Vitamin D3 Deficiency: how to stay healthy & feel better during flu season

Winter is upon us in Silicon Valley and you know what this means? Shorter days, less sunlight, more coughing & sick people on that daily commute. More flu going around! Oh and not to mention more advertising to get a flu shot to stop you from getting sick.

So this post should hopefully make you a tad uncomfortable and hopefully educate you about a powerful yet forgotten supplement during the flu season… Vitamin D. All this while you get bombarded with advertising & doctors screaming for you to get the flu shot. What the hell is in a flu shot anyways? Is a Vitamin D supplement a better alternative? Read on and decide for yourself.

Vitamin D deficiency

vitamin-d3-caps

Most of us are suffering from Vitamin D deficiency and we don’t even know it.

  • Current research has implicated Vitamin D deficiency as a major reason in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.
  • Kevin Rose & Dr. Weil M.D. covered Vitamin D deficiency as a major cause of disease in detail here, and
  • The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey a group of researchers concluded that having low levels of vitamin D (<17.8 ng/ml) was independently associated with an increase in all-cause mortality in the general population. If you want to read more about Vitamin D click here.

“Vitamin D” isn’t even a nutrient! It comes from the sun, not from nutrition. – GRC

Vitamin D isn’t really a Vitamin like Vitamin C rather more like a powerful steroid hormone in our body which lays an important role in the maintenance of several organ systems. Critically important for the development, growth, and maintenance of a healthy body, from birth until death. Your primary source of Vitamin D is sun exposure followed (to a lesser extend) from food.

Vitamin D inexpensively promotes health.- GRC

Why the deficiency?

Ever since we started spending more time indoors we have been inadvertently starving our bodies of Vitamin D. We spend less time outside in the sun and more indoors working, driving to work instead of walking in the sun with the few exceptions on the weekends out and about. During the typical work week you will be hard pressed to get more than 45 minutes of good sunlight on your skin. But still then only your face and hands are exposed to the sun and possibly covered with sunscreen because as you may have heard… the sun is dangerous and you need to “slip slop & slap” – Aussie health slogan to cover up from the sun.

sydney-skyline

Vitamin D isn’t the only benefit we are missing out on by being indoors. In January 2010 I covered the issue of low LUX and it’s connection to depression and what to do about getting this corrected today without denting your wallet. This revealing post is located here – it goes hand in hand with this post and is highly recommended.

Setting people up to die

Vitamin D Science has a problem: Vitamin D is very inexpensive and cannot be patented.- GRC

Just go outside in the sun and get adequate amount of skin exposure or cheap (about 2.4 cents per day) supplements and you are ready to kick on. No pharmaceutical company wants to even think about investing any sort of money into trials or marketing of Vitamin D because it’s not financially rewarding. Instead when the flu season breaks, you will smell the fear created by these conglomerates to the tune of N1H1 and all its cousins and a need for immunization. Did you know that N1H1 flu shot had limited testing in Australian labs (6 weeks to approve) before hitting the shelfs. Yet so many people jumped to get the injection of something only few know what it contains. The message is simple,  pharmaceutical companies want to “keep you by” and NEVER to cure you or prevent any form of illness. Because there is no money in that.

Curiously absent from all the health advice being handed out on the swine flu by the White House, the CDC, the WHO and even the FDA is any mention of Vitamin D or other natural remedies that offer enormous protections from influenza infections. It is a well-known medical fact, of course, that influenza always gets worse during the winter months North of the equator and the summer months South of the equator (which are really called their “winter” months). This is because as sunlight hours lessen during the winter, the people living there become vitamin D deficient and are susceptible to influenza infections of all kinds. Read more about this in literature here.

But the prevention is so simple. All it takes is good daily exposure to the sun and some Vitamin D supplements to protected you and your family from the common flu and other degenerative diseases. Sounds easy, cheap and feels alright, right? Nature has all the answers but we sometimes fail to see past the smoke.

If you want to read more about Vitamin D uncovered and some great videos visit this site: http://www.grc.com/health/vitamin-d.htm

Vitamin D levels – getting yourself tested

Vitamin D is measured in ng/mL. You can find out your levels by getting blood work for 25-hydroxyvitamin D from your local doctor. Make sure you specifically ask for Vitamin D check when getting full blood work.

