Recent studies have highlighted biologic evidences that suggest the possibility of Vitamin D as a force protecting against certain types of cancers and auto immune diseases.
According to Oxford University Genetic Researcher’s study published in Genome Research, Sreeram Ramagopalan, latest genetic analysis support the idea that Vitamin D interacts with genes specifically related to Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes Type 1, Colorectal Cancer and various others.
Ramagopalan and his colleagues analyzed the binding of Vitamin D receptors to the regions of the genes previously associated with various diseases and gather evidence of increased binding for Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Crohn’s disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lymphocytic Lukemeia and colorectal cacer.
Exposure to sunlight is the most preferable method of raising the levels of Vitamin D in the blood; however, lifestyle changes, living in cold places with lack of sunlight, using sunblock and staying indoors hamper the synthesis of Vitamin D in the body. Different food sources including fatty fishes like salmon and cod, fortified milk and juice, cereals and other fortified foods can contribute to slightly raising the levels. However, it has been widely observed and acknowledged that most people in the world except those close to the equator are deficient in Vitamin D.
In cases of deficiency, apart from lifestyle changes, supplementation becomes necessary.
Doctors recommend a daily Vitamin D intake of 200 IUs (International Units) for those aged 50 or less. For those above 50 and upto 70, the recommended intake is 600 IU while those above 70 are recommended a daily dose of 600 IU. However, certain experts including Ramagopalan believe that a higher dose of 2000 IU would be optimal for preventing disease.
Vitamin D level below 20 ng/ml is considered to be a deficiency. Harvard School of Public Health recommends that optimal Vitamin D level to look for ranges between 30 and 40 ng/ml to reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases and cancers.
Your physician is the best judge to understand how much supplementation, if at all, you need to reach the optimum Vitamin D level in your blood. It is strongly recommended to avoid self medication since that can lead to more problems than solutions. Consult your physician regularly for the best results.
More research is underway to determine the effects of Vitamin D on a variety of other conditions.