What is Vitamin D and How Can It Help You?

We hear about Vitamin D all around us from commercials, to media, to the internet. But do you really understand this vitamin and how it can be beneficial?

In the medical community there is a push to better understand both the risks of low Vitamin D as well as the vast effect of this Vitamin on health.

It is a fat soluble Vitamin that helps with intestinal absorption of several other compounds including: Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and more. There are several different types of this Vitamin, for humans, the most important is D3 or Cholecalciferol.  But Ergocalciferol is also important.

Both types can be ingested and from supplements. But very few foods contain Vitamin D.  Synthesis from Cholesterol happens in the skin from sun exposure, UVB radiation.

This is the catch 22 problem though – no official recommendation will be given for sun treatment due to the fact that sun can be a leading cause of cancer of the skin. Therefore, many intake guides only recommend consumption of this vitamin.

Currently low amounts of can cause some serious medical issues such as Osteomalacia and/or Rickets. This is actually the same condition, Rickets is found in children.

Donald Hensrud, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program said, ” 20-50 percent of adults have some form of low vitamin D values.”

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InterMoutain Medical Center Study

Recently, from Intermountain Medical Center – researchers suggest that the risk of Diabetes, Heart Attack (MI), heart failure, High Blood Pressure, Stroke and other cardiac events can be predicted by reviewing Vitamin D total and bioavailable.

Bioavailable is vitamin D that has been absorbed but has yet to attached to certain proteins.

Dr. Heidi May was the lead researcher and she presented some findings in Chicago. She noted and followed approximately 4,200 adults between the ages of 52 – 76.

25% had Diabetes and 70% had Cardiac Heart Disease.

Dr. May said, “Our study found that low levels of both total vitamin D and bioavailable vitamin D appear to be associated with poor cardiovascular outcomes.”

Their study tested levels and the metabolism of this vitamin. Only 10-15 percent is available to act on “target cells”.

The study did test some of the different types of vitamin D, but found that measuring total amount and bioavailablity were the most accurate.

This study is the first research that evaluates the association of vitamin D metabolites with cardiovascular events And evaluating usable vitamin D could mean the difference on the amount of vitamin D prescribed, if it’s prescribed at all,” continued Dr. May.

Intermountain Medical Center is the flagship facility for the Intermountain Healthcare system, which is based in Salt Lake City.

Also read:  Where is the Vitamin D?

Additional Research and Studies

1.) Prostate Cancer

Dr. Adam Murphy  said, “Vitamin D deficiency may predict aggressive prostate cancer. Men with dark skin, low vitamin D intake or low sun exposure should be tested for vitamin D deficiency when they are diagnosed with an elevated PSA or prostate cancer. Then, a deficiency should be corrected with supplements.“ Dr. Murphy is a urologist, assistant professor of urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and the lead investigator on this study.

2.) Multiple Sclerosis

According to research, taking a high dose of vitamin D may be an easy and less expensive way to treat people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disorder that affects the brain and spinal chord.

3.) Progression of HIV and/or Tuberculosis.

Additional researchers recently conducted a longitudinal study of patients in order to determine whether vitamin D supplementation modifies the response to HIV infection and possibly Tuberculosis noted lead researcher Nina Jablonski, PhD.

4.)  Other links have included Sleep Apnea, Depression, Melanoma survival and much more.

Vitamin D Supplements

–  Can be taken in the form of a multivitamin
–  The Food and Nutrition Board established guideline – 400 IU  (International units) per day.
–  Institute of Medicine recommends – 600 IU
–  Vitamin D council recommends – 1,000 IU for children, 5,000 IU for pregnant and adults, 10,000 IU limit for certain Deficiencies.
–  Osteoporosis International recommends – 2,000 – 3,000



Garland, CF, CB French, LL Baggerly, and RP Heaney. “Vitamin D supplement doses and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the range associated with cancer prevention.” Anticancer Research, 2011.




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