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VITAMIN D3 PLUS – CRITICAL UPDATE

Dr. Hank Liers, PhD vitamin d3 plusFred Liers PhD vitamin d3 plusThe scientific evidence for Vitamin D3 continues piling up. It is abundantly clear a large percentage of the global population is deficient in Vitamin D3, and that supplements can make a huge difference for people to avoid and prevent deficiency of this critical nutrient.

During a period when people are self-isolating and mostly indoors—and there is an immediate coronavirus threat—it is time to act on the science supporting Vitamin D3.

It is now well known that Vitamin D plays critical roles in fighting viruses and building immunity. Many doctors now routinely advise patients to take high doses of Vitamin D3, especially in the winter when both Vitamin D levels and sun exposure are lowest.

“I have found the value of bolstering immune function with Vitamin D to be incredibly powerful.” – Dr. Jeffery Rutersbusch

William Grant, PhD, says: “Coronaviruses cause pneumonia as does influenza. A study of the case-fatality rate from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in the United States showed that most deaths were due to pneumonia. The SARS-coronavirus and the current China coronavirus were both most common in winter, when vitamin D status is lowest.” [1–5]

VITAMIN D3 PLUS

VITAMIN D3 PLUS is HPDI’s complete vitamin D3 formula. It was designed by Hank Liers, PhD to not only provide Vitamin D3, but also Vitamin K2 and Vitamin A both of which support the body’s uptake and use of Vitamin D3.

We have covered Vitamin D3 in previous posts such as Vitamin D3 Superstar! and Vitamin D3 for Health, and various other articles. In fact, Dr. Hank formulated Vitamin D3 PLUS 10 years ago, and it has become one of our best-selling products. As the general understanding that Vitamin D3 is critical for health increased, more people are taking action to supplement their diet with supplements like Vitamin D3 PLUS.

VITAMIN D3 PLUS is designed as an advanced Vitamin D formula providing high-dose Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is the natural form of Vitamin D produced in the body from sunlight and is the form best used for therapeutic purposes.

One softgel capsule of Vitamin D3 Plus provides 125 mcg (5,000 IU) of Vitamin D3 derived from highly purified and molecularly distilled fish liver oils. In addition, the product contains 300 mcg (1,000 IU) of Vitamin A also derived from highly purified and molecularly distilled fish liver oils and 10 mcg of Vitamin K2 from menaquinone-7.

Vitamin D3 Plus supplement

Vitamin D3 Plus includes synergistic nutrients known to enhance absorption and use of Vitamin D3 in the body. These nutrients include Vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7) (10 mcg), which which works together with Vitamin D to help boost bone density, improve cardiovascular health, and boost immunity.

Vitamin D3 Plus also provides 300 mcg (1,000 IU) of Vitamin A, a nutrient known to work powerfully with Vitamin D to help create optimal health. As dosages of Vitamin D increase, ideally your dosage of Vitamin A also will increase, and vice versa. The formula also includes natural Vitamin E as an antioxidant.

vitamin d3 plus softgels

Vitamin D3 Plus incorporates advanced softgel encapsulation

IMPORTANT VITAMIN D FACTS

  • In a world of sun avoidance, sun blocks, working indoors, latitudinal effects, etc., nearly the entire population suffers in multiple ways from Vitamin D3 deficiency
  • Human beings optimally produce 10,000–20,000 IU of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) when exposed to full sunlight on a significant portion of skin for about 30 minutes
  • The body starts to gain the full benefits of Vitamin D3 only after it produces (or intakes orally) about 5,000 IU Daily
  • Vitamin D3 is a prehormone with powerful effects and with few exceptions cannot be obtained in sufficient amounts from diet

VITAMIN D3 PLUS FORMULATED FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH

Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin increasingly known as a nutrient essential for health and well-being. Recent studies show that almost all body systems benefit from adequate Vitamin D intake/production. Therefore, it is important that the body receive optimal amounts in order to build the best health. In fact, recent studies indicate that 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 is an ideal amount for daily intake. What is notable about this amount is that the body does not gain the full benefits from Vitamin D until it reaches this “threshold” level of about 5,000 IU. While the body stores Vitamin D, it must first be given an adequate supply.

