by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News
Vitamin D became an important topic within the past decade and a-half ago once it was realized that it is more important for promoting many other health factors than bone health and it helps prevent many diseases in addition to the highly publicized rickets.
The areas in addition to bone health that are addressed by vitamin D include:
• Bolstering the immune system to help fight infections (colds, flu, etc.,) • Regulating the immune system to help avoid autoimmune diseases • Anti-cancer effects to dampen cancer cells forming tumors • Increased cardiovascular function • Muscle function maintenance • Respiratory system support –for healthy lungs and airways • Brain development and dementia prevention • Blood sugar metabolism and regulation to help prevent or reverse diabetes 2 • Mental and emotional stability
Unfortunately, there is considerable misinformation surrounding the topic of vitamin D and how to ensure your blood levels of vitamin D are sufficient for obtaining the above listed health benefits. The fact remains that most of the world’s population is vitamin D deficient.
Mainstream Medicine Attacks the Primary Source of Vitamin D
Sunshine on exposed skin is the healthiest source of vitamin D. There are two basic wavelength rays in sunlight spectrum: UV-A and UV-B. The process of converting UV-B into vitamin D begins with a type of cholesterol precursor in the skin known as 7-dehydrocholesterol.
The combination of this cholesterol precursor and the sun’s UV-B rays creates vitamin D3 or cholicalciferol, which is actually a steroid hormone precursor that begins several complex hormonal functions throughout the body. (Source)
The sun’s UV-B rays are mostly available when the sun is near or at its peak in temperate climates. This location of the sun appears more often in hotter desert and tropical climates and higher altitudes. Clouds obscure the UV-B rays as does glass, which allows the more dangerous UV-A rays to penetrate but not the UV-B rays.
Bright sunlight reflected from snow and bodies of water tends to “magnify” UV-B rays. According to health experts who don’t consider the sun a health threat, three or more exposures weekly on as much skin as you’re willing to uncover for 20 to 30 minutes each time should load you up with enough D3 to maintain health.
Unfortunately, dermatology is vehemently anti-sun. Some have even suggested the human race should live underground. They insist all skin cancers, including the more dangerous life threatening melanoma, are caused by sunlight and suggest you avoid sunlight as much as possible.
They also insist that sunscreen creams or lotions be used for any parts of one’s skin exposed. Yet they ignore the fact that most sunscreen lotions contain carcinogenic ingredients. It seems the sunscreen manufacturers and dermatologists are in some sort of profitable collusion.
Yet, epidemiological studies clearly show most skin cancer victims are indoor inhabitants working in office spaces with artificial lighting. Conversely, outdoor workers who work daily under the sun have considerably less skin cancers.
On a personal note, as youngsters in South Florida during the 1950s and 60s, we ran around in shorts without tops and played tennis under the hot Miami sun without sunscreen. Housing construction was booming then and trade workers and laborers toiled under the sun sans shirts. No one heard of or knew of skin cancer.
While living in Mexico, I observed some gringo retirees spending hours under the sun playing tennis. They were well tanned and healthier and more active than most in their age group. The sun is the source of life and was used by Dr. Johanna Budwig as part of her healing protocol in addition to her diet.
Prior to the Budwig protocol for curing cancer, sun exposure was used successfully for TB patients in European TB sanatoriums during the earlier part of the 20th century. This is not to say that getting sunburned from the potentially damaging UV-A rays of sunlight while soaking in those UV-B rays is OK.
Sunburn was common, even to the point of blistering in South Florida back in the day. It was often handled by slathering vinegar onto it, and there was very little skin cancer known among the sunburned during that time. There was very little sunscreen use as well. It’s obvious that using carcinogenic sunscreens has increased the skin cancer rates.
Now we have cholesterol established by mainstream medicine as the most dangerous item our bodies manufacture. So they prescribe statin drugs to greatly inhibit the body’s ability to produce cholesterol. Diminished cholesterol means diminished vitamin D from sunshine. Vitamin D3 is more of a pre-hormone than a vitamin, and is vital to many internal hormonal processes. (Source)
The irony is that high blood levels of vitamin D protect against cancer. So depriving oneself of sunshine or vitamin D supplementation creates a higher risk of cancer. When there is adequate blood levels of vitamin D from sunshine exposure, the process of converting UV-B rays to vitamin D shuts down at the phase where the liver is involved.
The liver is a vital part of creating vitamin D from the sun. So compromised liver functioning is another source of vitamin D deficiency even among sun-soaked individuals. People of color or dark skin tend to need more sunshine and have lower conversion rates of sun-skin exposure than pale faces.
It’s estimated that lack of vitamin D, especially from sun exposure, is partly responsible for our increasing cancer epidemic. (Source)
Supplementing Vitamin D
Prescription vitamin D2 is not the best way to supplement. It’s not as effective and of course as a pharmaceutical drug there are side effects.
The better, safer supplement is vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. Cholicalciferol is derived from sheep’s lanolin or fish oil. It’s also high in cod liver oil, the original vitamin D supplement.
Supplemental vitamin D3 is fat soluble. So, unlike sunshine produced vitamin D3, it can be overdone to the point of accumulating to toxic levels. But it takes a lot. Supplemental D3 is measured in IU (international units), and many who are sunshine deprived wind up taking 1,000 up to 10,000 IU daily.
To ensure proper absorption of D3 supplements without depleting magnesium, health experts recommend adding K2 and extra magnesium into the mix. Supplementing vitamin D with high doses (above 2,000 IU daily) can lead to depleting magnesium in an already magnesium depleted population, according to magnesium expert Dr. Carolyn Dean.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, one can substitute tanning bed exposure in lieu of high noon sunshine, if the tanning beds are equipped with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF (electromagnetic fields). Dr. Mercola suggests that once you obtain a deep tan, your vitamin D levels should be fine.
One can obtain vitamin D blood level readings to ensure there’s no deficiency, no excess vitamin D floating around in the blood from D3 supplements. The best test is the 25(OH)D test, also called the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. You can obtain this test from a doctor’s office or medical lab. There are even online lab services that can accommodate your 25(OH)D testing.
Here’s what Dr. Mercola and others claim are appropriate vitamin D levels from testing:
• Under 50 nanograms/nanoliter (ng/ml) is deficient, even though older “official” standards have it at under 20 ng/ml. • 50 to 70 ng/ml is considered optimal. • 70 to 100 ng/ml should be present for treating cancer or heart disease. • Over 100 ng/ml may lead to toxicity.
Many of us are highly deficient with this quasi vitamin-hormone. Exposing your skin to direct sunlight helps your body manufacture it, and you can supplement D3 as well. Both D3 sources are recommended since most of us have very low blood D3 counts. Despite the rumors, it’s hard to overdose on D3 even with cholicalciferol supplements. (Source)
So let yourself get sunshine without slathering on sunscreen lotions or proper tanning bed exposure to the point where your skin gets slightly pink. Or ignore the measly U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin D of 600 IU daily (800 for those aged over 70) and supplement 2,000 IU vitamin D3 or more with extra magnesium and vitamin K2 while checking in with an annual or semi-annual 25(OH)D blood test.
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