Vitamin D is crucial for good health, and may be one of the simplest solutions to a wide range of health problems, from diseases of the eyes to the bowels, and conditions rooted in chronic inflammation and immune dysfunction in particular.
Vitamin D deficiency is common around the world, even in sundrenched areas, yet many people, including physicians, are unaware they may be lacking this important nutrient.
Dry Eye Syndromes and Macular Degeneration
Even the Indian Medical Association1 is pushing for a nationwide awareness campaign, noting that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in India, making people more vulnerable to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks, stroke and cancer.
Despite its name, vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone, which you get primarily from either sun exposure or supplementation, along with some foods. Many of its health benefits are due to its ability to influence genetic expression.
Moreover, researchers have discovered that vitamin D is involved in the biochemical cellular machinery of ALL cells and tissues in your body. Hence, when you don’t have enough, your entire body struggles to function optimally.
In this article I will review a number of the more recently appreciated health conditions in which vitamin D deficiency may play a significant role.
As a general rule, it would be wise to improve your vitamin D status regardless of what ails you, but if you suffer from any of the following conditions, optimizing your vitamin D is clearly indicated.
Remember that while sunlight is the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D, winter and work prevent more than 90 percent of those reading this article from achieving ideal levels without supplementation. The only one to know you have therapeutic levels of vitamin D is to measure it.
According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases,2,3“patients with vitamin D deficiency should be evaluated for dry eye syndromes.” You could easily turn that around and say that anyone with dry eye syndrome would be advised to optimize their vitamin D.
What these researchers found was that premenopausal women who were deficient in vitamin D had a greater risk of dry eye and impaired tear function. According to the authors:
“Dry eye and impaired tear function in patients with vitamin D deficiency may indicate a protective role of vitamin D in the development of dry eye, probably by enhancing tear film parameters and reducing ocular surface inflammation.”
Vitamin D deficiency may also raise your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) if you are genetically predisposed to it.
AMD is the No. 1 cause of blindness among American seniors, and in this study,4,5 the odds of manifesting the disease was greatest among women who had a combination of two risk alleles (genetic mutations) and the lowest vitamin D levels.
Overall, these women were nearly seven times more likely to develop AMD compared to women without the high risk genotype and who also had sufficient vitamin D.
According to the authors, their finding suggests “a synergistic effect between vitamin D status and complement cascade protein function.” Lead author Amy Millen also noted:6
“Most people have heard that you should eat carrots to help your vision. However, there appear to be many other ways that adequate nutrition can support eye health. Having adequate vitamin D status may be one of them.
This is not a study that can, alone, prove a causal association, but it does suggest that if you’re at high genetic risk for AMD, having a sufficient vitamin D status might help reduce your risk.”
Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Multiple Sclerosis Strengthened
At least a dozen studies7 have noted a strong link between multiple sclerosis (MS) and vitamin D deficiency. A number of them have shown that your risk of MS increases the farther away you live from the equator, suggesting lack of sun exposure amplifies your risk.
Moreover, this heightened risk is magnified if you have a lack of sun exposure before the age of 15.
MS is a chronic, neurodegenerative disease of the nerves in your brain and spinal column, caused through a demyelization process. It has long been considered a “hopeless” disease with few treatment options.
The typical prescription for MS focuses on highly toxic immune suppressing medications like prednisone and interferon. However, research over the past few years suggests MS may be improved using vitamin D.
Studies also indicate that vitamin D can serve in a protective capacity, and clearly it’s preferable to prevent it than trying to treat it once it develops.
Canadian researchers8 recently reconfirmed the link between vitamin D deficiency and MS, noting that patients who have genetic variations that cause them to have low vitamin D levels are far more likely to develop the disease. (So far, four genetic variations have been found that appear to cause low vitamin D.)
According to co-author Dr. Brent Richards, the researchers “feel that the evidence we have supports a causal relationship, but it does not prove it.”Additional research is needed to determine whether vitamin D sufficiency might delay or prevent the onset of MS in such individuals.
Craig Moore, a neuroscience researcher at Memorial University of Newfoundland, questions whether vitamin D supplementation would benefit those with this type of genetic variance, saying:9
“Is their body going to do what it needs to with vitamin D? It’s not going to exert the effects that it otherwise would.”
I believe optimizing your vitamin D level is of great importance if you have MS, but it’s not the only factor. For additional treatment suggestions, please see my previous article discussing natural MS treatment guidelines.
Vitamin D May Be ‘Vital’ for Prevention of Bowel Diseases
“Gastrointestinal diseases such as colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease are becoming increasingly common worldwide, including among children and adolescents. This is a substantial burden on health care and a changing vitamin D intake through reduced exposure to sunlight not compensated through diet, may play a key role in susceptibility to such disorders.”
Clearly, sun avoidance is a major part of the problem, and it’s important to weigh the risks versus the benefits when it comes to sun exposure. Contrary to popular belief, which states that sun exposure in general promotes skin cancer, sensible sun exposure may actually help prevent not only skin cancer, but many internal cancers as well. However, you never want to stay out long enough to get burned.
There’s ample evidence showing that sun exposure is the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D level, but supplements and food can also be used.
As discussed in my interview with vitamin D expert Dr. Robert Heaney, to reap maximum benefit you need a vitamin D level of at least 40 to 60 ng/ml (a more ideal level may be 50 to 70 ng/ml), and to get there, you may need around 5,000 to 6,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day or more from ALL sources, which include sun, UVB light from a tanning bed, vitamin D supplements, and food.
