Vitamin D Health Benefits

Optimal Vitamin D levels (100 – 150 nmol/L) play a positive role in making sure that your body functions the way it was developed. There are Vitamin D Receptors (VDR) located in tissue throughout your body and in all the major organs. Vitamin D interacts with over 3,000 genes.

GrassrootsHealth - Scientists’ Call to D*action

The benefit of an adequate vitamin D level to each individual will be better overall health and a reduction of illnesses. In addition to rickets, bone disease and osteomalacia/osteoporosis, vitamin D insufficiency is associated with many other diseases including: tuberculosis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type-1 diabetes, high blood pressure, increased heart failure, myopathy, breast and other cancers. It is projected that the incidence of many of these diseases could be reduced by 20%-50% or more, if the occurrence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were eradicated by increasing vitamin D intakes through increased UVB exposure, fortified foods or supplements.

Scientists’ Call to D*action, endorsed by over 40 vitamin D Scientists (2011)

Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D.
A summary of the health benefits and disease incidence prevention
that could be achieved by raising the public's vitamin D levels to 125 nmol/L:

  • Rickets, reduced by 100%
  • Osteomalacia, reduced by 100%
  • Cancers, all combined, reduced by 75%
  • Breast Cancer, reduced by 50%
  • Ovarian Cancer, reduced by 25%
  • Colon Cancer, reduced by 67%
  • Non-Hodgkins, reduced by 30%
  • Kidney Cancer, reduced by 67%
  • Endometrial Cancer, reduced by 35%
  • Type 1 Diabetes, reduced by 80%
  • Type 2 Diabetes, reduced by 50%
  • Fractures, all combined, reduced by 50%
  • Falls, women reduced by 72%
  • Multiple Sclerosis, reduced by 50%
  • Heart Attack, men, reduced by 50%
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease, reduced by 80%
  • preeclampsia reduced by 50%
  • Cesarean Section, reduced by 75%

Holick, Michael F., PhD., M.D., Boston University School of Medicine,
textbook - Physiology, Molecular Biology, and Clinical Applications
(2nd Ed 2010 Humana Press). Page 12

Dr. William Grant released a study in 2010 which estimated that if
Canadians raised their vitamin D blood levels to105 nmol/L it would
prevent 37,000 deaths and save $14B in associated healthcare costs.
Grant 2010 – An estimate of the economic burden and premature deaths due to vitamin D deficiency in Canada


Natural Levels of Vitamin D

Sunlight = Vitamin D: Humans make 90 percent of their vitamin D naturally through sun exposure to the skin (without sunscreen). In Canada‚ our northern climate means UVB levels in sunlight are too weak 4-6 months of the year to makeany vitamin D naturally.

What is the intended, natural level of vitamin D that the human body was designed to operate with?

Humans evolved in the horn of Africa, close to the Equator over 30,000 years ago. They spent their days out in the full sun, with no clothing, hunting and gathering food. Their skin pigment evolved and protected them from sun burns and allowed the production of vitamin D through the skin. Nature never intended for humans to live and work indoors, in cubicles, without sunshine exposure.

Non-Human Primates: 125 – 200 nmol/L
Vieth 2004 – Why the optimal requirement for Vitamin D3 is probably much higher than what is officially recommended for adults
Maasai and Hadzabe, Tanzania: 115 nmol/L
Luxwolda 2012 – Traditionally living populations in East Africa have a mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration of 115 nmol/L

Outdoor Workers – Lifeguards: 163 nmol/L
Haddad 1971 – Competitive protein-binding radioassay for 25-hydroxycholecalciferol

Outdoor Workers – Puerto Rico Farmers:135 nmol/L
Haddock 1982 – 25(OH)D serum levels in normal Puerto Rican population and its subjects with tropical sprue and parathyroid disease

Outdoor Workers – Nebraska: 122 nmol/L
Barger-Lux, Heaney 2002 – Effects of above average summer sun exposure on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and calcium absorption

Indoor Tanners: 95 nmol/L
Schwalfenberg 2010 – Addressing vitamin D deficiency in Canada: A public health innovation whose time has come

Average Canadian: 68 nmol/L
Statistics Canada – Langlois 2010 – Vitamin D status of Canadians as measured in the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey

Dermatologists: 35 nmol/L
Czarnecki 2009 – The vitamin D status of Australian Dermatologists

GrassrootsHealth and over 40 Vitamin D Scientists recommend achieving an optimal Vitamin D level for disease prevention of 100-150 nmol/L using a 25(OH)D blood test. This is the natural levels that the human body had as it evolved over thousands of years. Everyone should have their vitamin D 25(OH)D blood serum levels tested and make sure they are within these guidelines.

Sources of Vitamin D

UVB Exposure
Natural Sunlight – 10,000 – 20,000 IU per day, in summer, 10am – 2pm
Tanning Bed with UVB – 10,000 IU per session

Salmon – fresh, wild, 3.5 oz – 400 – 1000 IU
Salmon – farmed, 3.5 oz – 100 - 250 IU
Fortified Milk – 8 oz – 100 IU

Vitamin D3 – from 400 – 1,000 IU in tablets or liquid