Just in case there were any doubts about the importance of Vitamin D – the ‘sunshine’ vitamin’ – many major published studies have confirmed just how essential it is for joint health as well as general health, and also, how deficient many people are in this ESSENTIAL nutrient.
A study published in the American College of Rheumatology concluded that sunlight exposure and serum Vitamin D levels are associated with a significant decrease in knee cartilage loss. The study was done by measuring cartilage volume in the knees of 880 randomly selected subjects. The mechanism is believed to be through a direct effect of Vitamin D on cartilage via receptors which stimulate cartilage production and also reduce cartilage degradation through a modulating effect on metalloproteinases. As you lose cartilage in your joints they become stiff and painful, a condition that leads to reduced activity and eventually joint replacement. Arthritis is a leading cause of age related disability in the US.
Another published study found that people with higher Vitamin D levels in their blood were more likely to survive cancer, and others that having very low levels increased your risk of cardiovascular disease, increased risk for autoimmune disease and other chronic diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Also, did you know that children born in autumn will on average grow taller than their counterparts born in the spring. The reason is believed to relate to higher levels of Vitamin D in mothers during gestation as a result of exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D Has A Long List of Benefits Including:
Regulates calcium absorption from the intestine and keeps bones healthy and strong.
Stimulates cartilage production in the joints and reduces the production of enzymes that can cause cartilage loss
Strengthens the immune system which helps to prevent autoimmune conditions and also helps to reduce the risk of cancer and other conditions related to a weak immune system. Other research has linked high levels of Vitamin D with fighting off infection and helping with all sorts of chronic problems.
Stimulates the production of nitric acid, which is involved in regulating blood flow and preventing the formation of blood clots. It also reduces ‘internal stress’ in the cardiovascular system, which could prevent heart-related incidents. Can also restore cardiovascular cells which are already damaged.
But there is a catch: to obtain the benefits of this vitamin you have to have a level in your blood that is 4-5X higher than we can get from occasionally exposing our face and hands to the sun on the way to work.
It has been estimated that in America and the UK as many as 90 percent of the population are not getting nearly enough Vitamin D from the sun and diet can’t make up for the shortfall. It is thought that the level of Vitamin D in our bloodstreams is dropping, partly because of concerns about the link between sun and skin cancer. We spend most of our days in offices – modern glass doesn’t allow the Vitamin D-producing ultra violet B rays through. Also, for up to 6 months of the year the sun isn’t high enough in the sky to stimulate production in the skin when you do go outdoors.
Vitamin D works alongside three other minerals: potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are best obtained from your diet. Without these, Vitamin D doesn’t work as well.
How Much Is Needed?
According to some doctors and nutrition specialists even higher levels of the vitamin – 10 to 15 times the recommended amounts – are necessary to achieve the full benefits of the vitamin. A blood level of 25nmol/L is the official amount needed to prevent bone-damaging rickets — to achieve this you need an intake of about 400 IU a day. This is the absolute minimum amount needed by your body to avoid obvious disease related to a deficiency however, it is not an adequate amount to get the additional benefits that Vitamin D can offer. In the study published in the American College of Rheumatology previously referenced, the average serum level was 50nmol/L.
How to Achieve Higher Levels of Vitamin D:
Oral consumption of the vitamin can be done daily. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine recommended that people take 2,600IU per day. Dr James Dowd , a Vitamin D proponent that uses supplementation as a core strategy for treating chronic pain and other conditions recommend 4000-6000 IU /day and believes that an oral intake of less than 10,000IU a day is safe.” Dr James Dowd, who works at the Arthritis Institute of Michigan, and wrote a book, The Vitamin D Cure, has been prescribing Vitamin D to people suffering from chronic disorders such as arthritis, back pain and headaches and the result, he claims, is a huge improvement in their symptoms.
Intravenous Therapy (IVMT) can be a much more effective way of getting to the higher and more desirable serum levels. The standard dose is 200,000 IU. The much higher dose that can be administered IV, is also delivery directly into the bloodstream (bypassing the gut) and generates a bioavailability that is much greater than what can be achieved through oral consumption. In addition, a critical mineral Magnesium required to get the full benefits of the D Vitamin is given.
If your joints are feeling stiff or painful or you are experiencing any chronic symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, low energy these may be due to a deficiency of Vitamin D and other micronutrients. If you feel good and want to keep feeling that way for as long as possible, consider these strategies for prevention of joint degeneration.
iOrtho is a certified provider of IVMT and treating Vitamin D in addition to other nutritional deficiencies causing arthritis, osteoporosis and other chronic MSK disease. Learn more about iOrtho online at www.iorthomd.com