Thursday, 24 September 2015 20:20

Tired and Achy? You May Simply Be Vitamin D Deficient

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Vitamin D deficiency is a pandemic in Canada, but many individuals, including physicians, are not aware that they may be lacking this important nutrient. 

Despite its name, vitamin D is not a regular vitamin. It's actually a steroid hormone that you get primarily from either sun exposure or supplementation, and its ability to influence genetic expression that produces many of its wide-ranging health benefits.

Researchers have pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D3 among the general population could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year. Incidence of several types of cancer could also be slashed in half.

Vitamin D also fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses.

Feeling tired and achy is a frequent wintertime complaint. According to researchers, many who see their doctor for such signs end up being misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Tiredness and body aches are often a classic signs of vitamin D deficiency. The deficiency causes a defect in putting calcium into the collagen matrix into your skeleton. As a result, you have throbbing, aching bone pain.

Remember Vitamin K2

It's important to remember that if you're taking vitamin D supplements, you also need to take vitamin K2. The biological role of vitamin K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth. It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn't be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues.

Vitamin K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity, which includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries. The reason for this is because when you take vitamin D, your body creates more vitamin K2-dependent proteins that move calcium around in your body. Without vitamin K2, those proteins remain inactivated, so the benefits of those proteins remain unrealized. So remember, if you take supplemental vitamin D, you're creating an increased demand for K2. Together, these two nutrients help strengthen your bones and improve your heart health.

Other Health Areas Where Optimizing Vitamin D Levels Could Save Both Lives and Dollars

In addition to the health benefits already mentioned above, optimizing your vitamin D levels can help protect against:

Cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D is very important for reducing hypertension, atherosclerotic heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. One study showed that vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of heart attack by 50 percent. What's worse, if you have a heart attack and you're vitamin D deficient, your risk of dying from that heart attack creeps up to 100 percent!  

Autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D is a potent immune modulator, making it very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases, like MS and inflammatory bowel disease.  

Infections, including influenza. It also helps you fight infections of all kinds. A study done in Japan, for example, showed that schoolchildren taking 1,200 units of vitamin D per day during the winter time reduced their risk of getting influenza A infection by about 40 percent. I believe it's far more prudent, safer, less expensive, and most importantly, far more effective to optimize your vitamin D levels than to get vaccinated against the flu.

DNA repair and metabolic processes. One study showed that healthy volunteers taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day for a few months upregulated 291 different genes that control up to 80 different metabolic processes; from improving DNA repair to having effect on autoxidation (oxidation that occurs in the presence of oxygen and /or UV radiation, which has implications for aging and cancer, for example), boosting the immune system, and many other biological processes.

More information

Dr. Holick's book, The Vitamin D Solution, which was published in 2010, provides a broad overview of all the health benefits of vitamin D. It also answers many common questions raised by patients, such as, "Will taking a vitamin D supplement worsen my kidney stones?" (The answer: No, it won't.)

Read 6602 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 September 2015 20:26
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