The Importance of Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Researchers have conducted hundreds of studies to measure the health effects of vitamin D levels. Research shows its involved in the biology of your body’s tissues and cells, including immune cells.
About a Vitamin D Deficiency
Since your cells require vitamin D in its active form, this nutrient can impact a whole range of health issues. But, while vitamin D deficiency is and quite simple and inexpensive to address, it continues to be an epidemic worldwide.
A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to all sorts of health issues. In fact, being vitamin D deficient can:
- Increase your risk of internal cancers like colorectal cancer
- Lead to lung disease
- Lead to pregnancy loss
Between 25 to 50 percent or more of individuals who visit a clinical practice are vitamin D deficient.
Upon comprehensive examination of specific data, a 2010 report by a group of experts from the well-respected Institute of Medicine (IOM). The report showed the experts estimated a 20 ng/mL vitamin D level or higher was sufficient for good bone health — anyone under 20 was said to be deficient in vitamin D.
Other convincing research, however, suggests 40 ng/mL is the lowest level for sufficiency and the ideal healthy level to prevent disease is 60 to 80 ng/mL.
Benefits of Optimal Levels of Vitamin D
The benefits of vitamin D are plentiful. An extensive study shows optimal vitamin D levels can actually lower your cancer risk by as much as 60 percent. And, optimizing your levels can help you prevent all sorts of different cancer types, including:
- Skin cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
Vitamin D maintains adequate phosphate and serum calcium concentrations and helps with the gut’s ability to absorb calcium. This enables normal bone mineralization and helps prevent hypocalcemic tetany.
You also require vitamin D for bone remodeling by osteoclasts and osteoblasts and healthy bone growth. When you’re deficient in vitamin D, your bones can become brittle, thin or misshapen. Vitamin D, along with calcium, protects elderly adults from osteoporosis, children from rickets and adults from osteomalacia.
Being sufficient in vitamin D levels can protect against things like breast cancer and lower your risk of preterm birth. If you do end up with cancer, being sufficient in vitamin D can also give you a better chance of surviving the cancer, even melanoma which is the most threatening type of skin cancer.
Vitamin plays these roles in your body:
- Immune and neuromuscular function
- Cell growth modulation
- Reduction of inflammation
Vitamin D also partly modulates various genes encoding proteins for cell differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis regulation.
How to Efficiently Optimize Your Vitamin D Level
According to Dr. Robert Heaney, Creighton University’s Osteoporosis Research Center’s professor, endocrinologist and physician, you require around 5,000 to 6,000 IU’s of vitamin D daily from all three sources — food, sun and supplements — to achieve and maintain a healthy 40 to 60 ng/mL blood level.
UVB component-sunbeds might also provide an efficient vitamin D alternative source during the wintertime. They enable nearly 100 percent skin exposure in a controlled way that magnifies their vitamin D production effectiveness.
Those with radiographic or laboratory findings commonly linked with a deficiency in vitamin D or those who are at a severe deficiency risk may benefit from vitamin D testing. In these individuals, knowing the 25(OH)D blood level will provide a precise evaluation of vitamin D body stores, help determine if the individual requires vitamin D therapy and what the effective dose should be.
Sensible sun exposure is the most effective way of optimizing your vitamin D as long as you measure your level twice annually. Although its recommended you get your vitamin D from sensible sun exposure as much as possible, you may need to take a supplement, such as Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), most of the year as well.
Get Your Vitamin D Level Tested
Dr. Harry Collins of Savannah Age Management Medicine regularly tests all of his patients for vitamin D to ensure they are at optimal levels to increase overall heath and vitality and to prevent disease. Based on your current vitamin D levels, Dr. Collins will customize your treatment plan to meet your current needs. He’ll then monitor your levels for the best long-term results. For a free consultation, please contact us today.