WHY VITAMIN D IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR HEALTH - NOVEMBER 2016 - VOLUME 8, ISSUE 8

 

 

Ramilas Health Tips

Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic

 

The news about vitamin D keeps getting better and better. Since the Canadian climate does not provide enough vitamin D from sunlight during the late fall and winter months, supplementation is particularly important, and also inexpensive. I'm sure you know vitamin D is extremely important to your health, but you may not be aware of some of its benefits. We reviewed some of them in our October 2013 and October 2010 newsletters, but there are some important updates. Note that we are using 'vitamin D' to mean D3 (and not D2). Read on below...
 
These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.

Volume 8, Issue 8

Ramila Padiachy

Doctorate of Natural Medicine (DNM)®

Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic

1437 Woodroffe Avenue
Ottawa ON (map)

613.829.0427
info@ramilas.com

Why Vitamin D is Important to Your Health

The Vitamin D Council summarizes the benefits of vitamin D as follows:
"Vitamin D is important for good overall health and strong and healthy bones. It's also an important factor in making sure your muscles, heart, lungs and brain work well and that your body can fight infection."

 

sunshineUnlike other vitamins, vitamin D does not depend on the foods you eat, but on your exposure to the sunshine (or vitamin D supplements). Exposure to the sun enables the body to make its vitamin D. The body then turns vitamin D into a hormone, known as 'activated vitamin D' or calcitriol. Vitamin D has an important role in managing calcium in your blood; it enables calcium to be properly absorbed. It also helps cells all over the body to communicate properly.

 

To briefly review the benefits of vitamin D that we've already discussed in the October 2013 newsletter, vitamin D

  • lowers the risk of several types of cancer
  • improves lung function
  • helps build strong bones and teeth
  • contributes to good cardiovascular health
  • helps our immune system
  • combats aging
  • protects against multiple sclerosis
  • helps reduce insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes
  • reduces the risk of Parkinson's disease
  • helps prevent disability and limitations in activities of daily living

This is already a very impressive list, but new research is adding to this all the time. The following is just a partial account of some of the most recent knowledge of the benefits of vitamin D.

 

While the evidence is preliminary, there is increasing research examining a link between vitamin D and Alzheimer's Disease.

  • There are receptors for vitamin D in many parts of the brain. This means vitamin D is acting in some way on the brain and influencing how a person thinks, learns and acts. It has been found that, in people with Alzheimer's disease, there are fewer receptors in the hippocampus which is involved in forming memories, or in other words, a greater number of vitamin D receptors indicates better memory.
  • Of course, prevention of Alzheimer's disease is extremely important. So far, researchers can't say for sure that getting enough vitamin D will prevent Alzheimer's disease, but since low levels of vitamin D are associated with poorer cognitive performance, this seems to hold promise.

Vitamin D may help reduce pain.

  • A meta-analysis of 19 randomized clinical trials and 3,436 participants is the first to quantify the effect of vitamin D supplementation on pain. Sixteen of the 19 RCTs included in the analysis were hospital-based; the remaining 3 were community-based.
  • A significantly greater mean decrease in pain score was observed with vitamin D supplementation compared with placebo in people with chronic pain.
  • This suggests that vitamin D could have a role in the management of chronic pain. Further study is needed to confirm these findings.

Vitamin D may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, which is one of the most common forms of cancer. Research tells us that:

  • People with low levels of vitamin D in their body are more likely to develop colorectal cancer.
  • Regions, where people are exposed to the lowest amount of sunlight, have higher rates of colorectal cancer than people in sunny places.
  • Studies have found a dose-response relationship, where for each increase in vitamin D level in the body, there is a decrease in colorectal cancer risk.
  • High levels of vitamin D in the body may improve survival from colorectal cancer.
  • Most studies of vitamin D and colorectal cancer have been observational, which means that researchers can't be sure whether vitamin D causes the observed reduction in risk, or whether it's due to some other factor.
  • Again, more study is needed to clarify the strength of this association.

Influenza and Vitamin D:

  • People who get influenza are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D can help reduce inflammation caused by the influenza virus and increase the number of antimicrobial proteins that fight against viruses.
  • Influenza infections increase during the winter, which is when vitamin D levels are known to decrease in the population.
  • Some studies have shown that taking vitamin D supplements can reduce the chances of getting influenza; however, others have not shown this.
  • Having high levels of vitamin D may help decrease recovery time from an influenza infection.

 

What level of vitamin D supplementation is appropriate?

There is no single answer to this question. It depends on how much sun you get, your skin colour (darker skin absorbs less), your age (adults need more than children or infants), your weight (the more you weigh, the more vitamin D your body can handle), and whether it's winter, summer or somewhere in between. Supplementation is necessary during the winter months in Canada! Check this reference for more detail.

 

While different organizations define various levels of vitamin D supplementation as appropriate, it seems more than 10,000 IU (International Units) of vitamin D per day is excessive.

 

How much sun do I need?


It takes very little summer sun exposure, particularly if you're fair skinned, to get enough vitamin D from the sun - about half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn. This could be only 15 minutes for a very fair skinned person, or a couple of hours or more for a dark skinned person. This guideline will lead to the body producing from 10,000 to 25,000 IU. Note: higher amounts are not a problem when vitamin D is generated by the sun, as opposed to obtained from supplements.

 

I hope vitamin D helps you have a healthy winter season!

 

Supplements

vitamin D3There are some Nature's Sunshine supplements that are relevant to this newsletter.

 

You can find information about these products and purchase them in our online store:

  • Super Vitamins & Minerals
  • Vitamin D3
  • Liquid Vitamin D (available from our office only)

For additional information, please email info@ramilas.com or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Visit our website where you can see back issues of this newsletter, information about services, products, and our clinic, and order products.

 

References:

  1. What is vitamin D? The Vitamin D Council. vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/ Accessed October 24, 2016.
  2. Alzheimer's Disease. The Vitamin D Council. vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/alzheimers-disease/ Updated November 30, 2015.
  3. Balion C, Griffith LE, Strifler L, et al. Vitamin D, cognition, and dementia. Neurology 2012;79:1397-1405.
  4. Can vitamin D-crease pain? examine.com/nutrition/can-vitamin-d-crease-pain Accessed November 10, 2016.
  5. Wu Z, Malihi Z, Stewart AW et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pain Physician 2016;19:425-427.
  6. Colorectal cancer. The Vitamin D Council. vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/colorectal-cancer/ Last updated January 2014.
  7. Influenza. The Vitamin D Council. vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/influenza/ Updated December 2015.
  8. How do I get the vitamin D my body needs? The Vitamin D Council. vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/ Accessed November 14, 2016.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

"Will I ever be able to dance at my niece’s wedding?" I asked myself. My feet are cramping and I cannot stand to wear shoes. I happened to have an appointment with Ramila and Megs on the day before the wedding. It seems I had been sensitive to magnesium all along. One desensitization treatment and voila! I was able to dance the evening away!

- Johanne, Ottawa

When health begins, dis-ease ends.