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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chinese Medicine: Vitamin D3, Its Role in Human Health


Vitamin D facilitates several important body functions such as (1) helping absorption of calcium in the intestines from food, (2) regulating absorption of calcium in the kidneys, (3) governing the transport of calcium into the bone, (4) regulating bone growth and repair, (5) helping to regulate the thyroid and parathyroid function, (6) modulates neuromuscular and immune function and (7) reduces inflammation. It is now one the most frequent deficiencies in women. The lack of Vitamin D can lead to different health problems, which includes osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also currently being used to prevent muscle weakness, chronic pulmonary disease, cancer, asthma and bronchitis.

Many years ago our ancestors lived out in the sun, farming, riding horses, and walking. Now most everyone is driving in their cars, not getting any sun, using profuse amounts of sun block, working indoors and sitting in front of computers. The really significant reductions in sunlight exposure have occurred over time and at the same time, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease has become more prevalent.

Sunlight is good for the entire body in small doses and not during intense times of the sun. Only 30 minutes of full-body sun around 11am, produces 10,000 IU of Vitamin D. With the additional use of sunglasses it is believed by some sources that the sunglasses covers the pineal gland and prohibits the absorption of Vitamin D into the system. More research needs to be done to evaluate the risk-benefit ratio of possibly increased risk of melanoma versus the benefits of over-all health.

The recommended use of Vitamin D3 is 200 IU/day for those up to 50 years, 400 IU for those age 51-70 years and 600 IU for 71 years and older. I recently treated a woman who is 65 years old that had a bone density test and was suffering from continued bone loss. Through the use of a Calcium/Magnesium formula, a liquid Vitamin D, and another special formula for Bones, this patient, increased her bone density over a period of one year and is now normal. The treatment also included treatments for her Kidney meridian in Chinese Medicine, which rules the bones in the body.

There have been many studies validating the use of Vitamin D3 with congestive heart failure, breast cancer, better immune systems, slowing the progress of prostate cancer and treating influenza. It has also been found that Vitamin D3 prevents respiratory infections in children. It is easy to measure the level of Vitamin D3 by doing a blood test. Fluctuations in serum concentration could be problematic. Summertime Vitamin D3 levels are higher than winter time levels so it is important to increase the amounts of Vitamin D during the colder months. Most people have well below the optimum amounts of D and it has almost become an epidemic. There are many adults who experience depression due to their low levels and once treated experience a difference in their moods.

Vitamin D3 plays an essential role in maintaining important body functions such as the immune system and bone health. While Vitamin D3 supplementation is helpful in preventing and treating many health conditions, it is certainly not a substitute for going outdoors. By increasing the amounts of Vitamin D3 in your system it can help fight bone loss, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colds, and fight against many epidemics which now seem to be more a part of our health concerns. I urge people to get simple blood tests so that they can see where their numbers are and can monitor their progress over a year’s time. All of these small changes can lead to our greater health.

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