Vitamin D has a huge impact on the health and function of your cells. With cellular docking stations, receptors, for vitamin D in virtually all of your body’s cells, you need an adequate blood level of vitamin D in order to “feed” your cells. When the human body does not get enough vitamin D, it affects every area of our biology.
Most people are aware that your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and in return promote bone growth. Without this essential absorption bones can become soft in children (rickets) and fragile and misshapen in adults, osteomalacia. What’s surprising to many people is that you need vitamin D for many other important body functions as well. When you hear what it can do for the rest of your body, you will be shocked!
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to breast, colon, prostate and ovarian cancers. “We could prevent 150,000 cases of cancer annually if we could just increase vitamin D to optimal levels,” states doctor of public health and leading vitamin D researcher, Cedric Garland. Scientists believe that vitamin D helps to regulate genes in a way that protects healthy cells and stops the growth of cancerous ones.
It may be beautiful outside right now, but more indoor time and fewer hours of sunlight can lead to a decrease in vitamin D and explain why some people bulk up. Lower levels of vitamin D can cause a dip in leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite. When this happens, your brain may not send the signal that you’re full and should stop eating. We all know where this leads! Other researchers have theorized that vitamin D deficiency contributes to insulin resistance, one of the main causes of weight gain. In addition, there are weight loss benefits. Results from a study at the University of Minnesota showed the higher the pre-diet vitamin D levels, the greater the weight loss, particularly around the middle.
Vitamin D helps to lower blood pressure and regulate hormones that affect blood vessels and the heart muscles. Research suggests that people with high vitamin D levels may have up to a 50% lower risk of heart disease. Harvard Medical School researchers reported a 62% increased risk of heart attacks or strokes among adults with the lowest levels of vitamin D.
According to Bruce Hollis, PhD, a professor of molecular biology, “Vitamin D receptors in the brain seem to turn on several genes that are important for normal neurological function.” Vitamin D offers a lifetime of brain health benefits from aiding in developing infants to keep adults sharp.
Cold and Flu Defense
Research has shown that colds and the flu are at their worst when vitamin D levels are low. One particular study discovered that women who took 800 IU of vitamin D daily were three times less likely to develop colds or the flu, and those that took 2,000 IU reported even fewer symptoms. Some scientists have nicknamed vitamin D the “antibiotic vitamin”.
Let’s not forgot the many other possible benefits:
- Prevent autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and Crohn’s disease – according to scientists from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston.
- Reduce the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms and the likelihood of hospitalization due to asthma – according researchers from Harvard Medical School found after monitoring 616 children in Costa Rica.
- A form of vitamin D could be one of our body’s main protections against damage from low levels of radiation – according to radiological experts from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
- Help fight depression – Researchers also believe that vitamin D helps keep the brain flushed with serotonin, which plays a crucial role in regulating mood.
- Treating or preventing autism
- Chronic pain
- Neuromuscular diseases
To consult with Dr. Allen and develop a treatment plan that will benefit you, please call for an appointment at (480) 832-7546.