Because Vitamin D3 is important for all body systems, the benefits of adequate Vitamin D are numerous. Adequate Vitamin D not only helps to ensure good health, but also supports the body in preventing and combating a wide range of conditions. When taken in adequate dosages (one or two 5,000 IU capsules daily), Vitamin D3 can provide the following benefits: 1) stronger bones, 2) enhanced immunity, 3) protection from autoimmune diseases, 4) improved blood sugar control, 5) normalized blood pressure, 6) prevention of tumors, 7) protection against flu, 8) better balance, 9) prevention of autism, 10) improved mood, 11) reduction of chronic pain, 12) improved dental health, 13) improved muscle strength, 14) prevention of birth defects, 15) improved prostate health, 16) better bowel health, 17) supports individuals with Multiple Sclerosis, 18) reduced symptoms of PMS, and 19) many other benefits.

The oils in Vitamin D3 Plus are emulsified by the addition of a non-GMO sunflower lecithin that ensures excellent uptake by the body. Vitamin E as tocopherols and tocotrienols derived from Oryza rice bran oil are included to protect against oxidation in the product and in the body. In addition, the rice bran oil is used to enhance the absorption of the fat-soluble Vitamin D and Vitamin A.

Vitamin D3 Plus may be taken with Hank & Brian’s Essential Fats Plus E. This combination is an ideal way to obtain essential fatty acids, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K2. Taking other Foundational Supplements provides additional benefits.

VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY IS EPIDEMIC WORLDWIDE

Vitamin D deficiency currently is a worldwide epidemic with more than one billion people at risk for diseases associated with low Vitamin D status. Vitamin D is proven safe and effective for a wide range of health conditions (see above and below). There are various reasons for this epidemic, including a significant portion of the world’s population living in northerly latitudes (where sunlight is inadequate during many months of the year), sun avoidance, time spent indoors, etc.

VITAMIN D3 MORE EFFECTIVE THAN D2

Vitamin D3 Plus provides only the Vitamin D3 form of Vitamin D. We avoid the use of Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 has greater potential for toxicity, poorer absorption, and reduced effectiveness. Vitamin D3 is the preferred form of Vitamin D…and the form that gives you the best health.


VITAMIN D3 PLUS FROM HIGHLY PURIFIED FISH LIVER OIL

Vitamin D3 Plus provides Vitamin D3 from purified fish (cod) liver oil. Our formula comes in a softgel (instead of a standard capsule) for greater purity. In a softgel, the oil does not contain other ingredients (like cornstarch) commonly used to microencapsulate Vitamin D oil into powders used in capsule forms. The softgel form allows us to avoid using undesirable fillers and excipients. This means you avoid undesirable additives.

VITAMIN D3 PLUS OFFERS SUPERIOR ABSORPTION

Vitamin D3 PLUS includes non-GMO sunflower lecithin to act as an emulsifier of Vitamin D thereby ensuring effective absorption. In addition, the use of rice bran oil further supports absorption of fat-soluble Vitamin D. Optimizing absorption of Vitamin D is critical especially in cases of Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease (gluten intolerance), and irritable bowel syndrome. In these conditions, individuals often suffer from osteoporosis, kidney disease, etc. Better absorption means greater effectiveness.

NATURAL FORMS OF VITAMIN E PREVENT OXIDATION

Vitamin D3 PLUS includes Orzya rice bran oil because the fish liver oils in the formula are susceptible to oxidation. Oryza rice bran oil provides significant amounts of Vitamin E in the form of mixed tocotrienols and tocopherols, which are powerful antioxidants. These forms of Vitamin protect the product and keep Vitamin D3 Plus fresh, and act as powerful antioxidants in the body.

VITAMIN D3 PLUS INCLUDES VITAMIN A

Vitamin D3 Plus includes 300 mcg (1,000 IU) of Vitamin A along with Vitamin D3. We include Vitamin A because it is known that Vitamin A and Vitamin D act synergistically. Normal bone remodeling requires both Vitamin A and Vitamin D. In addition, when Vitamin D levels are inadequate, high dose Vitamin A may cause bone loss. However, no observed bone loss occurs when there are adequate levels of Vitamin D (more than 2,000 IU daily). Chris Masterjohn discusses the topic in his seminal article “Vitamin A on Trial: Does Vitamin A Cause Osteoporosis?” (see Weston A. Price Foundation website). Masterjohn states that Vitamin A taken in conjunction with Vitamin D is required for proper bone remodeling in the body. Vitamin A and Vitamin D not only act synergistically in the body, but also when taken together ensure protection from the effects of taking either one alone in high doses.

