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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.