What are your vitamin D levels? If you’re not sure, getting tested and then optimizing your levels could help you live longer. While low levels have long been associated with an increased risk of death, data on people with severe impairment is lacking.
Now, people genetically predisposed to vitamin D deficiency have been shown to be 25% more likely to die from any cause compared to those with different genetics leading to healthy levels.
The data comes from researchers at the Australian Center for Precision Health at the University of South Australia, who also found that genetic vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, respiratory diseases and cancer.
Too little vitamin D increases the risk of death and cancer
To uncover the role of vitamin D deficiency in mortality, the researchers used data from 307,600 people enrolled in the UK Biobank, a cohort from England, Scotland and Wales that contains data on genetics and health. Study author Josh Sutherland explained in a press release:
“Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to mortality, but as clinical trials have often failed to recruit people with low levels, or have been prohibited from including deficient participants, it has been difficult to establishing causal relationships…
We used a novel genetic method to explore and affirm the nonlinear relationships we observed in observational settings, and through this we were able to provide strong evidence for the link between low vitamin D status and death. premature.
In addition to increasing their risk of all-cause mortality by 25%, people genetically predisposed to vitamin D deficiency also had:
- 25% increased risk of dying from heart disease
- 16% increased risk of dying from cancer
- 96% increased risk of dying from lung disease
In addition, the more severe the deficiency, the higher the risk of mortality. It should be noted that low vitamin D levels have been defined as less than 10 ng/mL (25 nmol/L), which is a severe deficiency state. I would consider 20 ng/ml a minimum level for health.
“While severe deficiencies are rarer in Australia than anywhere else in the world, they can still affect people with medical conditions, the elderly and those who don’t get enough vitamin D through healthy exposure to vitamin D. sunlight and food sources,” Sutherland said. “Our study provides strong evidence for the link between low vitamin D levels and mortality, and is the first study of its kind to also include respiratory disease-related mortality as an outcome.”
Optimize it to reduce the risk of cancer and disease
Optimizing your vitamin D level is a strategy that can improve your health in several ways. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to problems like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, for example. The link between Parkinson’s disease and vitamin D is so strong that one study found that people with high levels had a 65% lower risk of Parkinson’s disease than those with low levels.
Vitamin D also significantly reduces oxidative stress in your vascular system, which can prevent the development of heart disease. And, based on data from 191,779 US patients, people with vitamin D levels of at least 55 ng/mL (138 nmol/L) had a significantly lower SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate than those with a level lower than 20 ng / mL (50 nmol / L). Additionally, optimizing your levels is one of the best strategies for reducing your risk of cancer.
Previous research found that a vitamin D level of 47 ng/ml was associated with a 50% lower risk of breast cancer. Additionally, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reported that increasing your vitamin D levels to at least 40 ng/mL can reduce the risk of all invasive cancers by 67%. .
Another analysis, conducted by GrassrootsHealth and published in June 2018 in PLOS ONE, showed that women with vitamin D levels of 60 ng/mL (150 nmol/L) or higher had an 82% lower risk of breast cancer. %. with levels below 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L).
A previous study of women in the UK found that vitamin D levels above 60 ng/mL reduced the risk of breast cancer by 83%. As for how it fights cancer, GrassrootsHealth explained:
“Vitamin D may play a number of roles in preventing the development and progression of breast cancer.
The biologically active form of vitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D3, binds to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) on normal mammary epithelium and this complex regulates the cell cycle, promotes differentiation, increases adhesion cell-to-cell, protects cells from DNA damage, regulates cytokines, activates immune cells, and suppresses inflammation, all of which may act to reduce malignant transformations.
In breast cancer cells, this complex also activates apoptosis and other mechanisms to suppress tumor growth.”
Vitamin D deficiency leads to dementia
In another study using data from the UK Biobank, researchers from the University of South Australia found that vitamin D deficiency can lead to dementia. Those who were deficient had a higher risk of dementia and stroke, with the strongest association found in people with levels below 10 ng/mL (25 nmol/L).
