Vitamin D has long been recognized as essential to the skeletal system, especially regarding calcium movement in the body. We also know that it can do wonders for our cholesterol because studies show that higher vitamin D concentrations are associated with higher HDL and lower LDL and triglyceride levels. These are great things! But, is there more? Let’s talk about D3!
The short answer to the previous question is, yes, there is much more to know about D3. Newer evidence suggests that D3 plays a major role in regulating the immune system regarding the fight against infections. In fact, I would suggest that based on my research, Vitamin D3 and proper hydration are simply “must-haves.” There are several reasons for this.
Vitamin D3 is important because we now know that the body produces its own internal antibiotic to help defend itself against infections, at least when it is provided sufficient amounts of vitamin D3. This is great because the body will attack the infection at the point of inflammation and from the inside. The ‘antibiotic’ effect of vitamin D3 appears to be turned on by the induction of the human antimicrobial peptide genes – to the tune of somewhere between 200 and 300 different types.
That’s right! Even Dr. Mercola states: “Vitamin D stimulates 200 to 300 anti-microbial peptides that are even more powerful than antibiotics, which help improve and regulate your immune system and fight infections.” Essentially, vitamin D3 is critical for “flipping the defense switch back on.” That’s amazing!
Here’s the breakdown. Research has uncovered that Vitamin D regulates something called the cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide gene (the body’s natural antibiotic), which means it might be an essential part of our fight against infectious diseases (Gombart, 2009). For clarity, it is well known that cathelicidin has broad-spectrum activity against a wide variety of pathogens, including gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Studies are ongoing, but the outlook is very promising. For example, they know that vitamin D enhances the bactericidal activity of human macrophages, even against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB – a global killer (Yamshchikov, Desai, Blumberg, Ziegler & Tangpricha, 2009).
Tuberculosis is once again becoming a major problem throughout the world, infecting almost a third of the population globally. The prevalence of drug-resistant strains is an even bigger issue, but two studies have now linked vitamin D to the successful prevention and treatment of TB. Specifically, they have found that the body is converting and activating the vitamin, which helps create a protein that kills the bacteria. In one placebo-controlled study, patients who received 10,000 IU of vitamin D a day had an astounding 100% cure rate over time (Nursyam, 2006). Conversely, they are finding that vitamin D deficiency might actually lead to an increased susceptibility to infection in the first place. Of course, this brings any advice about removing ourselves from the sun into question. Regardless, and if sun avoidance is necessary, the good news is that vitamin D supplementation may treat or even prevent infections. That’s big news. In fact, in some clinics, vitamin D is now considered a tier 2 treatment.
Unfortunately, few people get enough. Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as an epidemic in the United States. They call it hypovitaminosis D. There are more than 3 million reported US cases per year and an untold number of cases that medical professionals are currently unaware of because they go unreported.
The sad part is that hypovitaminosis D is a relatively easy fix in most cases. This simple correction could also help address many things ranging from obesity to multiple sclerosis. It has also been reported to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome, not to mention cancer prevention. Speaking of which, you should know that there are well over 800 studies showing vitamin D’s effectiveness for cancer prevention and treatment (Mercola, 2009).
Here is the problem. Human skin makes large amounts of vitamin D when lots of skin is exposed to the sun. For most, our modern lifestyles and work habits do not exactly keep us shirtless in the sun every week. Add in the bad medical advice to avoid the sun in the first place, and we have drastically reduced vitamin D in our lives. This issue is exacerbated in those with darker skin. Not good!
Unfortunately, very few foods in nature contain vitamin D in a form your body will accept, and the ones that do, are not exactly staples in many diets. Not that it would matter, because we are also told to avoid most of those options, and some of those options are simply not available in some areas. Such options include Salmon, Sardines, Tuna, Raw milk, and plenty of fresh eggs from healthy chickens.
There is good news, though. You can replenish your vitamin D in a couple of ways. Getting out into the sun is always an option (unless your doctor has specifically suggested that you don’t), or you can supplement with a quality Vitamin D3 supplement. However, if you decide to supplement, make sure it is D3 specifically and also consider vitamin K2 along with it—the two work in tandem. In fact, many supplements now come with both D3 and K2 (Mk7) together.
Vitamin D3 in supplement form should be consumed by body weight. Therapeutic doses are roughly 70-80 IU/per kg/day. Such doses should (again) be taken with K2. You can read more about K2 by CLICKING HERE if you’re interested.
The equation is (75 x lbs divided by 2.2 = #of IU’s). Example: 250lb person would need roughly 8500 IU’s. To keep it simple, one might take 5,000 IU/day or 2500 IU twice a day. Yes, some people can and should take substantially higher amounts (30K to 50K IU’s a day), but such an order should probably come from a knowledgeable physician (if you can find one). However, as documented on the Vitamin D Council website, a minimum daily dose of 5,000 IU is very safe. Children can safely take about 1000 IU for every 25 lbs. of body weight.
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This article was originally published as a chapter in the book Natural Health Made Easy: The Briobiotic Protocol (2016)
This article was written from a Health Science perspective. Dr. Robertson is a health researcher and educator, not a physician. The information provided here is not medical advice, a professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or service to you or any other individual. The information provided is for educational and anecdotal purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or other healthcare providers. Dr. Robertson is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or additional information, services, or product you obtain or utilize. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN.