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Vitamin D

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is very under-appreciated in the general population AND in the medical community as well.  However, fortunately the importance of Vitamin D is becoming known in the medical community, especially those who specialize in bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.

Those in the Anti Aging community have discovered the importance of Vitamin D some time ago and are disturbed at the number of patients we have who are deficient upon testing.  In the general population, when optimal levels are used to judge, the percentage of patients deficient in Vitamin D is well over 75%!

When an Anti Aging physician evaluates Vitamin D levels, we must actually test a product of Vitamin D called "Vitamin D, 25-hydroxy" for reasons of reliability and reproducibility.  Many labs call anything over 20 ng/ml "normal."  This is ludicrous!  This level will produce rickets in many children/adolescents, and osteomalacia (softening of bones) in some adults.  The goal of Hormone Replacement Therapy is the optimal level (where the best health is) is actually from 70-100 ng/ml.  It has never been reported, that anyone has ever seen symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity below 200 ng/ml, so there is quite a safety margin with Hormone Replacement Therapy.

Taking Vitamin D
In our clinical experience, most people require approximately 5,000 IU/day to become therapeutic on Vitamin D.   The USRDA for Vitamin D is a paltry 400 IU per day.  (Although, they are thinking of increasing it to 800 IU.)  This is laughably inadequate for purposes of Hormone Replacement Therapy.  Your body is capable of making up to 20,000 IUs IN ONE HOUR under the peak conditions!  Now, Anti Aging specialists dont recommend that anyone try supplementing that high.  An overdose of Vitamin D causes nausea and vomiting.  5,000 IUs daily is plenty to reach the optimum levels for most people.

When supplementing Vitamin D for the Anti Aging patient, it is best to use a quality liquid (or liquid in a gel cap) form of Vitamin D3.  Vitamin D3 is the form that is far superior to any other form of oral Hormone Replacement Therapy. Vitamin D should always be taken with food for best absorption.  Vitamin D is not absorbed very well when taken on an empty stomach.  Quality Vitamin D supplements are available from MD Prescriptives.  Sign up with MD Prescriptives and order at the links on the right.

Benefits of Vitamin D Replacement Therapy

Many know that Vitamin D is important in absorbing calcium in the diet.  This is often taught in high school and middle school health classes.  Vitamin D is also important in putting that calcium into bones where it belongs.  However, it is now becoming known that it also plays many other important roles.

Vitamin D is a very important anti-oxidant.  Anti-oxidants are important for deactivating something called free radicals.  Free radicals damage cells and cause many of the problems of aging, including increasing the risk of cancers.  Fighting free radicals is one of the major goals of Anti Aging therapy.  Vitamin D, like other anti-oxidants, decreases the damage free radicals do by causing free radicals to react against themselves rather than the DNA or other important cellular structures of ours.  This is not just a theoretical benefit.  Vitamin D measurably decreases the risks of many cancers, but it especially decreases the risk of prostate cancer in men, along with substantially decreasing the risks of colon and breast cancers in both men and women.

Vitamin D increases and improves the immune response to better handle infections.  In particular, it can inhibit viral infections.  While nothing will guarantee an individual wont get sick, Vitamin D tilts the odds considerably in your favor.  Furthermore, since the immune system is involved with the finding and fighting of cells that have turned cancerous, this could also play a role in how Vitamin D reduces the odds of getting cancers.

Vitamin D is important for more than just the Anti Aging community.  It also modulates the immune system.  It can improve the results of other therapies in treating multiple immune system disorders.  Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to high blood pressure disease, or hypertension.  Vitamin D deficiency is more likely to be a cause of hypertension the further north a person lives, and the darker that persons natural skin pigmentation.  Supplementation with Vitamin D is a far safer treatment for these patients than any pharmaceutical intervention.  (Even though some pharmaceutical interventions, such as ACE Inhibitors, are pretty safe and do a lot of patients a LOT of good, that is still a true statement.)

As mentioned above, Vitamin D is involved in calcium metabolism.  Proper calcium balance is vital for proper, controlled and coordinated muscle contractions.  This could be responsible for the observation that patients taking Vitamin D supplements have a significantly lower risk of falls at all ages.  This is especially critical to our elderly population, in whom a broken hip can carry over 50% mortality rate in certain age groups.  In patients over 80 years of age, more than half DIE of a broken hip if they sustain one!

Recent evidence shows that Vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor in developing Multiple Sclerosis.  This fact could explain the long-known fact that the risk of developing MS increases the further one gets from the equator. Long term Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to decrease the risk of developing MS, and also increases the chances that conventional therapy will produce a remission in an established MS patient.  In addition, Vitamin D deficiency has now been shown to have a definite link in turning on genes that increase the risk of colorectal cancer, certain leukemias and auto-immune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and type I diabetes.

Precautions with Vitamin D therapy
High doses of Vitamin D may not be tolerated well by people with connective tissue diseases such as lupus.  Please see your Integrative/Anti Aging physician prior to starting Vitamin D therapy if you have such a disorder.  Pregnant or breast feeding women should not take more than 800 IU daily as higher doses have been linked to birth abnormalities.  Vitamin D Supplements should also not be taken by people taking antacids containing magnesium, or by those taking thiazide diuretics(water pills) such as hydrochlorothiazide, or HCTZ.