Are you part of the rising number of people with a vitamin D deficiency? According to recent studies, you may very well be, and you may not realize it. This is because the initial symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can mimic a host of other ailments and health issues. This very well may be the reason that, as of 2015, approximately 42 percent of the United States population was determined to be vitamin D deficient, yet the majority of these people are completely unaware.
Early warning signs of a vitamin D deficiency can include brain fog, fatigue, poor memory and concentration, and depression. However, a severe deficiency in this all important vitamin is extremely dangerous and can even prove fatal.
Why We Need Vitamin D
Humans need vitamin D to ward off disease and feel well. In fact, it is so important to nearly all functions of the body, that you have vitamin D receptors in all of your tissue and cells, including those found in your brain and nervous system, and on almost every organ in your body.
Here’s a quick list of the reasons that Vitamin D is absolutely crucial to your health and the prevention of disease. Vitamin D:
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory (internal inflammation is the foundation for all disease).
- Is required for calcium absorption, to maintain strong bones and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
- Directly or indirectly regulates 200 genes in your body.
- Regulates cell growth.
- Reduces oxidative stress.
- Improves your memory, cognitive function, and ability to learn.
- Stimulates osteoblastic (bone-building cells).
- Plays a role in the production of GcMAF – a protein that supports the immune system and reduces cancer risk.
- Inhibits cancer cell growth.
- Induces apoptosis (automatic cell death) of cancer cells.
- Minimizes angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) and therefore, the metastasis of cancer.
- Activates antibodies and the immune system (T and B cells).
- Relaxes blood vessels.
- Increased DNA methylation – a process which controls gene expression.
- Regulates enzymes that control nerve growth.
- Aids in neurotransmitter production.
Vitamin D Deficiency Has Reached Pandemic Levels
Why are so many people deficient in this vital nutrient? Most animals, including humans, produce vitamin D in their bodies when their skin is exposed to the sun and ultraviolet rays. The problem is that, for the most part, we have become terrified of direct sunlight. Like me, you’ve probably been told that you must protect yourself from the sun to avoid skin cancer. So you slather on a high SPF sunscreen or you stay indoors. And, on the rare occasion that you do venture out into the sunlight without sunscreen, it’s just not enough to boost your levels of vitamin D. To obtain an adequate amount of vitamin D from the sun, you would need direct ultraviolet exposure every single day, and on the majority of your body for approximately 15 minutes. It’s also important to note that people with darker skin tones would need even more direct sun on a daily basis because they cannot absorb the sunlight as easily, as they almost have a built-in SPF in their skin. This is one of the reasons why black people are at the greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency.
To keep this article from becoming WAY too long, I’m not going to get into the details regarding the cancer-causing nature of commercial sunscreens and the many ways in which science has proven “sun protection” to be illogical. I’ll save it for another day and post ; ) Suffice to say that we do in fact need direct sunlight, but most of us don’t have enough spare time to get the required exposure or we would prefer to avoid premature aging of the skin. Many others live in climates that do not provide the proper amount of UV rays to produce a sufficient amount of vitamin D.
In addition to the lack of direct sunlight, humans are no longer getting adequate amounts of vitamin D from animal skin, as they may believe. Long ago, when animals were allowed to graze the fields before being slaughtered for their meat, they absorbed the UV light from the sun, turned it into vitamin D, and then passed it along to humans. However, with the advent of factory farms, animals are now raised in dark, warehouse type structures, and are no longer exposed to sunlight.
When I speak publicly regarding this issue, I’m frequently asked about free-range meat. After researching for my book, I can tell you, with great certainty, that the majority of the so-called “free range” farm animals are not allowed to graze as freely as the manufacturers claim. Also, the term free-range is not synonymous with natural or naturally-fed. Quite the contrary – these animals are routinely fed a diet of disease-causing, genetically modified corn and soy, and they are still injected with growth hormones, antibiotics, and other toxins that are passed on to humans, causing further disease. And, even when truly free-range farms animals are allowed to graze, as they were naturally intended, their meat poses a risk to human health. This is due to the fact that manure from factory farms is commonly used to spray the fields of free-range animals, so they’re ingesting all of these contaminants one way or the other.
Another risk factor for vitamin D deficiency is obesity. Studies show that obese individuals have lower circulating levels of D and convert the vitamin at about one-half the rate of slender test subjects. The reduced level is believed to be the result of dilution of the vitamin in the excess fat masses and may explain the connection between obesity and an increased risk for many life-threatening diseases.
The Long-Term Consequences of Vitamin D Deficiency
Long-term vitamin D deficiency can lead to the following:
- Accelerated aging
- Artery disease (coronary and peripheral)
- Memory loss
- Autoimmune disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- High blood pressure
- Cancer of the breast, colon, ovaries, pancreas, and/or prostate
- Bone fractures
- Severe depression
How To Reverse and Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency
So how can you protect yourself and avoid the diseases related to a vitamin D deficiency? Your best bet is to supplement. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health or the health of your loved ones.
There are two vitamin D supplements that I have personally used, and I recommend to all of my clients, family, and friends:
- Dr. Fuhrman’s Women’s Daily Formula +D3 or Dr. Fuhrman’s Men’s Daily Formula +D3
- Do Vitamins – Daily D
BEWARE – Your Vitamin D May Contain Animal Skin and Toxins
The majority of vitamin D supplements on the market derive their D3 from the skin of factory farm cows and/or pigs, or from the lanolin in sheep’s wool. The scariest part is that you will never know what the true source is because the manufacturers are not required to provide this information and may not even know the answer themselves; Frequently, the D3 is sourced from a variety of factory farms and mixed together. This is also the case in food products fortified with vitamin D, such as cereals, dairy, and even some orange juice brands. So, unless you’re purchasing a fortified vegan products, you are most definitely consuming animal-based vitamin D3.
Even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, I would advise that you purchase a vegan vitamin D3 supplement, because if you supplement with a traditional D3, you will be ingesting the GMOs, growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides that the animals consumed and/or were injected with over the course of their life. It is unavoidable, as these substances are retained in their tissue, organs, and plasma.
To be confident that you’re not consuming animal products, always read the label and only purchase vitamin D3 supplements that clearly state that they are vegan or “vegan/vegetarian friendly.” Many of the vegan D3 products, such as the two that I recommend above, contain Vitashine® – the world’s first plant-based vitamin D3, made from lichen extract.
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