5 Reasons To Take Vitamin D

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Vitamin D is one of the most important, and probably the most underrated, supplement to take

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The majority of Australians and Americans have less than optimal blood levels, primarily because it’s difficult to get from food.

Whilst it’s true than natural sunshine is an excellent source of vitamin D, the sun is often not strong enough outside of the summer months to provide adults with healthy amounts.

Here are five reasons to supplement with vitamin D.

1. Lean Body Mass

Vitamin D is essential for the maintenance of muscle tissue, lean body mass, and for avoiding fat gain.

A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to both muscle weakness and an increase in fat mass. A 2010 study found that vitamin D shortage is associated with increased fat infiltration in muscle.

2. Treatment of skin disorders

Skin disorders such as psoriasis can be responsive to treatment with vitamin D.

The reason is that vitamin D has been shown to lessen inflammation. Recent studies have shown that patients suffering from a variety of inflammatory conditions including psoriasis, dermatitis, dandruff, eczema, rosacea, and severe acne were often vitamin D-deficient.

The abnormal growth of skin cells like psoriasis can actually be helped by vitamin D.


3. Bone Health

Low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteopenia, osteoporosis, and bone fractures.

This is not “new” news – we’ve known for years that low calcium intake and poor vitamin D status are key determinants of osteoporosis and fracture risk. [And the big dairy companies like to remind us so they can sell more dairy products].

Vitamin D and calcium can work together to improve bone mineralization, and correct secondary hyperparathyroidism, which can potentially prevent falls.

4. Increase Strength

Researchers have known for years that there’s a link between skeletal muscle being a target organ for vitamin D. Deficiencies in vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness.

More specifically, low vitamin D levels lead to abnormalities in muscle contraction and relaxation, affecting muscle force production. There is also evidence that adequate levels of vitamin D reduce the breakdown of protein within the muscle.

5. Cancer Prevention

Vitamin D has been linked with fighting cancers including lung, breast, colon, and prostate.

In the case of lung cancer, supplementing with Vitamin D may help offset high levels of an enzyme that is associated with the development of aggressive lung cancer tumours.

In a 2011 study, lung cancer patients with high vitamin D levels had an 81 percent survival rate after five years compared to those with low levels (41percent survival rate).

Scientists are investigating other anti-cancer benefits of taking vitamin D supplementation – however I predict more to come on this topic.

How much should you take?

Most experts agree that supplementing with a minimum of 1000 IU’s daily is a good start. However some experts, such as Dr Mark Schauss, believe more units could be beneficial.

Schauss believes in taking anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 units of Vitamin D a day. He also claims if you’re obese, you should take between 10,000 to 20,000 units a day.

How much is enough?

Schauss stresses one thing: You have to do is measure.

According to Schauss, “In the US, optimal levels are somewhere around 70 for Vitamin D level. I see a lot of people in their twenties, in the teens; these people take quite a bit of time. The body uses it up, as it was being absorbed so they’re going to need a lot to start catching up, some people 10 to 20,000. Others they’ve actually used in people with different types of arthritis.”

Can you take too much?

“The Institute of Medicine in the Unites States was saying “you have to be cautious because of some studies showing that anything over a thousand units a day is toxic” and yet they don’t site anything to show that that’s actually the case. So it’s kind of a bogus claim”, claims Schauss.

[For a very insightful podcast with Mark Schauss and Melbourne personal trainer Mark Ottobre, click here.]