Your Vitamin D levels should be 50-80 ng/mL year-round. If they are not you need to act quickly and get them up.

Here is a good chart from Office of Dietary Supplements National Institutes of Health on Adequate Intakes (AIs) for Vitamin D:

ng/mL** nmol/L** Health status
<10-11 <25-27.5 Associated with vitamin D deficiency, leading to rickets in infants and children and osteomalacia in adults [4,13]
<10-15 <25-37.5 Generally considered inadequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals [4,13]
≥15 ≥37.5 Generally considered adequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals [4]
Consistently >200 Consistently >500 Considered potentially toxic, leading to hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia, although human data are limited. In an animal model, concentrations ≤400 ng/mL (≤1,000 nmol/L) demonstrated no toxicity [11,14].

When I got my levels checked in January 2010 they were dangerous low at 13 ng/ML!

Sure I spend a lot of time indoors but I also walk outside for around 1 hour a day. Still this isn’t enough. Therefore fast action to get this corrected was required.

Best ways to ensure adequate levels of Vitamin D

  1. If you are low, start with 50,000 IU tablets for 8 weeks. Your local doctor should give you a prescription for these if you are in the dangerously low zone.
  2. Regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall, exposing as much of the skin as possible (being careful to never burn). Beware of the times you can do this safely when UV index is less than 3. Especially if you are in Australia / NZ where the the hole in the ozone layer has spread.
  3. Take Vitamin D-3 (5000IU) per day for 2–3 months, then get a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.
  4. Get blood work done regularly to make sure your levels of Vitamin D are in the safe zone.

So there you have it. Simple strategy to get your body back on track naturally fighting the common flu and protecting itself from other common diseases.
I am currently supplementing my lack of Vitamin D with 50,000 IU tables and will follow through with the Vitamin D-3 (5000IU) post the 8 week supply.

hot-air-balloon

I’ll leave you with some interesting notes I found online about Vitamin D – a conspiracy you say:

  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers report that people with low vitamin D may face increased risk of peripheral artery disease. Symptoms include narrowed arteries, pain and numbness, impaired ability to walk. This problem is associated with significant disease and death.
  • Circulation magazine reports that those with low levels of vitamin D had a 62% increased risk of heart failure. Those with adequate levels of Vitamin D lowered their risk of colorectal cancer by 72%.
  • People who live in regions with high amounts of direct sunlight have lower incidence of Type 1 diabetes, prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and and multiple sclerosis. Sunlight on your skin produces Vitamin D.
  • The Mayo Clinic Health Letter reports that 93% of patients ages 10-65 with musculoskeletal pain were Vitamin D deficient. Elderly women taking Vitamin D had fewer falls and better leg strength.
  • Vitamin D researcher, Dr. William Grant, reports that 15 types of cancer — colon, esophageal, gallbladder, gastric, pancreatic, rectal, endometrial, prostate, breast, intestinal, bladder, kidney, ovarian, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma — are associated with low Vitamin D levels. He also notes that adequate levels of Vitamin D can reduce your risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis an dother common diseases.
  • Professor Robert Heaney reports that raising Vitamin D levels in the body from 29 ng/m to 38 ng/ml can reduce your risk of getting cancer by 70%.
  • Our bodies make Vitamin D from sunlight hitting our skin, but our ability to do so diminishes four-fold from age 20 to age 70. This is why most people are Vitamin D deficient. This may be the reason so many people break their hips when they fall, have unexplained muscle pain, have heart disease, diabetes or hypertension.
  • For years the “recommended” dose of Vitamin D was 200 iu daily. Today, the recommendations from researchers are in the area of 2000 – 10,000 iu daily. The worse your health is, the more you require.
  • Big Pharma is hard at work on a drug the mimics Vitamin D. When they release it, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a push by Big Pharma to get the government to restrict the potency of natural Vitamin D or they will outlaw it using the guise that it is actually a hormone, not a food.

Further reading material:

“Vitamin D” Research – What and how the world is beginning to learn about the importance of “Vitamin D”
http://www.grc.com/health/vitamin-d.htm

Dr. Weil Interview: Geek Health Issues
http://kevinrose.com/post/354908516/drweil