Ok. So “instead” was a very bad choice of words. When it comes to taking care of our health and avoiding chronic disease, there is no “instead.” You can’t take Vitamin C instead of quitting smoking. You can’t go to the gym and exercise an extra half hour instead of skipping the supersize on the value meal.
But there are some things that just seem to consistently come up in the medical literature that show potent cardioprotection. Interval type exercise. Nuts. Stress management. This particular article again highlights just one facet of the importance of maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D intake.
Vitamin D is not a vitamin. Rather, it is a hormone that has effects on pretty much every cell in our body. That is why deficiency has been linked to such a broad spectrum of problems. Some of these include:
- Protecting our brain
- Ensure healthy start of menarche in young girls
- Lowers the risk of falls
- Protects our pancreas and lowers risk of diabetes
- Protects your bones
- Protects against prostate cancer
There’s more, but I’m sure you get the point. In this article, researchers found over triple the risk for >50% plaguing in the coronary arteries in those who had levels of vitamin D <15 vs those with levels >30 ng/ml. And this is a really low level for “adequate” vitamin D. Most researchers consider 60-100 ng/ml as optimal levels of serum 25-OHD.
Few are supplementing with enough vitamin D to get to optimal levels. In my office, it is rare for a new patient coming in to be taking more than 1,000-2,000 IU / day even when they been identified with low serum levels or diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia. In many of these cases I will start recommendations at 4,000 / day.