Mon. Apr.1, 2013 by Blanche Levine
(NaturalHealth365) Low vitamin D levels can be the most damaging influence on our genetic health, according to professor George Ebers, Action Medical Research professor of Clinical Neurology and one of the senior authors of published scientific research.
What are the capabilities of vitamin D?
Researchers, at the University of Oxford, have shown the extent in which vitamin D interacts with our DNA. The researchers found 2,776 binding sites from the vitamin D receptor along the length of the genome. These are the ones unusually concentrated near a number of genes associated with autoimmune conditions such as MS, Crohn’s disease, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and cancers such as, lymphocytic leukemia and colorectal cancer.
Another small randomized, double-blind pilot study involving eight healthy men and women with an average age of 27 – who were vitamin D deficient at the start of the trial. Three participants received 400 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D per day and five received 2,000 units a day for a two month period.
Samples of immune cells were collected at the beginning and again at the end of the study. A broad gene expression analysis was conducted on these samples, and more than 22,500 genes were looked at to see if their activity increased or decreased as result of vitamin D intake.
The results of the gene expression analysis indicated statistically significant alterations in the activity of 291 genes. Further analysis showed that the biologic functions associated with the 291 genes are related to 160 biologic pathways linked to cancer, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardio vascular function.
Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine and leading vitamin D expert – served as the study’s corresponding author, confirmed that the study revealed the molecular fingerprints that helps to explain the health benefits of this vitamin.
He went on to say that the study demonstrates improving vitamin D status can have a dramatic effect on gene expression in our immune cells.
Keep in mind, lots of scientific research suggests that getting enough vitamin D can help type-2 diabetics; improve eye health; reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer plus much more.
The best ways to get vitamin D
Nothing is better than the sun at providing vitamin D in the right usable amount. The requirement for good sun exposure consists of getting outdoors anywhere from 11:00 to 2:00 p.m. – with as much skin exposed to the sun as possible.
This noon time sun is the best way to get the most direct sunlight exposure. You can get 10,000 IU of D3 by spending about 20 to 30 minutes in the sun at noon time. Most vitamin D experts agree – if you live at 30 degrees latitude or lower – you’ll get the most direct sun exposure for the least amount of time.
If you have extremely fair skin – you should start with less time. Age also can dictate the amount of sun you need – young people need less and older individuals need more exposure to the sun to make the same amount of vitamin D.
In addition, what we eat has a great influence on the effects of vitamin D metabolism.
How does magnesium influence vitamin D absorption?
This is a great example of a nutrient that is essential for optimal health including vitamin D absorption and effectiveness. Magnesium is needed for the mobilization of active vitamin D3 calcitriol – so it can prevent osteoporosis.
In Canada, the importance of vitamin D in the prevention of osteoporosis is recognized, which allows the health claim that foods containing calcium and vitamin D along with regular physical activity may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. As you probably guessed, this health claim is NOT allowed within the United States.
A diet high in magnesium can reduce your need for vitamin D3 supplementation and by eating leafy greens, nuts and perhaps some supplemental magnesium – you can meet your vitamin D requirements.
Good (food) sources of vitamin D include some varieties of fish such as, salmon, sardines, orange roughy, anchovies, kipper, herring, and other oily fishes, organic raw whole milk, farm fresh eggs, grass fed beef, mushrooms and high-quality cod liver oil.
Cut down on grains because excess grains in the diet decrease calcium absorption, which translates to an increased demand by the body for vitamin D.
What about vitamin D supplementation?
There are very good D3 supplements for those that can’t get enough sun and as long as you get your levels tested and stay on the recommended dosage – you should be fine. By the way, the correct vitamin D test is called: “25(OH)D”, or sometimes called, 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
Most natural healthcare providers recommend that your vitamin D blood level be around 50-70 ng/ml or even as high as 100 ng/ml for cancer patients.
Very often, if you’re vitamin D deficient, you will need to supplement with about 5,000 – 10,000 IU per day. For children, it’s generally recommended to take 35 IU per pound of body weight. As always, when dealing with health issues, it’s best to work with a trusted, (properly educated) healthcare provider that understands your individual needs.
About the author: Blanche Levine has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She has the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in natural healing including Naturopaths, scientist and energy healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.