It’s here – fall and colder weather and with that brings cold and flu season. Yuck!! Bring out that Vitamin D from your cupboard or visit your chiropractor or local health store to pick some up. It’s really important.
Most of us—53 percent of women, 41 percent of men, and 61 percent of kids—have insufficient levels. Though our bodies naturally produce the vitamin from the sun’s UV-B rays, these days we don’t absorb nearly enough sunlight to manufacture an adequate amount—and during winter, most of the country gets so little sun, doing so is impossible. But don’t sweat it: With a few easy moves, you can boost your D levels. We’ve gathered the latest info on the vitamin everyone’s suddenly talking about.
High levels are linked to…
Greater resistance to viruses
People with high levels get sick about half as often as people with low levels and if you get sick, you recover faster! The reason: Vitamin D instructs your white blood cells to manufacture a protein that kills infections.
Specifically, a 30 to 50 percent lower chance of breast cancer, and a 50 percent lower chance of colon cancer. D regulates some of the genes responsible for cellular growth and survival. It helps shut down any out-of-control growth to prevent malignancy. If that doesn’t work, it will help kill the cell.
Higher cancer survival rate
Researchers found that colon cancer patients with high levels of D had a 39 percent lower chance of dying from the disease. And this might actually apply to all cancers.
Reduced risk of Parkinson’s
Researchers believe the correlation may have to do with D’s protective effect on the brain: It regulates calcium levels, enhances the conduction of electricity through neurons, and detoxifies cells, among other handy functions.
Low levels are linked to…
People with insufficient D levels have an 80 percent greater risk of narrowing of the arteries. This might have to do with D’s role in regulating more than 200 genes and controlling inflammation, and its possible involvement in modulating blood pressure.
Since D stimulates insulin production, it’s no surprise that too little is associated with diabetes. Research has also shown that kids who are deficient in D have a 200 percent greater chance of developing type 1.
A 2008 study showed that more than 25 percent of chronic pain patients have low D levels, which could be because D helps control neuromuscular function. And a 2010 study correlated low levels of the vitamin with migraines and headaches.
D may help stimulate serotonin production, which could explain why people who don’t get enough are more susceptible to the blues.
These are some of the great reasons to take Vitamin D in the winter months. I recommend at least 2000 IU per day.