The real skinny on Sunshine and VitaminD"
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M.H.I. Liquid Sunshine
There is growing evidence showing the various health benefits of the life-saving Vitamin D. If your vitamin D level is sub-optimal, your doctor may write you a prescription for vitamin D to bring the blood level up. If you or someone you know is taking vitamin D from prescription, please read on.
Sources of Vitamin D: Do Plant Foods and Mushrooms Really Contain Vitamin D?
Many "vitamin D" supplements contain vitamin D2, which is obtained by subjecting ergosterol from yeast, a chemical found in plants, to radiation.
Recently, news reports declared that mushrooms subjected to ultraviolet radiation are "[zapped] into a giant serving" of vitamin D.7 Like plants, any vitamin D contained in mushrooms is in the form of vitamin D2.8
Should sources of vitamin D2 really be considered sources of vitamin D?
Some researchers claim that vitamin D2, also called "ergocalciferol" and called "viosterol" in the old days, and vitamin D3, also called "cholecalciferol" are equally effective in humans because their ability to bind to the vitamin D receptors in our cells is equal.2 But that's not the whole story.
Figure 3: The Chemical Structure of Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
Figure 4: The Chemical Structure of Vitamin D2 (Ergosterol)
Vitamin D is carried in the blood by vitamin D-binding protein (DBP). DBP is kind of like a savings account for vitamin D. If you didn't have the DBP, you'd be forced to use all your vitamin D as soon as you absorb it, and excrete the rest. This would be a giant waste of vitamin D, because you can only use so much at a time. DBP thus helps to increase the effect of a given dose of vitamin D by holding on to what you don't need at any given moment for later use, and helps prevent toxicity by keeping the portion you don't need at any given moment from being delivered to your cells.2
Although vitamin D2 binds well to the vitamin D receptor, it has very little affinity for vitamin D-binding protein. For this reason, it is well-known to be useless in chickens and other birds. When vitamin D was seen merely as a cure for rickets, vitamin D2's ability to treat rickets in the small amounts needed led researchers to believe it equal in power to vitamin D3 in humans. Now that researchers are uncovering the need for much higher levels of vitamin D to maintain optimal health, it is becoming clear that vitamin D2 just doesn't fit the bill.
The researchers Laura Armas, Bruce Hollis, and Robert Heaney showed in 2004 that vitamin D2's low affinity for the vitamin D-binding protein makes it nearly ten times less effective at raising long-term vitamin D levels.9
If vitamin D2 has a lower affinity for the DBP, it follows that it is also much more likely to result in toxicity than is vitamin D3. It is therefore unsurprising that, according to Dr. John Cannel, president of the Vitamin D Council, nearly all cases of toxicity from pharmacological doses of vitamin D resulted from the consumption of vitamin D2.10
The vitamin D2 synthesized from plant sterols should therefore not be considered true vitamin D for humans. Humans should obtain vitamin D from the sun and from the vitamin D-rich fatty animal foods that provide the form of vitamin D with which the sun provides us, and which we have consumed throughout our evolution.
Benefits of proper Vitamin D levels
Sunlight Is the Ideal Source of Vitamin D
Ideally, the best place to get vitamin D is from your skin being exposed to the UV-B that is in normal sunlight. Vitamin D from sunlight, or supplements, acts as a pro-hormone, rapidly converting into 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
Many experts believe that there is no harm in the vitamin D concentrations associated with sun exposure, and that such levels are probably optimal for human health.
Unfortunately, the amount of sun reaching most of the U.S. is only sufficient to generate a vitamin D response for about three months of the year.
Now, I can just hear scores of you getting alarmed that this recommendation will increase your risk of skin cancer. Well folks, nothing could be further from the truth.
I will provide all of the documentation and scientific research to support this assertion in future issues. But, I am convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that as long as you avoid being sunburned, sun exposure at noon on unexposed skin is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body.
Most of us just don't live far south enough, or high enough in the mountains, to allow more UV-B to reach our skins. So, for those times of the year when access to the proper amount of sun is not possible, you will want to consider using our Liquid Sunshine (made from Cholecalciferol [D3]).
Ultraviolet-B Is What Generates Vitamin D In Your Skin
Ultraviolet (UV) light is divided into 3 bands, or wavelength ranges, which are referred to as UV-A, UV-B and UV-C.
UV-B is sometimes called the "burning ray." It's the primary cause of sunburn caused by overexposure to sunlight. However, UV-B sunlight produces vitamin D on the skin. The amount produced depends on exposure time, latitude and altitude of location, amount of skin surface exposed, skin pigmentation and season.
UV-B also stimulates the production of MSH, an important hormone in weight loss, energy production, and in giving you that wonderful tanned appearance.
However, UV-B does not penetrate very deeply into the skin. The darker the pigmentation or more tanned the skin, the less UV-B penetrates. Window glass allows only 5% of the UV-B light range that produces D to get into your home or auto.
The timing of your sun exposure is also a major factor. Sun exposure must take place when UV-B is present.
It is important to know the level of UV-B exposure. Unlike the typical American strategy, more is better, that is not the case for UV-B exposure. Longer exposure will not increase vitamin D production, but will increase the danger of skin damage and possible skin cancer.
Major Caution: Avoid Sunburn
Again, it is important to stress that you should never get burned and should only implement sun exposure very gradually.
