamin D level for health, it is necessary for me to revisit the topic. This vitamin is essential to life, but despite the importance of vitamin D for longevity, confusion remains about how much you need and why.

Vitamin D is synthesized in the body in response to sun exposure or can be gotten from the diet and taken in supplement form. Researchers find that people are chronically deficient in vitamin D because they don’t get regular full body exposure to the sun (the body produces vitamin D in response to ultraviolet light). Additionally, it is difficult to get adequate amounts from the diet even if you eat large amounts of fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, all of which contain vitamin D. Supplementing with vitamin D tablets or fish oil, specifically cod liver oil, is a great way to get vitamin D.

Levels of vitamin D deficiency in the population are hard to estimate, but a 2007 Wake Forest University of Medicine study found that in a sample of 976 adults 65 years of age or older, 75 percent of women and 51 percent of men had low vitamin D levels. Researchers at Oregon State estimate that 70 percent of Americans have less than optimal levels of vitamin D, and nearly a billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient, indicating the need for attention to adequate education and supplementation of vitamin D.

The Vitamin D Council suggests 50 ng/ml (a measurement of the amount of serum vitamin D in the body) is the minimum acceptable level. Experts advise that optimal levels are between 40—80 ng/ml. The Food and Nutrition Board notes that 97 percent of Americans have a vitamin D level that falls within the range of 20—30 ng/ ml, while many of the research studies cited below were testing for health problems based on vitamin D levels ranging between 10—25 ng/ml.

Recommended daily intake of Vitamin D for adults is around 5,000 IUs or 35,000-50,000 IU twice per week (recent research suggests that taking large doses is most effective).

Low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteopenia, osteoporosis, and bone fractures. It is not news that low calcium intake and poor vitamin D status are key determinants of osteoporosis and fracture risk, but a 2010 study suggests that calcium and vitamin D supplementation is an essential component in maintaining bone health. Together these minerals can improve bone mineralization, and correct secondary hyperparathyroidism , thereby preventing falls.

Lips, P., Bouillon, R., Van Schoor, N., Vanderscheuren, D., Verscheuren, S., Kuchuk, N., Milisen, K., Boonen, S. Reducing fracture risk with calcium and vitamin D. Clinical Endocrinology. 2010. 73( 3), 277–285.

Fletcher, R., Fairfield, K. Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2002. 287, 3127-3129.??

The following are the top 25 reasons to make sure your vitamin D levels measure up.

1. Bone Health
2. Muscle Strength
3. Muscle Power and Force Development
4. Lean Body Mass
5. Treatment of Psoriasis and Skin Disorders
6. Blood Sugar Regulation and Insulin Resistance
7. Preventing Multiple Sclerosis
8. Cancer Prevention
9. Asthma Treatment
10. Male Reproductive Health
11. Cardiovascular Health
12. Brain Health
13. Fetal Brain Development
14. Female Reproductive and Maternal Health
15. Treatment of Depression and Brain Disorders
16. Immune Function
17. Kidney Health
18. Treatment of Hypertension and Metabolic Diseases
19. Prevention of Obesity
20. Prevention of Parkinson’s Disease
21. Prevention of Rickets and Osteomalacia
22. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Prevention and Treatment
23. Treatment of Autoimmune Conditions
24. Treatment of Childhood Anemia
25. Prevention of Infections

VitaminDWiki covers all of the above,

and a whole lot more,
and in more depth
but does not do so as nearly as concisely

25 Excellent Reasons to Take Vitamin D        
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