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The power of vitamin D

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twilyth

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#1
This is an excellent article in an excellent publication (Science News).

It catalogs the current controversy about the amount of D we need in our diets (or from sun exposure) and lists the huge number of bodily functions that it is critical for.

Here is just a sampling.

Another study in the United States showed that substantially more people with low vitamin D develop upper respiratory infections than do people with more of the vitamin, and taking up to 2,000 IU a day reduced such infections by two-thirds in one trial. A Dutch research team also reported online in May in Pediatrics that babies with low levels of vitamin D at birth were several times as prone to develop a severe respiratory viral infection in the first year of life as were newborns with ample amounts.

Fighting infection is all well and good, but too much immunity can be a terrible thing. Ask anyone with an autoimmune disease, in which crossed-up immune defenses attack a person’s own tissues. Even milder immune missteps such as asthma and allergy can be difficult to endure.

But taking extra vitamin D doesn’t exacerbate these immune overreactions. If anything it provides an immune gyroscope that moderates them. “Vitamin D makes the immune system smarter, not stronger,” says John Cannell, a forensic psychiatrist at Atascadero State Hospital in California who also studies vitamin D.

Allergy, an immune reaction to innocuous substances, offers an example. When researchers led by Michal Melamed of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City analyzed vitamin D levels of more than 3,000 children, allergies to peanut, oak and ragweed showed up more often in children with less than 15 nanograms of vitamin D per milli*liter of blood than in kids with at least 30 ng/ml, a level many scientists consider the minimum for good health.
access
Enlargemagnify
ON THE MAPScientists who study vitamin D can't help but notice that a host of diseases seem to vary with latitude. Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and even some cancers appear to be more common in areas that get less sun -- meaning less opportunity for the body to produce vitamin D. The maps above illustrate the apparent link between solar radiation and breast cancer mortality rates.Source, from top: D. M. Harris and V.L.W. Go / /J. of Nutrition 2004; National Cancer Institute

“Vitamin D is seen as essential in immune function,” says Melamed, an epidemiologist and nephrologist. In theory, she says, lacking it early in life disrupts the immune system “and you start having immune reactions to things you should tolerate.”

Asthma, another immune malfunction that can wreak havoc in the lungs, also shows links to low vitamin D levels. In a study conducted at National Jewish Health respiratory hospital in Denver, researchers found that people with asthma who also had low levels of vitamin D had poorer lung function than asthmatics who had higher levels of the vitamin. The results, reported in 2010 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, show that harboring less than 30 ng/ml of vitamin D was associated with higher concentrations of TNF-alpha, an immune protein known to exacerbate inflammation.

A more destructive immune revolt called autoimmunity has a link to vitamin D as plain as a map of the world. Patients with the autoimmune condition type 1 diabetes, or juvenile-onset diabetes, have to receive insulin injections for life because insulin-making cells in the pancreas are killed off by a self-directed onslaught. Cedric Garland, a public health researcher at the University of California, San Diego, has mapped type 1 diabetes around the globe, noting low rates in Barbados, Brazil, Sudan, Algeria and Cuba but a high rate of the disease in Finland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand. In 2008 in Diabetologia, he and colleagues note that the latitude effect follows sun exposure closely.

There are exceptions. Sunny Sardinia has the highest type 1 diabetes rate in the world, apparently because of the population’s genetic profile, and Latvia ranks low. But the overall trend is unmistakable. Many researchers have also noted a latitude trend in multiple sclerosis, a suspected autoimmune disease that is practically unknown in the tropics and most common in Scandinavia.

Because these observations constitute indirect evidence and not causality, some scientists dismiss the latitude theory. But under a microscope, the evidence becomes more direct.

Multiple sclerosis researcher Jorge Correale of the Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research in Buenos Aires has found that patients in the throes of an MS relapse have vitamin D levels lower than do healthy people or patients in remission. MS is marked by inflammation that damages nerve coatings. Vitamin D enhances the development of an inflammation-fighting protein called interleukin-10 and reduces production of two pro-inflammatory proteins in blood from patients, Correale’s team reported in 2009 in Brain.
Try to read the whole article if you're at all interested. I guarantee you will be amazed.

Vitamin D differs from other vitamins in one major way: It is nearly impossible to get enough of it in the diet naturally. Instead, the sun provides it.

After the ultraviolet rays of the sun trigger the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin, the body modifies the vitamin into a steroid hormone. Such hormones are heavy hitters in molecular biology, which probably explains the vitamin’s seemingly broad benefits — ranging from maintaining bone strength to sharpening mental acuity.

