by Ginny Dent Brant
Vitamin D is called the “Sunshine Vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that very few foods contain. Small amounts are found in cheese, beef liver, salmon, tuna, and egg yolks. It can also found in supplement form.
We’ve always known that vitamin D is important for the growth and development of bones and teeth. Did you also know that it enhances the immune system and helps fight cancer and heart disease? There is now research linking this vitamin powerhouse to decreased rates of cancer, autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular disease.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), Vitamin D has many roles in the body including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation. ODS also says that many genes encoding proteins that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis are modulated in part by vitamin D. In addition, it also can reduce depression.
Unlike other vitamins, it functions like a hormone, and every cell in your body has a receptor for it. All of my doctors in my cancer journey recommended that I keep my vitamin D levels between 60 and 90 ng/mL. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, they were at 28 ng/mL My doctors suggested that if my levels had been higher, I MIGHT NOT HAVE GOTTEN CANCER! I now maintain my level in these ranges.
In 2012, Dr. Dorota Halicka and her colleagues found that vitamin D is a natural, high-powered antioxidant that repairs damaged DNA. This alone helps fight cancer. You can ask your doctor to check your level through the 25-hydroxyl vitamin D test when you have your yearly physical. Mine is now tested yearly and insurance pays for it.
Dr. Daniel Amen advises his patients to maintain their levels between 70 – 100 ng/mL. He says that research suggests that individuals with vitamin D levels of 40 ng/mL or more had half the risk of getting cancer than those who had levels less than 20 ng/mL. The research studies confirming the value of Vitamin D continue to roll in. Dr. Joseph Mercola says that vitamin D has a profound effect on our genetic expression. This is in addition to the benefits to the heart. Internists and heart doctors have been recommending vitamin D for years. And it’s inexpensive.
I find that it takes 5000 IU’s of vitamin D daily to keep my levels in the ranges noted above. The best source is natural sunlight; however, only 10 to 15 minutes is recommended daily and with caution. NO sun burning! You can use a combination of natural sunlight and whole food supplements. My doctors advised that I not exceed the limit of over 100 ng/mL. Using vitamin D as prevention involves your primary physician as they are the ones who can order the vitamin D test. Mark vitamin D down as an inexpensive tool in your arsenal for maintaining health and preventing cancer, heart disease and many other diseases!
Here’s to your good health! How many of you are taking it daily? How many of your doctors have recommended it?
**Always check with your doctor regarding any supplements while taking chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Photo by Johen Redman on Unsplash