Low levels were also associated with lower brain volumes, and genetic analyzes have suggested a causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. Additionally, researchers have found that up to 17% of dementia cases in certain populations can be prevented if people increase their vitamin D levels to 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). Study author Professor Elina Hyppönen explained:
“Vitamin D is a hormone precursor that is increasingly being recognized for its far-reaching effects, including on brain health, but until now it’s been very difficult to examine what would happen if we could prevent a deficiency.
… Dementia is a progressive and debilitating disease that can devastate individuals and families. If we are able to change this reality by ensuring that none of us are seriously deficient in vitamin D, that would also have more benefits and we could change the health and well-being of thousands of people.
In a separate six-year study that followed 1,658 people, vitamin D deficiency was also linked to a significantly increased risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, people with a severe deficit had a 125% increased risk of developing dementia, while those with a moderate deficit had a 53% increased risk.
For Alzheimer’s disease specifically, severe vitamin D deficiency was associated with a 122% increased risk, compared to a 69% increase for those moderately deficient. In addition:
- A higher dietary intake of vitamin D was associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in older women.
- In older people (including ‘older’ people) in China, low levels were associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment and decline
- Low levels in older women in the US were associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment and decline
What are the optimal levels?
I have long recommended a vitamin D level of 60-80 ng/mL (150-200 nmol/L) for optimal health and disease prevention. A level above 100 ng/mL also appears to be safe and beneficial for certain conditions, especially cancer.
Remember, the only way to determine how much sun exposure is enough and/or how much vitamin D3 you need to take is to have your vitamin D levels checked, ideally twice a year. GrassrootsHealth’s D*Action project is a cost-effective way to do this, while advancing valuable research.
To participate, simply purchase a D*Action measuring kit and follow the included registration instructions. When supplementing, remember to also consider synergistic effects with other nutrients. If you take high doses of vitamin D, you may also need to increase your intake of:
- vitamin k2
These four nutrients (vitamins D and K2, calcium and magnesium) work in concert and depend on sufficient amounts of each to function optimally. Once you’ve confirmed your vitamin D levels through testing, be sure to retest in three to four months to make sure you’ve reached your target level.
If so, you know you’re taking the right dose and/or exposing yourself to the sun correctly. If you are still low (or have reached a level above 80 ng/mL), you will need to adjust your dose accordingly and retest in three to four months.
Is vitamin D a marker of sun exposure?
I highly recommend getting your vitamin D from adequate sun exposure if possible. Indeed, adequate sun exposure will not only naturally raise your vitamin D levels to healthy levels, but will also provide many other benefits, many of which are only beginning to be understood.
Higher levels may well serve as a marker of healthy sun exposure, which in turn may be responsible for many of the beneficial health effects attributed to vitamin D, including increased longevity and decreased risk of cancer. .
Many people don’t know that only 5% of your body’s melatonin, a powerful anti-cancer agent, is produced in the pineal gland. The remaining 95% is produced in the mitochondria, provided they are sufficiently exposed to sunlight. Therefore, vitamin D is more than likely a biomarker or surrogate of sun exposure, which is intimately involved in melatonin production.
During the day, if you expose yourself to enough sunlight, the sun’s infrared rays penetrate deep into your body and activate cytochrome c oxidase, which in turn stimulates the production of melatonin in your mitochondria. Your mitochondria produce ATP, your body’s energy currency. A byproduct of this ATP production is the creation of reactive oxidative species (ROS), which are responsible for oxidative stress and free radicals.
Excessive amounts of ROS will damage mitochondria, contributing to suboptimal health, inflammation, and chronic health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and thrombosis (blood clots). But melatonin essentially kills ROS that damage mitochondria.
So by getting plenty of sun exposure throughout the day, your mitochondria will be bathed in melatonin, reducing oxidative stress and providing a host of other health benefits. In summary, while vitamin D is important, for optimal health and longevity, strive to get it from the sun, not by swallowing it.
By Joseph Mercola. Articles in English