9 reasons you need to be supplementing with vitamin D
(NaturalHealth365) If you are relying on a multivitamin supplement to meet your need for vitamin D, think again. A quick glance at package labels shows most popular multivitamin supplements do not even come close to providing the amount of vitamin D necessary to achieve maximum health benefits and reduce the risk of disease.
Most readily available commercial multivitamins contain only about 400 to 600 IU of vitamin D. Yet, extensive research has shown that vitamin D intake in the range of 5,000 to 8,000 IU each day, taken with a meal for better absorption, has been associated with reduced risk of stroke, multiple sclerosis and other conditions.
The connection between low vitamin D levels and bone loss
The relationship between loss of bone density and low vitamin D status has become common knowledge for most people. But, while reducing osteoporosis risk is important, there is a long list of other protective health benefits this low-cost vitamin can impact.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that vitamin D blood levels ranging from 50 to 80 ng/mL are associated with reduced risk of death and a lower incidence of many common diseases. A significant quantity of published studies show an association between insufficient or deficient 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood levels and greater risks of chronic inflammation, vascular disease and even cancer.
Here are nine reasons why you should be taking adequate doses of vitamin D on a regular basis to realize the full slate of vitamin D benefits:
1. Prevent osteoporosis and bone loss: Vitamin D has long been associated with prevention of osteoporosis and bone loss. As in most cases, consistency in taking supplemental vitamin D over a long period of time will yield the best protection against bone loss.
2. Reduced incidence of mortality in hospital patients: A 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a Vitamin D deficiency resulted in nearly 3-times more patients dying in the ICU. A later study reported in 2015 showed similar results, with patients deficient in vitamin D dying about 2.4 times as often as those with adequate levels.
Providing ICU patients with high doses of vitamin D after admission to the ICU did not always result in a better outcome, however. This would suggest that it’s important to maintain adequate blood levels of vitamin D on a consistent basis.
3. Linked to multiple sclerosis (MS): Research has found more than 90 percent of MS patients are deficient in vitamin D, showing blood levels below 20 ng/mL. Vitamin D can intervene with the immune cells known to attack the myelin sheath, a hallmark in those suffering from MS. When these cells were exposed to vitamin D, MS progression was noticeably slowed.
4. Memory loss: A study published in JAMA Neurology showed that older adults with low vitamin D levels are likely losing their memories and ability to think at a rate faster than expected. This is particularly true when it comes to memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
5. Reduced risk of cancers: The inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-6 has been linked to several types of cancer. A significant study found that when overweight subjects were provided with vitamin D as well as a weight-loss program, there was significant reduction in Interleukin-6 cells.
6. Reduced risk of schizophrenia: An imbalance of dopamine is believed to be the cause of schizophrenia. The vitamin D receptor emerges in the brain stem about the same time as the peak period of dopamine cell birth in rat embryos.
7. Linked to attention deficient hyperactive disorder (ADHD): Research analyzing vitamin D blood levels in 1,650 mothers showed that for each 10 ng/mL increment in vitamin D levels, their children had 11 percent fewer ADHD-like symptoms.
8. Improved functional outcome post-stroke: With 40 percent of all victims experiencing debilitating conditions ranging from moderate to severe, stroke is the leading reason for serious long-term disability. Numerous studies have found optimal vitamin D levels decrease stroke risk as well as the odds of permanent disability if stroke does occur. One of these studies found that for each 10 ng/mL decrement in vitamin D, the chance of a poor 90-day post stroke functional outcome was found to have doubled.
9. Important for gestational development: The vitamin D receptors in the brain stem have been associated with embryonic development of rats in the lab. This reinforces the idea that vitamin D is important for gestational development, with a deficiency possibly leading to impaired growth of the fetus.