Vitamin D Deficiency – Does It Affect You?

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Did you know Vitamin D is critical for heart health as well as cancer prevention? According to The Journal of The American College of Cardiology, Vitamin D deficiencies are prevalent amongst 30 – 50 percent of the population. Lack of adequate Vitamin D levels can increase your risk of stroke and heart attack. The most common source for Vitamin D is through daily sun exposure.

“There are a whole array of studies linking increased cardiovascular risk with Vitamin D deficiency,” noted Dr. James H. O’Keefe, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City. “It is associated with major risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and stiffening of the left ventricle of the heart and blood vessels. Inflammation is really important for heart disease, and people with vitamin D deficiency have increased inflammation.”

Vitamin D and cancer

In 2008, a study emerged from Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska delivering proof that a clear link exists between Vitamin D supplementation and reducing different types of cancer such as colon, breast, and skin (as well as others). Supplementing your diet with Vitamin D alone can reduce the risk of developing cancer by as much as 77 percent. With all the research and funding spent on cancer research over the last 50 years, this should be very exciting news to anyone who has been touched by cancer. The findings of this research reveal how the benefits of this essential nutrient exceed the effectiveness of cancer drugs used by modern medicine.

In their study, scientists conducted testing on 1,179 post-menopausal women aged 55 and older. The first group were administered 1400-1500 mg daily of calcium and 1100 IU of Vitamin D. The second group was given a placebo. After four years had passed, those who had consistently taken calcium and vitamin D supplements showed a 60 percent decrease in cancers. This amount is nearly three times the recommended daily allowance by the USDA.

“Vitamin D is a critical tool in fighting cancer as well as many other diseases,” stated principal investigator Joan Lappe, Ph.D., R.N., Creighton professor of medicine and holder of the Criss/Beirne Endowed Chair in the School of Nursing.

Deficiencies in children at 70 percent

According to an article from CNN (August, 2009), 70 percent of children are deficient in this critical Vitamin. That number is incredibly high! This contributes to early onset health issues that previously were not seen until much later years of age such as high blood pressure and lower levels of good cholesterol. This can contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease developing later in life.

Why are children deficient? Mainstream health advisories by doctors and other health sources warn parents to make sure children avoid sun exposure unless covered in sunscreen. Sunscreen effectively reduces the body’s ability to synthesize Vitamin D properly. Since the 70s, children’s diets have become increasingly lacking in critical nutrients such as Vitamin D.  Most sunscreen contains toxic chemicals that are absorbed through the skin (absorbs 10 times more than the digestive tract) into the body and must be filtered through the liver, and blocks absorption of the important natural components of real Vitamin D.

The other problem which prevents children from maintaining enough Vitamin D in their bodies isInstead of eating a balanced including healthy-sourced seafood, meat, butter, and eggs, they eat a lot of processed foods with chemicals and refined carbohydrates.

The USDA Food Pyramid recommends consuming 6 – 11 servings of grains daily versus 2 -3 servings of meat and meat products. Kids are adhering to the low-fat recommendations by the government of skim milk or soy or rice milk, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, snack products, macaroni and cheese, and many other processed foods that have been fortified but do not contain real nutrients the body can use.

Sources of Vitamin D

Many health experts encourage people to use supplements in order to obtain nutrients like Vitamin D.  Most supplements are synthetically produced and should be avoided. In fact, certain levels of Vitamin D are considered “toxic” by mainstream health care sources, but the reason they are toxic is because they are artificial, rather than the natural variety obtained from sunlight and diet. As many of us are still low in this important nutrient: should you choose to supplement, we recommend getting your Vitamin D levels tested according to Dr. Joseph Mercola’s recommendations beforehand.

The very best bet for good Vitamin D is regular outside exposure to the sun without sunscreen. Spending just a few minutes in the sun daily will provide you with minimal levels, but repeated and regular exposure to allow your body to acclimate to sun exposure will allow you to avoid sunburn and provide you with optimal levels necessary for good health. If you haven’t been out in the sun much this season, go out for numerous days in a row for short periods of time to build up your skin’s ability to withstand sun exposure at longer intervals as time goes on. This is the best way to receive regular sun and allow your skin time to be able to receive more sun exposure without damage as time goes on.

If you are just coming out of the cold and winter months and have had little or no exposure, start out gradually with 10 or 15 minutes and slowly increase your time over a few weeks until you have provided your body a chance to tolerate being in the sun for longer periods of time.

Most sunscreen contains toxic chemicals that are absorbed through the skin (absorbs 10 times more than the digestive tract) into the body and must be filtered through the liver, and blocks absorption of the important natural components of real Vitamin D.

Best dietary sources of Vitamin D include meats, eggs, and raw dairy products from sustainable sources where animals and fowl are on pasture – so butter, soy-free bacon, grass-fed meats, raw milk, whole milk yogurt, seafood such as wild-caught salmon, tilapia, trout, tuna, sea bass, cod liver oil, and mollusks like clams, oysters, mussels, squid, and octopus.

Making sure you obtain adequate K2 in your diet is essential to being able to absorb and convert UVA rays from the sun in the body to readily-absorbed Vitamin D. Sources of K2 include raw butter, cream, and fermented dairy foods such as kefir and yogurt from healthy cows raised on pasture, cheeses such as Edam and Gouda, and natto, a form of fermented soy. We recommend these supplements for natto:

For a current guide on safe seafood sources, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium site.

