Recent studies by The Wellcome Trust 1the have found that a lack of Vitamin D is a major factor for many diseases previously thought to be unrelated. Growing evidence indicates that Vitamin D interacts with an individuals DNA , influencing what proteins will be made from our genetic code. Researchers have found 2776 binding sites for the Vitamin D receptor across the genome. These binding sites were unusually concentrated near genes associated with a susceptibility to autoimmune conditions such as MS, Crohn's disease, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, and to certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer and even dementia.
The research was done at the University of Oxford by the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford . One of the lead authors of the study, Dr. Andreas Heger stated, "Our studies show quite dramatically the wide-ranging influence Vitamin D exerts over our health."
Dr Sreeram Ramagopalan from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and the first author of the paper adds: "There is now evidence supporting a role for vitamin D in susceptibility to a host of diseases. Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and the early years could have a beneficial effect on a child's health in later life. Some countries such as France have instituted this as a routine public health measure."
Indeed, the amount of individuals who are deficient in Vitamin D is staggering. It is estimated that more than 1 billion people world-wide do not receive sufficient Vitamin D. In some cases poor or inadequate diet is the culprit, while insufficient sunlight is also being looked at.
Very few foods in nature contain Vitamin D. Some of our best sources;salmon, mackerel, tuna, and fish liver oils, have been discouraged due to high levels of mercury. Small amounts of Vitamin D are contained in egg yolks, cheese and beef liver, which have also been discouraged for those with high cholesterol counts. Sun exposure, which provides most people with adequate amounts of Vitamin D, is being avoided because of growing concern over skin damage and skin cancers. We also know some medications, such as Dilantin, used to prevent and control epileptic seizures, causes a reduction in calcium absorption. These factors are all at the heart of our Vitamin D intake dilemma.
The good news is, through adding foods to your diet which are fortified with Vitamin D, getting small (15 to 20 min. ) of sunlight each day, and adding a Vitamin D and Calcium/Magnesium supplement, you can give your body the 200 I.U. the average person ages 19 to 50 needs for optiumum health. In Corpus Christi, (where there is never a shortage of sunlight,) you can check out the Vitamin Shoppe, located at 5425 S. Padre Island Dr., where caring and helpful consultants will answer your questions about Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, and their absoprtion. Continue to watch for more information on Vitamin D as scientists discover more about our DNA and what effects disease, aging, and health.
©August 2010, Shelli Rossignol, LMT/CR http://www.kiaorashelli.com
- Reference:Ramagopalan S et al. A ChIP-seq defined genome-wide map of vitamin D receptor binding: associations with disease and evolution. Gen Res 2010.
- The Wellcome Trust http://www.wellcome.ac.uk
- Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp
- The Vitamin Shoppe http://www.vitaminshoppe.com