Science and medicine have combined their knowledge to give us a beautiful portrait of an extraordinary nutrient we know as Vitamin D. Studies show that the sun synthesizes this vitamin in the skin and turns it into a steroid hormone. This hormone is a “multi-tasker” that helps our bodies stay healthy.
A Powerhouse of Help
Vitamin D is known to promote proper function of the bones, heart, brain, and immune system. U.S. studies found that increased Vitamin D intake reduced cancer risk, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease. Japanese studies revealed more Vitamin D helps to fight influenza (the flu).
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine made recommendations that the daily intake of Vitamin D be raised from 200 IU to 600 per day. The Endocrine Society (the world’s oldest and largest group devoted to hormone research), made the recommendation that we needed two or three times more than that. On the other hand, some specialists raised concerns that higher levels could be toxic. But both agreed that most of us are not getting enough Vitamin D in our diets on a regular basis. The remainder, they concluded, should come from natural sunlight.
Some Benefit for Lowering Cancer Risk
Michael Holick, a biochemist and endocrinologist at Boston University helped chair the committee that put out the guidelines by the Endocrine Society. He wrote a book in 2010 called The Vitamin D Solution. He acknowledges the risk of skin cancer from sun exposure, but says lives saved from greater sun exposure (increased Vitamin D levels and thus the benefits), would far exceed lives lost to skin cancer. He also said that research shows that Vitamin D plays a vital role in preventing other cancers. The top two: colon and breast cancer. He also noted that Vitamin D’s essential functions are directly anticancer in nature. Vitamin D regulates tumor-suppressing proteins and helps prohibit bad cells from multiplying. Vitamin D also limits angiogenesis, which is the process whereby a tumor builds a web of blood vessels to nourish itself.
If that wasn’t enough, Vitamin D is known to stifle infections such as tuberculosis, and is essential in immune function. Across the globe, children and adults are more likely to have illnesses caused due to the lack of exposure to sunshine. These include allergies, asthma, lung infections, and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Vitamin D also helps prevent premature labor and births. And the elderly have shown to have better mental activity when tested with higher levels of Vitamin D in their blood.
I don’t know about you, but Vitamin D has my vote! Be sure to check with your physician before supplementation, and use wisdom when outdoors during the day to protect your skin while still getting plenty of sunlight.
I’m going to put a link at the bottom of the page so that you can read my past article entitled “Your Skin and the Sun”.
Source: The Power of D by Nathan Seppa – ScienceNews Vol. 180, No.2