7 Comments

  • July 29, 2010 - 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Great article! I might add that the 70% deficiency rate in children is based on a blood level of 35 I think (if I am remembering right, pardon me if I am not). If you consider that 35 is still considered low based on newer research and that levels of 50-65 are the proper levels based on this newer research, then well over 90% of children are deficient!!

    Would love it if you considered sharing this article at the Monday Mania blog carnival at The Healthy Home Economist – an eclectic mix of awesome blogs from the Real Foodie world!

    Cheers, Sarah

  • July 29, 2010 - 9:18 PM | Permalink

    Hi Rainie baby and happy Friday! I can’t get enough of your wonderful articles! You need an official section on my Thoughts on Friday link love called “what Raine said this week!” I linked to this extremely important article here: http://amoderatelife.com/?p=386 Thanks again for all you do to provide information to us all! hugs! Alex

  • July 29, 2010 - 10:58 PM | Permalink

    Hi Alex, it’s good to hear from you again! Thanks so much for linking to me, I think your link might be down, but I just thought I’d let you know. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. I’m headed off to bed! Hope you are having a great night! x0x0x0x

  • tanya marquette
    July 30, 2010 - 4:19 AM | Permalink

    My understanding is that the hormone Vit D is necessary in over 2000 body functions. Cancer is only 1 of the many preventive uses it provides. Let me share a little story of success with Vit D.

    My daughter, who has dark skin, gets sunburned despite all the melanin. This year I told her to take 5000 i.u. Vit D3 daily and she reports no sunburn after falling asleep in the sun. Further, she has just spent 2 week working in Haiti–oodles of hot sun there. No sunburn for her. What else she reports is that everyone else working there became sick, including the head of the program who had been there over 3 yrs. She wound up giving everyone all her Vit C and Grapeseed oil that she brought with her.

    I had instructed her to up her Vit C to bowel tolerance (don’t know if she did this) and to begin taking her Vit D3 daily several months before her trip. The trip was very difficult and emotionally draining in many ways. Food was a safety issue, too. All kinds of conditions to challenge the immune system. But my daughter never got sick and definitely no intestinal problems, something so common with north americans traveling in the tropics.

    So yea for Vit D3 in building health.

  • July 30, 2010 - 12:25 PM | Permalink

    There is a lot of information today on the health consequences of Vitamin D deficiency. However, it is critical that vitamin D levels be in balance with vitamin A levels–a fact that you are not hearing. If you have too much vitamin D it will pull from the vitamin A reserves and visa-versa. Vitamin A and D work together in the body and, in proper balance, help to give the cells support for optimal genetic expression, for the endocrine system and nutrient absorption. Vitamin A and D also work together with vitamin K2 (only found in foods from animals on pasture) to put calcium in the right places in the body–like the bones and the teeth–and not in the arteries.

    Here is an excellent article from the WAPF site that will help to clarify this issue:
    http://www.westonaprice.org/cod-liver-oil/1954-update-on-vitamins-a-and-d.html

  • July 30, 2010 - 1:48 PM | Permalink

    Kathy – yes, that point about Vitamin A is so important. That is why I mentioned avoiding supplements because they are synthetic and they isolate nutrients without their naturally-occurring co-factors and enzymes, as well as other nutrient components that must be present for absorption. It’s a shame that scientists have reduced vitamins to isolates that are packaged and sold to the public, creating the illusion that nutrition can be marketed and used to solve health problems, when in reality it is something that can only be found in nature.

    I know now that this is why diseases like osteoporosis, auto-immune disorders, and cardiovascular ailments are rampant. People are consuming foods they are told are heart, immune,and bone healthy, when those foods are in fact the exact opposite of what we need to maintain those critical organ and body systems. People often say they can’t consume dairy (due to allergies, intolerances, etc. ) and mainstream health tells us to consume it anyway because we need calcium, and then we wonder why we have cavities and bone loss. Health sources say red meat is harmful to consume because of saturated fats and other problems like hormones and antibiotics, but the reason those meats and fats are unhealthy is because they don’t contain elements necessary for health – conjugated linoleic acid, Omega 3s, CoQ10, Vitamins A & D, and many others that are critical for heart health. Grass-fed and pasture raised meats as you know are a completely different kind of food that nourishes and maintains, while the alternative – pasteurized, commercial, mainstream meat and dairy full of chemicals – destroys health in many ways.

  • July 31, 2010 - 4:20 AM | Permalink

    Hi Raine,
    Hugely informative as usual and of great personal interest to me as I was diagnosed as Vitamin D deficient (by a mainstream doctor) who prescribed pretty standard supplement which I chose not to take, instead taking Cod Liver oil, eating loads of eggs, fish etc. I do get out in the sun, without sun-screen this time of year but worry about the long UK winter (I think there are only 4 months a year in this country where we have enough sun for adequate Vitamin D production).
    The other thing is I was diagnosed deficient about a year ago whilst still breast-feeding my daughter, who too is probably vitamin D deficient. She is still breastfed (age 2, 9 months) so hopefully gets more in her milk now I have more, but won’t eat useful foods like eggs very often and won’t take cod liver oil. Should I be worried about either of us – it is such a big problem that few recognise as such. I’m worried, come next winter I won’t have enough stored for both of us. Any advice welcome as always!
    many thanks.

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