Most people think that vitamin D is only required for bone health. However, vitamin D3 is also for crucial for brain, hormone and overall health. Vitamin D3 is not really a vitamin; it’s a hormone.
Contrary to what was previously believed—that vitamin D receptors were only in bones, intestines, and kidneys—we now know that vitamin D receptors are everywhere in the body. There is proof that vitamin D receptors exist even in the brain.
Naturally, we’re disposed to think about vitamin D as a vitamin—a substance that we get from our diets, like vitamin C or niacin, and that participates in biological reactions to help the body operate optimally. But despite its name, vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin. Vitamin D is a hormone.
Dozens of new studies have found that vitamin D3 affects human health in a much more profound way than was ever imagined.
Vitamin d3 is almost totally absent from our food supply. Vitamin D3 deficient is the hidden cause of so much suffering and so many diseases.
Vitamin D3 deficiency affects most of the population, is almost never diagnosed, and has been linked to depression, dementia, many cancers, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, chronic muscle pain, and bone loss.
and that the active form of vitamin D stimulates the production of mood-elevating serotonin. This explains how it may help reduce depression (or just a chronically foul mood). Fat cells, too, have vitamin D receptors, and fat cells can be more metabolically active (burn more calories) if they have more vitamin D. People tend to think that fat cells are like inanimate blobs of lard when in fact they are active participants in the process by which your brain learns that you’re full and don’t need to take another bite of food. When you’ve had enough, fat cells secrete a hormone called leptin that allows you to push away from the table. A lack of vitamin D will interfere with this appetite-suppressing hormone whose job it is to regulate your body weight. And we all know what an unchecked appetite can lead to: weight gain and a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In the past five years I have tested almost every patient in my practice for vitamin D deficiency, and I am shocked by what I see. I am also amazed by what happens when their vitamin D status reaches an optimal level.
Each nutrient has its role, but vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that is under the radar of most doctors and public health officials. It has been linked to depression, dementia, an increased risk of death, and even autism.
Those with the lowest vitamin D levels had the most depression and the worst performance on objective tests for dementia and cognitive function.48
We know that vitamin D levels drop precipitously in winter, that this is associated with seasonal affective disorder, and that giving vitamin D supplements can prevent this.49
New insights into brain development in the womb link vitamin D deficiency with autism. Vitamin D is necessary for the normal development of the brain and reduces brain inflammation that is characteristic in autism.50
A review in the The Archives of Internal Medicine of all randomized trials on vitamin D supplementation found a reduction in death of 7 percent from all causes.51
We are not living in the environment in which we were designed to thrive. People who live in northern climates no longer eat a diet that contains fatty wild fish, which are among the few natural dietary sources of vitamin D, and thus supplementing with vitamin D3 becomes necessary in such cases.
Concerns about skin cancer encourage use of sunblock, which stops most of the skin’s production of vitamin D. Use of sunscreen, dark skin color, increase in latitude, changes in seasonal sun exposure, aging, and wearing clothes that cover most of our body all increase our risk of vitamin D deficiency.
It’s not only the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, but it’s also the most common medical condition, affecting at least one billion people. Three out of every four Americans are deficient in vitamin D, up from one out of two twenty years ago.
Many scientists are coming to the conclusion that vitamin D can play an important role in preventing and reversing cancer.
Here’s a staggering statistic: Women who are deficient in vitamin D at the time they are diagnosed with breast cancer are nearly 75 percent more likely to die from the disease than women with sufficient vitamin D levels. What’s more, their cancer is twice as likely to metastasize to other parts of the body.
In the United States, more than forty thousand women die from breast cancer every year—making it the deadliest killer of women after heart disease. One woman in eight either has or will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. There are 214,000 new cases and 41,000 deaths from breast cancer each year in the United States. A 2008 study found that women who had a vitamin D deficiency at the time they were diagnosed with breast cancer were 94 percent more likely to have their cancer spread than women with adequate 25-vitamin D levels in their bodies.
Similar findings have been found for patients with prostate cancer and colon cancer. patients with the highest 25-vitamin D levels were 39 percent less likely to die from colorectal cancer than the patients who had the lowest levels.
Our results suggest that vitamin D supplementation might increase testosterone levels.
Supplementation is essential if we are deficient in Vitamin D3. Even after correcting our deficiency, supplementation is still essential unless we are spending 30 minutes of full naked expose in the sun everyday or eating significant amount of foods that are high in vitamin D3. The exact amount needed to get your blood levels to the optimal range will vary depending on your age, genetics, how far north you live, how much time you spend in the sun, and even the time of the year.
It is not easy to hit toxicity levels with vitamin D3, unless extremely high doses are taken for an extended period of time. Taking large doses as a short-term strategy, however, can be very beneficial. We are scared into thinking that high doses are toxic, but one study of healthy young men receiving 10,000 IU of vitamin D for twenty weeks showed no toxicity.
The optimal strategy to go about Vitamin D3 is to do a vitamin D3 test, and then, if necessary (which usually is the case), use supplementation from there on to get your levels to an optimal range, and test again. If you can’t test your vitamin d3 levels for whatever reason, then simply experiment with taking different dosages of a high quality, food-state vitamin D3 and see if you notice improvements, and continue taking a therapeutic dosage of 6,000 to 12,000 IU or more for a few months or until you can test your levels and determine where you are exactly, and then lower to a maintenance dose of 2,000 IU a day. There is no reason not to start taking vitamin D3 right away and you have no reason to think that you are not deficient in vitamin D3.
It is best to take a natural, food-state vitamin D3. Avoid calciferol synthetic vitamin d3 supplements. At the time of writing this book there are two supplements that are natural and food-state and those are the ones that I recommend as part of The Superman Diet. The first is the Vitamin D3 by MegaFood which comes from yeast, and the second is the Vitamin D3 supplement by Rejuvenation Science Labs which comes from Liken.
I found the ideal dose to start with if you’re deficient in vitamin D3 is 12,000 IU for at least 2 or 3 months. After that you can decrease to a maintenance dosage of about 2,000 to 6,000 IU a day.
It is important to note however that some people have a problem with metabolizing vitamin D3 and therefore need to take very large dosages in order to fully meet their body’s requirement of vitamin D3 and avoid a vitamin d3 deficiency. This is why expermineting with seemingly very large dosages of vitamin D3, along with regular testing, is key.
The only surefire way to know for certain the extent of your vitamin D deficiency is to ask for a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test, also called a 25(OH) D test. This is the circulating form of vitamin D that the liver generates and that then becomes activated by the kidneys. While it’s intuitive to think you’d want to test for the body’s “active form” rather than just a precursor, testing for the activated vitamin D (1,25-vitamin D) does not give an accurate portrayal of your vitamin D status.
And here’s the rub: many doctors order the wrong test, and when the results come back showing a normal level of activated vitamin D, they think everything is okay. You could, however, be suffering from a serious deficiency even though your activated levels appear normal—or even elevated.
The form of vitamin D you should take is D3. More recent studies have found D3 to be nearly three times as potent as D2 in raising 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in humans.
If you’re low in Vitamin K, you won’t absorb Vitamin D supplements properly. It’s often best to take them together.
It is helpful to take Vitamin K2 along with vitamin D3, as it is important for proper absorption of Vitamin D3. Vitamin K2 can be taken supplementally or from food. Traditionally fermented foods are excellent sources of vitamin K2. You can obtain high amounts of K2 (about 200 micrograms) just by eating 15 grams, or half an ounce, of natto daily. Supplements that are made from natto are also available.