Vitamin D

Overview

Insufficient Vitamin D

This deficiency is linked to virtually every age-related disorder, including:

  • Cancer
  • Vascular Disease
  • Chronic Inflammation

People with higher vitamin D levels have less cold, flu and other viral infections. High-dose vitamin A antagonizes the beneficial action of vitamin D. For example, people who take multivitamin A experience lower levels of vitamin D which is overshadowed by higher levels of vitamin A in pill-form. Children with low levels of vitamin D have 11 times the likelihood of developing respiratory infections and immune dysfunctions.

Viral infections in the body can kill a person, due not to the viral infection itself, but to the body's hyper-reaction to the virus. This leads to an overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Vitamin D down-regulates the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha (Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha).

In aging individuals, the expression of this gene increases. Vitamin D down-regulates this gene, helping combat influenza infections and preventing the establishment of chronic inflammation which, due to this ongoing low level of inflammation, gives rise to the damage of aging arteries, joints and neurons. Taking other natural chronic anti-inflammatories such as quercetin, bromelain, and curcumin would have similar beneficial effects.

Antimicrobial peptides(components of the immune system) protect against bacterial, fungal and viral infections by damaging the outer lipid membrane of infectious agents.

Vitamin D dramatically up-regulates the expression of these antimicrobial genes.

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Management

The standard optimal level of vitamin D can be found in 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 32-100ng/ml, with over 50ng/ml. In random testing, about 35% of the population has levels below 20ng/ml. Taking 800-1000 IU is not sufficient to get 25 hydoxyvitamin D levels into the optimal ranges. To gain optimal levels, the individual needs to consume daily amounts of 5,000 IU. Older people also tend to have lower levels than younger individuals, with older people having lower levels twice as often as the younger population.

Taking a multivitamin(high levels of vitamin A and low levels of vitamin D) will result in inadequate levels of vitamin D. A multi-nutrient formula that has less than 2,000 IU is probably insufficient. Higher doses are needed if you are obese, over 55, and spend little time in the sun.

It has now been estimated that disease costs in the USA would be cut by 50% if the vitamin D level of 50 ng/ml was obtained. The levels also need to be increased to 7,000 IU/day in older individuals and colder climates as well as in the winter months.

Avoid supplements with excess levels of pre-formed vitamin A (usually in multivitamin compounds) of greater than 1000-2300 IU.

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Learn more about how the Houston Wellness Clinic manages Vitamin D.

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