Vitamin D triggers a huge range of cell activities by binding to the aptly named vitamin D receptor, a protein docking port found on cells throughout the body. This connection — like a password opening up a new computer screen — instructs the cell to activate or silence certain genes. Gene activity in turn influences which proteins are made or not made by the cell. Since the vitamin D receptor is found on a wide array of cell types, such gene tweaking can influence immune reactions, cell growth, muscle maintenance, calcium absorption, metabolism and other processes.

Sreeram Ramagopalan, a geneticist at Oxford University in England, and his colleagues reported in 2010 in Genome Research that more than 200 genes are awakened or silenced by vitamin D binding to its receptor. Other evidence suggests the number of genes indirectly affected by vitamin D could exceed 2,000.
The infection fighting ability was discovered inadvertently a century ago when doctors treated tuberculosis patients with rest in the sun. Except no one understood why the cure worked. Now we do.
 
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#2
Well, this topic is really important for us basement dwellers :D

I hardly go out that's why my bones and especially my back hurts me sometimes.

I try to stay outside for 5 minutes every day at 2:00 PM but man the sun here is really scorching, it's like sitting with a massive hair dryer on your whole body, you can literally feel your skin tightening :D
 
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#3
I try to stay outside for 5 minutes every day at 2:00 PM but man the sun here is really scorching, it's like sitting with a massive hair dryer on your whole body, you can literally feel your skin tightening :D
Same. except that with the insane prices on the electricity down here, no one dares to leave an AC unit turned on the entire day. Doubt any one here has a vit D deficiency. Hell, I think I'm OD'ed :eek:
 
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#4
I thought vitamin D is a fundamental component of DNA synthesis?

EDIT: nope just remembered that that is B6.
 
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twilyth

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#5
Well, this topic is really important for us basement dwellers :D

I hardly go out that's why my bones and especially my back hurts me sometimes.

I try to stay outside for 5 minutes every day at 2:00 PM but man the sun here is really scorching, it's like sitting with a massive hair dryer on your whole body, you can literally feel your skin tightening :D
That's part of the problem with the huge divergence in opinion. One group that sets the standard for minimum daily allotment (Institute of Medicine, IOM) thinks that raising it from 200IU's to 600IU's is adequate but the Endocrine Society thinks it should be 1500-2000IU's. Part of the reason is that the amount people get from sun exposure varies tremendously.

I get burned too easily so I'm content to take the supplement. At 400IU's per day, I was way, way under the lower end of the normal range. Now I'm on 1000IU and I have to get tested again, but this is the first year I didn't get sick over the winter - I had gotten sick every single year for at least a decade before that. So I'm a believer.
 

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#6
I find the prevelance of immuno disease higher in countrys with high infant vaccination rates. is this a wierd statistic ?
 

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#7
That's part of the problem with the huge divergence in opinion. One group that sets the standard for minimum daily allotment (Institute of Medicine, IOM) thinks that raising it from 200IU's to 600IU's is adequate but the Endocrine Society thinks it should be 1500-2000IU's. Part of the reason is that the amount people get from sun exposure varies tremendously.

I get burned too easily so I'm content to take the supplement. At 400IU's per day, I was way, way under the lower end of the normal range. Now I'm on 1000IU and I have to get tested again, but this is the first year I didn't get sick over the winter - I had gotten sick every single year for at least a decade before that. So I'm a believer.
I've been taking 2000IIU's a day for about 9 months now and I haven't been sick, I didn't even have any seasonal allergies this year, plus I have more energy and don't feel run down as often. I really don't get a lot of sun either.
 

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#8
interesting stuff
 

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#9
I have allergic reactions when I have too much vitamin D. It's especially bad in the sunlight. I get pretty severe Eczema and hives if I'm out in the sun for more than 30 minutes or so. I'm fine when I drink things like milk tho. I only drink it in my coffee, so maybe the dose is low enough? Who knows?
 

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#10
go outside. novel idea...
 
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#11
I have allergic reactions when I have too much vitamin D. It's especially bad in the sunlight. I get pretty severe Eczema and hives if I'm out in the sun for more than 30 minutes or so. I'm fine when I drink things like milk tho. I only drink it in my coffee, so maybe the dose is low enough? Who knows?
Do you have any parathyroid problems or bone breakages? Just out of curiosity
 
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#12
Make sure you use skin protection, i get burnt in even light sun and also i get headaches ect from the heat. Also you can take too much vitamin D but its unlikely to get too much from direct sunlight.

I know dark skinned people need a lot of sun light to get vitamin D, a family member works in the bio chem lab offices here and sees all the records and most of the time you see Asians with vitamin D deficiency because they cant get enough from the sun here.

Something to do with melanin and skin tone, i am pale because i need to be to take in more vitamin D from the sun because of a lack of sunlight in Scotland. Thats why in like Nigeria the people are mostly very dark skinned its like a natural form of skin protection. Pigmentation is determined by melanin, everybody knows this though or should i imagine.

