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Vitamin D, Is It The Best Vitamin Of All?

Vitamin D, Is It The Best Vitamin Of All?

This week I’d like to dedicate much of this post to an infographic by Dr Rhonda Patrick. Fortunately for me the infographic is free to distribute with attribution.

Now for those who don’t know who Rhonda Patrick is, she is a biochemist and research scientist, with an emphasis on anti aging strategies. If you hear her speaking, she has an encyclopedic knowledge of what you can do to improve your healthspan (the span of years in which you are healthy – as distinct from lifespan).

The infographic tells pretty much everything you need to know about why vitamin D3 is important for your health, so I don’t need to add too much to it to give you the information you need about why vitamin D is one of the ultimate anti aging vitamins around.

But I would like to explain a few things that it discusses. Firstly there is the matter of gene expression. This needs to be defined for those who are not aware of the term.

As we all know, our genetic code is contained in our DNA. From a layman’s point of view, the DNA is a whole bunch of information, with switches that can be turned on and off, depending on how we treat our body.  Gene expression is the way the body uses the information to perform bodily functions. OK, I know this is a basic description, but a more complex description starts to make people’s eyes glaze over.

For example, a common problem many people suffer from is arthritis, especially as they age. Gene expression can control whether or not inflammatory compounds are released into the body.

As the infographic shows, vitamin D controls the expression of over 1,000 genes. Naturally, I’d like to think when it controls the gene expression of those genes, it means that it influences the functioning of the body in a positive way.

The next thing is that 70% of people do not get enough vitamin D. OK, this is likely to be North America specific, but let’s examine this. I personally like to supplement with vitamin D. In Australia, we have reasonable weather 9 months of the year and can get out in the sunshine and get a decent dose. Of course the problem comes with really hot days where you risk skin cancer with too much exposure to the sun, but for the most part, just getting out for a 20 minute walk in the middle of the day should do the job.  I like to supplement with a couple of thousand IU per day anyway, just to make sure I am hitting the sweet spot.

Speaking of the sweet spot, the final point I would like to emphasise is that when you hit the sweet spot, look at what happens to all-cause mortality. All-cause mortality, said another way is death from any cause. When you hit the sweet spot with vitamin D, you lower your risk of death from, well anything.

But what is the sweet spot? It’s around 4,000 IU per day. Now be careful with this, because it’s a fat soluble vitamin and fat soluble vitamins tend to accumulate in the body. The important thing is your blood serum levels of vitamin D. These can be tested by a doctor if need be.

And just before I go, note also that your levels of body fat can interfere with serum levels of vitamin D. As usual all things about health are inter-related. Lower body fat generally correlates with better health all round, and here’s one my reason why.

 


Sourced from: FoundMyFitness Vitamin D Infographic.

Image Source: chris fleizach (originally posted to Flickr as DSCN0018) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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