Last June, in the Journal of Public Health, after analyzing 32 vitamin D studies over a 40 year period of time, researchers suggested that risk of premature death from any cause was significantly higher when vitamin D levels fell below 30 mg/nl.
Now, another 13-year prospective study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms these findings. This study’s perspective highlighted premature death from cardiovascular disease, cancers, fracture and respiratory disease with chronically low vitamin D levels. What makes this study noteworthy was that it focused on observing the related epigenetic variables that may be influencing these health concerns and their relationship to overall vitamin D intake such as smoking, physical exercise, alcohol intake, social class, overall vitamin C intake, history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer.
Where the previous study noted a modest 30 mg/nl vitamin D to prevent premature death, this study observed much higher serum vitamin D levels – 90-120 mg/nl were vital for preventing premature death.
The best ways to get vitamin D and lower the risk of premature death
Not to worry, research supports that sunscreen-free sun exposure is actually good for your health, in fact, it’s been shown to be the best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
Approximately 20 minutes of direct sunlight is necessary for the body to naturally convert ultraviolet B-rays to vitamin D. While the summer months offer the highest amounts of sun-synthesized D3 sulfate, time of day and angle of the sun affect how much you’ll absorb. Depending on where you live however, this may not be possible, most of the year – which is why vitamin D supplementation may be necessary to get the adequate amounts your body requires.
The best form of vitamin D supplementation
Because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, it must be taken with fat-containing foods for optimal absorption. It has been observed in the literature that vitamin D taken at the largest meal of the day improves absorption – this finding was confirmed by the increase serum levels of D. As a supplement, vitamin D should be taken in its most bioavailable form, D3.
In addition to direct supplementation, vitamin D3 can be derived from animal products such as salmon, mackeral, sardines, tuna, cod liver oil, egg yolk and raw milk. Although, if you’re seriously deficient, food sources may not be the best way to raise your vitamin D levels.
Note: You’ll need your vitamin K too. To absorb D3 most optimally, accompany your intake with vitamin K2 – the more biologically active form of K.
Unknown by most people, vitamin D can help to prevent many serious health conditions like, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease. Both are known for leaky gut, inflammation and gut dysbiosis. Rheumatoid and celiac patients are often considerably deficient in D – which can lead to even more serious health complications related to premature death.
Prescription drugs can have a negative effect on your vitamin D levels
If you have been prescribed corticosteroids, your need for D3 is even more imperative as this pharmaceutical approach has been shown to interfere with absorption of D. Adequate intake of vitamin D can help reduce and improve quality of life for these and all inflammatory disease states. In fact, vitamin D tends to:
*Increase natural killer cell activity.
*Reduce overall inflammation.
*Improve bone density and mineralization.
*Improve genetic expression.
Remember, everyone benefits from vitamin D. If you haven’t been tested, ask your integrative health provider to perform a D-25 hydroxy test to help you evaluate how much you should be taking. And, of course, if you’re low in vitamin D – work with a trusted healthcare provider that understands the value of nutrition.