In recent years, researchers have determined that vitamin D is actually more common in food than previously thought, especially meat. Until recently, we just didn’t know how to measure it. This explains why people who never take supplements and rarely get sun exposure may still have appreciable (if inadequate) serum 25(OH)D levels — they’re getting it primarily from their diet. As reported by the featured article:11
“Although few foods contained significant amounts of vitamin D, important sources in the diet could include fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna, fish liver oils, and eggs. Small amounts of vitamin D were also found in beef liver, cheese, and other dairy products.”
Vitamin D’s Role in Inflammatory Rheumatic Diseases
Additional evidence linking vitamin D deficiency and chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases (CIRD) has also emerged. CIRD includes but is not restricted to rheumatoid arthritis (RA); it refers to over 100 different conditions rooted in chronic inflammation affecting your joints. In general, CIRD is thought to be linked to autoimmune dysfunction.
A recent study12 involving more than 2,200 patients diagnosed with various types of arthritis found that just over 40 percent of those with rheumatoid arthritis were deficient in vitamin D, with a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 20 ng/ml or less. Nearly 40 percent of those with ankylosing spondylitis, and almost 41 percent of those with psoriatic arthritis were also vitamin D deficient. In contrast, less than 27 percent of the controls had vitamin D deficiency.
As reported by Rheumatoid Arthritis News:13
“This study shed new insights on the impact of vitamin D deficiency in patients with CIRD and these results might be of considerable interest in future daily clinical practice. In spite of lower disease activity, patients with RA have considerable risk of vitamin D deficiency. Hence, monitoring levels of vitamin D in these patients is an important issue, which can be managed by administrating vitamin D supplements or extended exposure to sunlight if available.”
Vitamin D Deficiency Common in Those With Lupus
According to researchers in Cairo,14 most patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have some level of vitamin D deficiency (defined as a level of 10 ng/ml or less) or insufficiency (a level between 10 and 30 ng/ml). Those with lower levels also tend to have greater difficulty controlling their disease.
On average, patients with SLE had significantly lower serum 25(OH)D than the healthy participants — an average of 17.6 ng/ml compared to 79 ng/ml. More than 73 percent of lupus patients had insufficient vitamin D levels, and over 23 percent were deficient.
According to the researchers: “Routine screening and consequent repletion of vitamin D if needed is recommended in SLE. Restoring adequate vitamin D levels in SLE should be more explored as a potential and simple, yet valuable, measure to be added to their usual management to alleviate their condition.”
Vitamin D for HIV/AIDS
Vitamin D is well-known for its ability to combat infections and strengthen immune function, and researchers now suggest vitamin D supplements may be an easy and affordable way to fight even more serious infections like HIV.15,16
A team composed of researchers from the U.S., U.K., and South Africa enlisted 100 Cape Town residents between the ages of 18 and 24 to assess the impact of sun exposure, dietary vitamin D, genetics and skin pigmentation on vitamin D levels in the blood. The study17 also looked for signs of improved resistance to HIV.
After accounting for diet, genes and skin color, sun exposure was found to be the strongest determining factor for vitamin D blood levels. During winter months, vitamin D deficiency was common among all participants regardless of skin tone. In terms of the effect vitamin D had on HIV, it was found to reduce HIV replication and increase white blood cell counts, suggesting it might help slow disease progression. As reported by SciDev.net:18
“Researchers took winter and summer blood samples from both groups between February and August 2013 … and exposed them in vitro (in test tubes) to HIV.
After giving each of 30 Xhosa participants a weekly dose of 50,000 IU of cholecalciferol (a type of vitamin D) for six weeks during the winter, samples showed a decrease in infection that was at par with that exhibited in summer samples. They also showed an increase in white blood cells, and decreased risk of anemia.
‘In South Africa, where we have a high incidence of HIV, and we know infection and ARVs [antiretroviral medicines] can cause vitamin deficiencies, supplementing could be an affordable and effective adjunct therapy,’ [lead author Anna] Coussens says.”
A quick note from our founder-
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In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
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To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
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Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
...suffocating tissue, restricting blood flow, damaging joints and infecting your healthy cells.
Shockingly, that nightmare is a reality for most:
64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
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But here's the worst part:
For most, this bodyfat has become "calorie-resistant":
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This zombie fat is essentially... "dead tissue".
That's important for those who have 10, 25 or 50 or more pounds to lose...
AND for those who aren't technically overweight, but have what's called "pocket obesity"...
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First though, here's the #1 reason why bodyfat becomes calorie-resistant:
It lacks blood flow. This has 3 effects:
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- 3) Metabolic hormones carrying the "burn calories" message don't reach the fat cell...
All this means one thing:
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You become a metabolic zombie: NO energy to think. NO energy to move. NO energy to motivate.
Update: calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
The discovery of this "metabolic jumper cable" can now reverse this process:
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I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
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d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
P.S. Make sure you check out the next page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life!
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
Secret #1: Enjoy real food. Don’t fall for the lie that you have to deprive yourself to lose weight.
Secret #2: stop eating out. You will automatically eat less without even noticing.
Then start detoxing your body with tasty, nourishing smoothies that are just as easy on your wallet as they are easy to make.
Because a single day of enjoying Liz’ smoothies demonstrated the radical power of her superfood-packed red smoothies to make me feel incredibly good.
Now prepare yourself for one of the biggest weight loss secrets there is. A secret that, when you use it properly, can transform your body and your health.
You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
So that’s why I’m losing weight without going hungry.
Watch Liz’ free presentation. It’s packed with revolutionary weight loss information—information that works. Because it’s based on how nature.
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- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
- The “low-fat” foods that can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.
- And the superfoods that rescue your body from this assault by detoxing you…
Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
Because until now, the Red Smoothie Detox Factor has been available only to Liz’ private clients. But now that she’s perfected it to work for almost everyone, almost every time, Liz is sharing it with rest of us so we can feel better and look better.
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.