VITAMIN K2 REQUIRED FOR VITAMIN D FUNCTION

Vitamin D3 Plus includes 10 mcg of Vitamin K2 (the menaquinone-7 or MK-7 form) per softgel in our formula. Vitamin K2 (especially as MK-7) is necessary for the proper activation of bone matrix proteins by conferring on them the physical ability to bind calcium (i.e., to build strong bones). Research also shows that Vitamin K2 can help remove calcium from soft tissues in the body and instead put the calcium into bony structures (i.e., where it serves to build a strong skeletal system). Vitamin D3 Plus can help put the health-building powers of Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7) to work for optimal health.

Chris Masterjohn elegantly discusses the role of Vitamin K2 in bone formation in his groundbreaking article “On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved” (see Weston A. Price Foundation website). Because Vitamin K2 is needed to facilitate the function of Vitamin D in proper bone formation (including tooth structure), Masterjohn states that Vitamin D toxicity is most likely a case of Vitamin K2 deficiency. It is clear that adequate Vitamin K2 both protects against Vitamin D toxicity and supports the effective use of Vitamin D in the body.

In Health Benefits of Vitamin K-2: A Revolutionary Natural Treatment for Heart Disease and Bone Loss (2006), Larry Howard and Anthony Payne, PhD, assert that as little as 6 mcg (micrograms) of Vitamin K2 (as MK-7) can be beneficial. The half-life of Vitamin K2 (as MK-7) is about three days in the body. This means that as few as 6 mcg of Vitamin K2 is beneficial because the levels increase by a factor of three when its taken regularly.

It is notable that Vitamin K2 is found naturally in fermented foods, including some cheeses, sauerkraut, natto (i.e., a traditional Japanese dish of fermented soybeans), and in dairy products, eggs, and certain meats. However, the vast majority of individuals in the world do not receive adequate amounts of Vitamin K2 from their diets. Now anyone can gain the important benefits of Vitamin K2 along with the benefits of Vitamin D and Vitamin A by taking Vitamin D3 Plus.

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin.

VITAMIN D3 PLUS
NUTRITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
AND APPLICATIONS

Vitamin D, calciferol, is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is found naturally in some animal foods, but also can be made in the body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. It is known that season, latitude, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and use of sunscreens affect UV ray exposure. For example, in northern areas of the US the average amount of sunlight from November through February is insufficient to produce significant Vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 or greater will block UV rays that produce Vitamin D even in regions of the US where sunlight is plentiful.

MINERAL METABOLISM

The liver and kidney help convert vitamin D to its active hormone form. The major biologic function of Vitamin D is maintaining normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. It promotes bone mineralization in conjunction with a number of other vitamins, minerals (especially magnesium), and hormones. While adequate sun exposure is an ideal means to obtain Vitamin D, most of the population cannot obtain sufficient sunlight during fall and winter months to maintain optimal Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D3 Plus offers a solution for keeping Vitamin D at optimal levels for health.

When there is insufficient Vitamin D in the body, bones can become thin, brittle, soft, or misshapen. Vitamin D prevents rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (softening of bones) (in adults). These skeletal diseases result in defects that can severely weaken bones. It is estimated that over 25 million adults in the United States either have developed osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it. Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by fragile bones. It results in increased risk of bone fractures. Vitamin D deficiency was recognized as the cause of rickets and osteomalacia 75 years ago. The prevention and cure of these diseases with fish liver oil was a triumph for nutritional science and since then the body’s requirement for Vitamin D has been linked to these conditions.

Vitamin D deficiency also has been associated with greater incidence of hip fractures. In older women, a higher Vitamin D intake from diet and supplements is associated with less bone loss. Vitamin D supplementation therefore may help prevent fractures resulting from osteoporosis and the loss of bone. Vitamin D supplements offer a significant means for strengthening bones and skeletal structures, and for preventing bone weakness or bone loss leading to osteomalacia, osteoporosis, and other conditions related to weak bones.

