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Don’t Fall for the Vitamin D Scam

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SunlightThis article originally appeared on Live in the Now.

By now, you’re probably aware of the importance of vitamin D. Beyond supporting strong bones and muscles, a healthy immune system and an active brain, research shows that maintaining optimal vitamin D levels can help you avoid a wide range of chronic health problems and live a longer, healthier life.[1] [2] [3]

The unfortunate fact, however, is that most of us have critically low levels of vitamin D, due to the fact that we don’t spend enough time in the sun. And when we do venture outdoors, we often go out of our way to “protect” ourselves from the sun’s ravages.

Unfortunately, despite growing awareness of the role vitamin D plays in maintaining optimal health, leading experts estimate that up to 75 percent of adults do not get enough vitamin D.[4] The problem is that most people mistakenly assume that their vitamin D levels are just fine, but unless you are taking steps to maintain healthy vitamin D levels, you are most likely vitamin D deficient.

Why Do So Many People Have a Vitamin D Deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency has become a global epidemic for one simple reason: People don’t get enough sun exposure. The human body only produces vitamin D in response to ultraviolet rays from the sun. While our bodies are designed to spend most of our time outdoors, the majority of us spend our days indoors. Ultraviolet rays cannot penetrate glass, so even if you’re in a car or a sunny room, your body is not producing vitamin D.

Additionally, your body’s vitamin D production becomes less efficient with age, and the fact that people are living longer means that a growing number of older people are severely deficient.

The Sun is Not Evil

For years now, misinformed doctors, as well as the sunscreen and cosmetics industries, have made the sun out to be evil. They advise that the sun’s rays are very damaging, and this has scared us into believing that we should never so much as leave the house without wearing sunscreen.

Yet breakthrough research has shown that wearing sunscreen significantly interferes with the body’s ability to produce vitamin D from sun exposure. In fact, many experts now recommend limited daily exposure to the sun without sunscreen. However, for most people, the issue is more about not being able to spend enough time outside to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D regardless.

What Are the Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms?

Vitamin D deficiency may be symptomless at first, but as it progresses it often causes depression, cognitive problems, chronic pain, fragile bones and a weak immune system. Even more troubling is that studies have linked low vitamin D levels to increased risk for serious health conditions that can result in premature death.[5] [6] [7]

Sadly, many people are given a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs to “treat” a simple nutritional deficiency. If you have any nagging concerns that your doctor seemingly can’t resolve, increasing your body’s vitamin D levels may just be the natural remedy you’ve been searching for.

The Best Way to Make Sure You’re Protected

There are only two ways to get vitamin D in the amounts you need for optimal health: sun exposure and vitamin D supplementation. You can’t get it from food, despite what the dairy industry might like you to believe. While some products like milk are fortified with vitamin D, in almost all cases, the amount used is far too low to correct a vitamin D deficiency. So for most people, unless you happen to work outdoors, a vitamin D supplement is a must.

You may eventually want to get your vitamin D levels tested by your doctor, but you shouldn’t wait to start increasing your levels. Vitamin D is one of the least toxic substances known, making it hard to overdo it. The bottom line is that you’re better safe than sorry.

Don’t Take the Wrong Type of Vitamin D

Your doctor is most likely to recommend vitamin D2, which is the synthetic form of vitamin D. Why? Because the pharmaceutical companies cannot patent natural compounds, so in order to make money, they have to create and market synthetic versions — even if they are proven to be less effective than the real thing.

Since your doctor is unlikely to send you to the store to pick up a natural dietary supplement, he or she will probably write you a prescription for the synthetic D2 version, which has been shown to be poorly absorbed and less effective than the natural form.[8] Just because your doctor prescribes it doesn’t mean it’s more effective. The better option is to take vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol). It’s more absorbable and provides the greatest benefits. And you don’t need a prescription.

Make Sure to Take Enough Vitamin D

Most people who do take vitamin D take way too little, because the current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is set at only 600 IU. Most experts now agree that this is woefully inadequate.

Despite pleas from the scientific community and public health leaders, the government has stubbornly refused to increase the RDA, putting millions at risk unnecessarily. The reason behind this is unknown, but many people think that the strong influence of the food and pharmaceutical industry lobbies plays a role.

According to Dr. John Cannell, Director of the nonprofit Vitamin D Council, healthy adults should supplement with 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily to avoid deficiency and achieve superior health.

Vitamin D Doesn’t Work All By Itself

When taking vitamin D3, it is equally important to make sure that you’re getting adequate amounts of the nutrients that team up with vitamin D to ensure optimal utilization within the body. Based on the latest research, here are vitamin D’s most important partners:

Magnesium: Involved in every stage of vitamin D metabolism. Having adequate amounts present is critical to proper utilization of vitamin D.

Zinc: Each vitamin D receptor has a zinc molecule that is needed to receive vitamin D. In absence of zinc, it will not be properly absorbed.

Boron: Necessary for the rapid action of vitamin D on the cellular wall. Being deficient in this nutrient can cause low vitamin D levels.

Vitamin C: Vitamins C and D work together synergistically to support the body’s immune system, as well as to boost overall antioxidant levels.

Vitamin K2: Works with vitamin D to ensure that calcium is stored in the bones and not on the walls of blood vessels.

If you’re looking for a high-quality vitamin D supplement that contains the proper dose and the necessary synergistic ingredients to achieve optimal vitamin D levels and peak health, you can simply click here.

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[1] Semba RD et al. Relationship of 25-hydroxyvitamin D with all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in older community-dwelling adults. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Feb; 64 (2): 203-9.

[2] Zittermann A et al. Vitamin D deficiency and mortality. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009 Nov; 12 (6): 634-9.

[3] Pilz S et al. Vitamin D and mortality in older men and women. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2009 Nov; 71 (5): 666-72.

[4] Norman AW and Bouillon R. Vitamin D nutritional policy needs a vision for the future. Exp Biol Med. 2010 Sep; 235(9): 1034-45.

[5] Ingraham BA et al. Molecular basis of the potential of vitamin D to prevent cancer. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 Jan; 24 (1): 139-49.

[6] Krishnan AV et al. The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention and treatment. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2010 Jun; 39 (2): 401-18.

[7] Wang TJ et al. Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circulation. 2008 Jan 29; 117 (4): 503-11.

[8] Bjelakovic G et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;(7):CD007470.

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