Just one example of an important gene that vitamin D up-regulates is your ability to fight infections, as well as chronic inflammation. It produces over 200 antimicrobial peptides, the most important of which is cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic. This is one of the explanations for why it can be so effective against colds and influenza.
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Diabetes 1 and 2
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Cold & Flu
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Signs of aging
- Eczema & Psoriasis
- Hearing loss
- Muscle pain
- Periodontal disease
- Macular degeneration
- Reduced C-section risk
- Pre eclampsia
- Cystic fibrosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
While this article focuses on oral vitamin D supplementation, it’s important to realize that the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D levels is through appropriate sun or safe tanning bed exposure. There are a number of reasons for this:
- When you expose your skin to the sun, your skin also synthesizes high amounts of cholesterol sulfate, which is very important for heart- and cardiovascular health. In fact, according to research by Dr. Stephanie Seneff, high LDL and subsequent heart disease may in fact be a symptom of cholesterol sulfate deficiency. Sulfur deficiency also promotes obesity and related health problems like diabetes
- When exposed to sunshine, your skin also synthesizes vitamin D3 sulfate. This form of vitamin D is water soluble, unlike oral vitamin D3 supplements, which is unsulfated. The water-soluble form can travel freely in your bloodstream, whereas the unsulfated form needs LDL (the so-called “bad” cholesterol) as a vehicle of transport. According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff, there’s reason to believe that many of the profound benefits of vitamin D are actually due to the vitamin D sulfate. As a result, she suspects that the oral non-sulfated form of vitamin D might not provide all of the same benefits, because it cannot be converted to vitamin D sulfate
- You cannot overdose when getting your vitamin D from sun exposure, as your body has the ability to self-regulate and only make what it needs
To optimize your levels, you need to expose large portions of your skin to the sun, and you need to do it for more than a few minutes. And, contrary to popular belief, the best time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is actually as near to solar noon as possible. During this time you need the shortest exposure time to produce vitamin D because UVB rays are most intense at this time. Plus, when the sun goes down toward the horizon, the UVB is filtered out much more than the dangerous UVA.
Just be cautious about the length of your exposure. You only need enough exposure to have your skin turn the lightest shade of pink. Once you reach this point your body will not make any additional vitamin D due to its self-regulating mechanism. Any additional exposure will only cause harm and damage to your skin.
Unfortunately, studies have shown only about 30 percent of Americans’ circulating vitamin D is the product of sunlight exposure. This is a byproduct of public health agencies’ misguided advice to stay out of the sun to avoid cancer (when in fact vitamin D from sun exposure will actually help prevent it).
The truth is, vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed is the BEST way to optimize your vitamin D levels. Safe tanning beds have electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, which helps you avoid unnecessary exposure to health-harming EMF fields. They also have less of the dangerous UVA than sunlight, while unsafe ones have more UVA than sunlight.
Important: Your Serum Level is what Really Matters
While 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D3 per day is a general recommendation that appears to be beneficial for most people, vitamin D experts from around the world are in agreement that the most important factor is your vitamin D serum level. There’s no specific dosage level at which “magic” happens. So the take-home message is that you need to take whatever dosage required to obtain a therapeutic level of vitamin D in your blood.
At the time (in 2007) the recommended level was 40-60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Since then, the optimal vitamin D level has been raised to 50-70 ng/ml, and when treating cancer or heart disease, as high as 70-100 ng/ml.