I knew vitamin D was beneficial but its interesting to see that they say people get sick in winter due to lack vitamin D through sunlight.
 
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#13
I believe it's important to get at least 15 minutes of sun a day. I don't think it matters when and we should avoid the hottest part of the day especially during hot days. Also, don't forget to stay hydrated, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
 
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#14
I believe it's important to get at least 15 minutes of sun a day. I don't think it matters when and we should avoid the hottest part of the day especially during hot days. Also, don't forget to stay hydrated, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
It's ideas like this that are keeping our country obese and lazy. Only 15 minutes outside? Really? I remember being outside all day during hot California summers and having no ill effects past being tired and dirty. Now we're trying to talk our kids into going outside for an hour a day with commercials with football players. Fifteen minutes is chump change.
 
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twilyth

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#15
I think the point was for sun exposure to produce vitamin D, not for general exercise or overall well-being. Anyway, you have to try to be nice to the new members. :slap: :D
 
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#16
Asians with vitamin D deficiency because they cant get enough from the sun here.
That's most likely because they cover themselves up in accordance with their religion/culture.

Not trolling, it's a fact.
 
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#17
It's ideas like this that are keeping our country obese and lazy. Only 15 minutes outside? Really? I remember being outside all day during hot California summers and having no ill effects past being tired and dirty. Now we're trying to talk our kids into going outside for an hour a day with commercials with football players. Fifteen minutes is chump change.
I agree. I can spend all day outside. Or more than a whole day, depending on fireside entertainment. When I was a kid, I used to wake up at 5, and make sandwiches to bring on a hike. My friends and I would take the power lines across the next few towns, and then turn around and come home at about 8pm. We did that every day for summer vacation, for about 7 years in a row. Explored the woods of the entire county, mapped every trail in every zipcode.

I don't see kids outside anymore.
 

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#18
I agree. I can spend all day outside. Or more than a whole day, depending on fireside entertainment. When I was a kid, I used to wake up at 5, and make sandwiches to bring on a hike. My friends and I would take the power lines across the next few towns, and then turn around and come home at about 8pm. We did that every day for summer vacation, for about 7 years in a row. Explored the woods of the entire county, mapped every trail in every zipcode.

I don't see kids outside anymore.
why go outside when you can do it virtually in WoW ?:laugh:
 
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#19
That's most likely because they cover themselves up in accordance with their religion/culture.

Not trolling, it's a fact.
Here in Taiwan they cover up because they don't want to be though of as labours.

the original reason behind the obsession with the lighter skin has more to do with social class differences than 'want what you don't have' syndrome. It was believed that a lighter complexion is associated with wealth and higher education levels, whereas darker skin alludes to a life of outdoor labor toiling in the sun.
source: http://uniorb.com/ATREND/asianwhite.html
 
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#20
I don't see kids outside anymore.
Come to my neighborhood in the summer. They're out there until 11PM. Of course this is partly because it's colder than a witch's tit around here 9 months a year.
 
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#21
Several years ago we had grass fires here that caused real bad air quality. I developed a breathing problem that finally put me in the ER. I had a severe respiratory viral infection and pneumonia was mentioned. My primary physician saw the xrays and got me an appointment with an endocrinologist. She at first thought I had a calcium or thyroid problem but after a couple of blood tests it turns out that I had a vitamin D deficiency. So my trip to the ER got me help for muscle and back pains.

I started out taking a 50,000 IU capsule each week then one a month and now one every two weeks. I started out with blood tests every 3 months but now every 6 months. I do feel a lot better when I take these capsules every two weeks.
 
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#22
ON THE MAPScientists who study vitamin D can't help but notice that a host of diseases seem to vary with latitude. Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and even some cancers appear to be more common in areas that get less sun -- meaning less opportunity for the body to produce vitamin D. The maps above illustrate the apparent link between solar radiation and breast cancer mortality rates.Source, from top: D. M. Harris and V.L.W. Go / /J. of Nutrition 2004; National Cancer Institute
This is a serious subject and I apologize if I offend anybody but...

If I read between the lines, does this mean we should be seeing more topless women?

For health reasons of course :D
 
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#23
I knew that you were supposed to take vitamin D if you use sun screen, just didn't know why, now I do, thanks a bunch.
 

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#25
Do you have any parathyroid problems or bone breakages? Just out of curiosity
Not afaik on thyroid issues, but I haven't been tested. What would I be looking for in terms of symptoms? And no bone breakages that are out of the ordinary (aka: all bone breakages happened in situations where bone breaking would be an expected outcome).

Why, do you have ideas that will get me back out in the sun? lol