While we all benefit from regular exposure to sun, it is important to recognize that you should always limit your exposure so that you don't get burnt. Sunburn has been clearly related to an increased risk of skin cancer.
Interestingly, if you don't get sunburned and actually have regular sun exposure, you will have a decreased risk of the dangerous skin cancer, melanoma.
However, don't let dermatologists scare you. We all need sun. It is very similar to water. Just because you can drown while swimming, doesn't mean you should never drink water or swim in it. Similarly, as long as we avoid sun exposure that will cause burning, it will help improve our health.
Skin cancer is largely related to the over abundance of omega 6 oils that we have in this country. When sunlight hits these fats it can convert them to cancer causing molecules, and if one is not healthy, these cells can go on to developing cancer. (Avoid all VEGETABLE OILS!!!!)
This cancerous transformation doesn't happen with omega three fats. So, changing the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 oils in your diet is one the keys to prevent this. The best sources of omega three fat would be cod liver oil and grass fed animals like beef.
Remember: Don't Ever Get Sun Burned
It is also important to point out the obvious. Fair skinned individuals need far less exposure to receive their dose of sun to produce vitamin D. Lighter skin allows for greater penetration of UV-B, leading to higher levels of D.
African Americans however, would need considerably more sun to generate vitamin D. This is one of the reasons why breast and prostate cancers are so much higher in Africans who are living in temperate climates. They just aren't able to get enough sun to generate vitamin D. In fact, in the Northern U.S. cities, they will find it impossible to get adequate D from sunlight in any season.
Elderly individuals will also have a great difficulty getting enough vitamin D from sun exposure, since an enzyme in their skin decreases with degenerative aging and, as a result, their skin has a limited capacity for producing vitamin D.
Interestingly, it is impossible to get vitamin D toxicity from too much sun exposure. Your body just won't let it happen. That is why receiving your vitamin D from the sun is the best option if possible.
Ultraviolet exposure beyond the minimal dose required to produce skin redness, does not increase vitamin D production any further.
An equilibrium occurs in white skin within 20 min of ultraviolet exposure, in which further increases in vitamin D is not possible, since the ultraviolet light will actually start to degrade the vitamin D.
It can take 3-6 times longer for pigmented skin to reach the equilibrium concentration of skin previtamin D. However, skin pigmentation does not affect the amount of vitamin D that can be obtained through sunshine exposure.
It is commonly thought that only occasional exposure of the face and hands to sunlight is "sufficient" for vitamin D nutrition. Indeed, this exposure can provide 200-400 IU vitamin D during those months when the appropriate sunlight is available.
Supplemental Vitamin D
Unfortunately the vast majority of us living in the U.S. just do not have access to the proper amount of sun most of the year. Even if the sun is out there, most of us are working during the week and don't have time to go out and capture some sunlight on our skins.
So, that leaves supplementation as the only practical option for most of us.
Vitamin D3 is found in eggs, organ meats, animal fat, cod liver oil and fish. It is the equivalent to the vitamin D3 formed on our skins from UV-B.
You should stay away from the synthetic D2 as it is the one that has been shown to have toxicity at the higher dose ranges. You will only want to use vitamin D3.
There are newer reasons why vitamin D2 has a greater potential for harm. First, vitamin D binding protein has a weaker affinity for the vitamin D2 metabolites than vitamin D3. Second, unique biologically active metabolites are produced in humans from vitamin D2, but there are no analogous metabolites derived from vitamin D3.
Even without careful attention to the type of vitamin D being used, a recent expert review on vitamin D was unable to find any published evidence of vitamin D toxicity in adults from an intake of 10,000 IU per day that was verified by the blood 25(OH)D concentration.
People Who Should Not Take Supplemental Vitamin D
Some patients with sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, or lymphoma become hypercalcemic in response to any increase in vitamin D nutrition. For these persons, it may be wise to avoid any dietary or environmental sources of vitamin D, unless they are carefully monitored with serum calcium and 25(OH)D levels.
Let me emphasize that the vast majority of the readers of this newsletter can not possibly receive enough UV-B to generate vitamin D from September to May.
This is certainly true for just about the entire US and all of Europe. Please remember that just because it is sunny and hot outside this is absolutely no indication of the UV-B level that is present. If your latitude is above 30 degrees north or below 30 degrees south, you will likely benefit from vitamin D supplementation from September to May.
If you don't know the latitude of your city you can use a latitude finder If your latitude is lower than 30 degrees you have access to good sunshine and may not need vitamin D supplementation.
My top recommendation for obtaining supplemental vitamin D3 would be to use our Liquid Sunshine.
Let me remind you that eating fish just won't cut it anymore.
We have irreversibly polluted the environment by burning coal for electricity and there is more than enough mercury in the waters of the world to contaminate virtually all of the fish.
Even the conservative U.S. government warns pregnant women to avoid eating fish, since 60,000 kids are born brain injured from that mercury exposure every year. Farm raised fish do not avoid the problem -- they still have the mercury and are worse since they are high in omega 6 not omega 3 because they are fed corn.
Milk is NOT a healthy choice for Vitamin D for too many reasons to list here. Store bought, commercial, pasteurized, hormone and antibiotic laden "milk" is purely one of the worst substances a person can put in their body and will contribute significantly to sickness and disease over time.