All vitamins and minerals are essential to life. Deficiencies in any essential nutrient will ultimately lead to a disease condition. However, Vitamin D is most curious because it is involved in so many aspects of physical well being, and that while all around us, populations in the industrialized nations are predominately deficient in it. How could this be?
In the late 1970s, government warnings about holes in the ozone would cause skin cancer if you stayed in the sun too long and/or you did not use Sun Screen Block. Well, most people listened and as a result people started blocking the life giving light of the sun, which includes the photosynthesis of vitamin D in the skin.
Here are some astonishing health trends
that have occurred since people became conscious of avoiding sunlight.
Diabetes: Vitamin D is necessary for the biosynthesis of insulin. According to the International Diabetes Federation the number of people around the world with diabetes surged from 30 million to 230 million since 1980. Studies confirm that vitamin D deficiency predisposes individuals to type 1 and type 2 diabetes. According to a study appearing in Diabetologia, vitamin D deficiency has been shown to impair insulin synthesis and secretion in humans and in animals, suggesting a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, epidemiological studies suggest a link between vitamin D deficiency in early life and the later onset of type 1 diabetes. Since type 1 diabetes is associated with certain polymorphisms within the vitamin D receptor gene, vitamin D deficiency may, therefore, be involved in the pathogenesis of both forms of diabetes.
Additionally, vitamin D deficiency is consistently noted in juvenile diabetes and autism. Children lacking vitamin D is thought to be passed on from vitamin D deficient mothers. According to a study published in the November issue of Pediatrics, 6.3 million U.S. children are vitamin D deficient.
Cancer: From 1975 – 2000, global cancer rates doubled. Cancer rates are projected to double again by 2020, and will nearly triple by 20302. Vitamin D deficiencies continuously show up in the following cancers; breast, prostate, colon, colorectal, esophageal, bladder, testicular, pancreatic, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, endometrial, and ovarian. It would be foolish to state that vitamin D deficiencies are the causative factor in all these cancers, but it would also be foolish to state that vitamin D deficiencies are not a contributing factor in these cancers.
On a global scale, there are an estimated 14 million new cancer diagnoses and more than 8 million deaths. Projected figures for 2030 are 20 to 26 million new diagnoses with 13 to 17 million deaths. In 2012, there were 1,700,000 new cancer diagnoses producing 577,190 deaths3. Putting this into perspective, with the exception of melanoma, skin cancer is not deadly and melanoma only kills approximately 7,800 per year.
Colds & Flues: Has it ever struck you as odd that the vast majority of colds and flues occur during the winter months when exposure to the sun is at a minimal, while colds and flues are virtually non-existent during the summer months when the sun is most abundant? According to Dr. John Cannel, MD of the Vitamin D Council, anyone who has supplemented their diet with 5000 IUs a day for any length of time simply doesn’t get colds and flues. A month’s supply of 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D will cost under $10.00. When one considers the cost of most cold and flu remedies, the costs to businesses for sick pay and the lost productivity from absentee workers; the cost savings is staggering. The loss of sales and to the pharmaceutical industry would also be staggering.
The Journal of Immunology suggests in a report from their June 2009 issue that vitamin D promotes the production of antimicrobial peptides that have the ability to neutralize the activity of various disease-causing agents, including influenza virus. Antimicrobial peptides are important members of the host defense system. They have a broad ability to kill microbes. In addition to their role as endogenous antibiotics, antimicrobial peptides help the body to control inflammation, are involved in wound repair and the regulation of the adaptive immune system. The adaptive immune system is that part of the immune system that constantly needs to adjust for an ever changing environment; like summer to winter.