I’m so pleased to see that GPs are now advising their patients to have Vitamin D tests – it’s about time! If there is one vitamin of vital need, this is it.
Vitamin D regulates gene expression, has a positive fundamental effect on cell differentiation and growth, with anti-oxidative and autoimmune anti-inflammatory mechanisms. It positively affects the nervous system by stimulating neurotrophic factors, quenching oxidative hyperactivity and regulating autoimmune responses.
It’s made by the action of UVB sunlight as it strikes the cholesterol covering our bare skin. Unfortunately with our habit of washing with soap, all the cholesterol is washed off, leaving none with which to make vitamin D. So no amount of sunshine will help when skin is washed with soap.
For some of the best information on vitamin D have a look at: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/
Here is what Dr Cannell, of the Vitamin D Council said:
“During the last decade… ground-breaking laboratory studies have shown that the active hormone form of vitamin D interacts with receptors in more than 30 tissues and organs of the body and influences the action of some 1000 or more genes. By these means Vitamin D controls not only calcium homeostasis but another five physiological systems: the immune system, pancreas beta cells, heart and blood vessels, muscle development and strength, and brain development. In addition vitamin D has direct effects on cell activity. It facilitates cell differentiation and apoptosis, that is, it regulates cell death. Together with calcium it has a profound effect on cellular adhesion and initiation of cancer.”
30-50% of people have a Vitamin D deficiency, particularly those living in climates with little sun, living above 34 degrees north or south of the equator, work indoors, spend little time in the sun and have dark skin. The darker the skin the more sun exposure is required to obtain sufficient. The following list gives an indication of levels of vitamin D found in the blood. The test should be done for 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also called calcidiol:
Sufficient: 50-100ng/ml or 125-250 nmol/L
Hypovitaminosis: <30ng/ml or 75 nmol/L
Deficiency: <25ng/ml or 62 nmol/L
Vitamin D comes in three forms:
* Cholecalciferol or D3 which is formed in the skin, this also comes as a supplement to take.
* Calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D) is a prehormone made from cholecalciferol by the liver. When testing for vitamin D this, and only this, is what should be tested for.
* Calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) is made from calcidiol principally by the kidneys, and is a most potent steroid hormone.
Finally a lack of vitamin D reduces the benefits of progesterone, of which, you may know, I’m a supporter.
If you have concerns, please consider having a test done. There is mounting evidence that many (74 at last count), if not all, of our modern diseases, syndromes, symptoms are possibly due to a lack of vitamin D.