So far, this winter, I’ve been free of colds or flu. I’ve been around people with colds and flu but I haven’t caught anything. Am I just ‘lucky’? Maybe, but I believe it’s due to my supplementation of vitamin D-3. How did I learn about the importance of vitamin D-3? Through the work of doctors such as Dr. Mercola, Dr. Oz, Dr. Frank Lipman, Dr. Michael Holick and Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council.
What I found was that there appears to be a specific blood serum level of vitamin D-3 for keeping the immune system working optimally and that up to 85% of us are deficient.
Dr. Mercola explains that keeping a healthy blood serum level of D-3 “ regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses.” And states, “In fact, it is very rare for someone with optimized vitamin D levels to come down with the flu.”
Another familiar doctor that has talked about this issue is Dr. Oz: “We know there's a lot of iffy info about vitamins out there, but we're certain vitamin D-3 supplements should be an essential part of your health plan. Unfortunately, almost no one gets enough sunshine-made vitamin D-3 for it to do its job, and it has a big job: reduce inflammation, regulate cell growth and protect your immune and neuromuscular systems. And its potential benefits don't stop there.”
Huffington Post blogger, Doctor Frank Lipman, explains, “vitamin D is involved in making hundreds of enzymes and proteins, which are crucial for preserving health and preventing disease. It has the ability to interact and affect more than 2,000 genes in the body. It enhances muscle strength and builds bone. It has anti-inflammatory effects and bolsters the immune system. It helps the action of insulin and has anti-cancer activity. This is why vitamin D deficiency has been linked with so many of the diseases of modern society. Because of its vast array of benefits, maintaining optimal levels of D is essential for your health.”
In his article “The Vitamin D Solution” in Healthetimes (issue 2, vol 5, 2012), Doctor and PHD, Michael F. Holick highlights the issue of vitamin D deficiency, explaining “In 2009 researchers from Harvard and the University of Colorado revealed that 70% of Whites, 90% of Hispanics, and 97% of African Americans in the United States have insufficient blood levels of vitamin D.”
Additionally, according to the findings from a 2010 study that didn't get any widespread attention, vitamin D is a highly effective way to avoid influenza. In fact, children taking low doses of Vitamin D3 were shown to be 42 percent less likely to come down with the flu.
So what is this healthy blood serum level?
*Dr. Oz and Dr. Lipman recommend a level between 50 – 80 ng/ml and Dr. Mercola recommends a level between 50 – 70 ng/ml (using the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25 OH vitamin D) testing scale). It may be no problem to get this from sun exposure in the summer, particularly if you’re a beach goer, but not so in the cold season.
So how much daily D-3 should I be getting to maintain an optimum D-3 blood serum level? And what other sources, besides the sun, can provide it?
In a recent article Dr. Mercola refers to the latest European guidelines:
“the European Food Safety Authority has raised the RDA for vitamin D supplementation to levels far beyond American guidelines. The EU recommendations are now as follows:
Adults 18 years or older = 4,000 IU/day
Children 11-17 years of age = 4,000 IU/day
Children 1-10 years of age = 2,000 IU/day
Infants less than 1year of age = 1,000 IU/day “
And then goes on to point out:
“According to the most recent research, the ideal adult dose is closer to 8,000 IU's a day in order to achieve serum levels at or above 40 ng/ml.”
Ok, so let’s say, as an adult, I want to be getting somewhere between 4000 to 8000 IU on a daily basis. Before I go purchasing a vitamin supplement of D-3, why not consider getting it through food. So what kinds of food contain Vitamin D?
- Cod Liver Oil (1 tablespoon = 1,360 IU)
- Salmon (3 1/2 ounces = 360 IU)
- Mackerel (3 1/2 ounces = 345 IU)
- Sardines (3 1/2 ounces = 370 IU)
- Milk (1 cup = 98 IU)
- Eggs (1 egg = 25 IU)
So how much of each of these would I need to consume on a daily basis to approximate an amount of, let’s say, 5000 IU of D-3?
- Cod Liver Oil (3-4 table spoons daily)
- Salmon (2.8 pounds daily)
- Mackerel (3 pounds daily)
- Sardines (13 cans daily)
- Milk (51 cups daily)
- Eggs (200 eggs daily)
So what is my preferred method for getting vitamin D-3 during this season? Answer: The vitamin supplement form called natural lanolin. And where does it come from? It’s a substance taken out of the wool that is sheared from sheep and then purified. In one daily capsule I can receive 5000 IU of vitamin D-3 to help optimize my D-3 blood serum level.
And what about toxicity? While there is no danger of toxicity in getting vitamin D-3 from sun exposure there is a toxic upper limit to be aware of when supplementing. The Vitamin D Council explains, “Published cases of toxicity, for which serum levels and dose are known, all involve intake of ≥ 40,000 IU (1000 mcg) per day. 1 Two different cases involved intake of over 2,000,000 IU per day - both men survived. “
When checking our blood serum vitamin D-3 levels we want to make sure we keep it under 100 ng/ml ( in the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25 OH vitamin D) testing scale.
(to see the graphic representation of the testing scale goto the bottom of the linked article, “Vitamin D health benefits”, mercola.com)
Dr. Mercola suggests we first get our Vitamin D-3 blood serum level checked at our doctor’s office (ask for the 25(OH)D test, also called 25-hydroxy-vitamin D) and if that level proves to be below optimum (under 50 ng/ml), we can supplement. We can then have it rechecked after 2-3 months of supplementation to verify we are keeping within the optimal range (50-70 ng/ml).
And what other benefits come with this optimized level? Many
- In combination with exercise, it helps us reduce visceral fat
- Prevent type 2 diabetes
- Rejuvenate aging eyes
- Reduce Alzheimer's risk
- Help treat Tuberculosis
- Slash Pneumonia deaths
- Protect us from 16 different types of cancer.
To view the graphic for the vitamin D-3 blood serum scale, go to the bottom of this page:
For a more detailed presentation of this information check this link:
For further information by the Vitamin D Council:
* For a look at Dr.Oz’s recommended D-3 blood serum level:
For a closer look at Dr. Frank Lipman’s coverage of Vitamin D-3:
For a closer look at the 2010 study mentioned in the article, go to:
The food values in this article were taken from:
- Au Naturel Health & Beauty (7 North Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591)