VITAMIN D SERVES MANY FUNCTIONS

Vitamin D affects major aspects of human health beyond its classical role in mineral metabolism. It is well established that the active form of Vitamin D acts an effective regulator of cell growth and differentiation in a number of different cell types. Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence strongly suggest that Vitamin D may be protective against some tumorigenesis. The active form of Vitamin D therefore plays a critical role in supporting good health.

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with insulin deficiency and insulin resistance. It was shown recently that Vitamin D deficiency is likely a major factor for the development of type 1 diabetes in children. Insulin resistance is also one of the major factors leading not only to tumor formation, but also to heart disease—by far the leading cause of death in the USA. Northern countries have higher levels of heart disease and more heart attacks occur in the winter months.

Degenerative arthritis of the knee and hip progresses more rapidly in people who have lower concentrations of Vitamin D. Infertility is associated with low levels of Vitamin D, and PMS has been completely reversed by the addition of calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D. Activated Vitamin D in the adrenal gland regulates tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate limiting enzyme necessary for the production of dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Low Vitamin D levels also may contribute to chronic fatigue and depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has been treated successfully with Vitamin D.

Multiple Sclerosis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis and Crohn’s disease have all been linked with low Vitamin D levels. It has been shown that long term low-level exposure to sunlight normalizes immune function and enhances immune cell production. This reduces abnormal inflammatory responses, such as those found in autoimmune disorders, and reduces occurrences of infectious disease.

Vitamin D deficiency also has been linked with obesity. Vitamin D recently has been shown to lower leptin secretion. Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells and is involved in weight regulation. Obesity itself lessens the bioavailability of Vitamin D from skin and dietary sources because it is deposited in body fat. Vitamin D deficiency, moreover, has been clearly linked with Syndrome X (also known as Metabolic Syndrome). Syndrome X refers to a cluster of health conditions that includes insulin resistance (the inability to effectively process dietary carbohydrates and sugars), abnormal blood fats (e.g., elevated cholesterol and triglycerides), high blood pressure, and obesity.

VITAMIN A BENEFITS

Vitamin A is useful for many health conditions, including vision problems, poor thyroid function, and weakened immunity. Vitamin A is highly effective against infections (especially those that involve the mucous membranes) largely because it is critical to the formation of tissues lining the digestive, respiratory, reproductive, and urinary tracts. It is also required for the digestion of protein, and for lactation, reproduction, healthy skin and eyes, and the formation of steroid hormones. Vitamin A deficiency can result in a number of health problems, including night blindness, dry eyes, eye infections, and skin conditions. Vitamin A works together with Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 to maintain healthy bones. Vitamin D has been shown to prevent Vitamin A toxicity. Vitamin D3 Plus includes Vitamin A because Vitamin A and Vitamin D work together to support health.

VITAMIN K2 BENEFITS

Vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7 has been shown in numerous studies to extract calcium from the blood and arteries and deposit calcium into growing or aging bones. In addition, MK-7 appears to have the potential to prevent or even reverse some forms of heart disease and, at the same time, do the same for bone loss. It is believed that patients would be able to be treated with doses of vitamin D that possess greater therapeutic value than those currently being used while avoiding the risk of adverse effects by administering Vitamin D together with Vitamins A and K2. Vitamin D3 Plus includes Vitamin K2 (as MK-7) because MK-7 provides unique benefits for health that complement the benefits offered by Vitamin D. They act synergistically to provide other benefits beyond the benefits each by itself can provide.

VITAMIN D3 PLUS INFORMATION

COMPOSITION: One softgel capsule of VITAMIN D3 PLUS provides the following percentages of the US Daily Value for adults:

vitamin d3 plus table

RECOMMENDATIONS: Recent research on Vitamin D suggests that most people will benefit from 125 mcg (5,000 IU) of Vitamin D3 daily (unless there is some constraining lifestyle factor or medical reason). Due to its long half-life (about 30 days) in the body, Vitamin D can be taken effectively in smaller doses if needed (e.g., 5,000 IU taken fewer times per week). For example, taking one capsule once per week would give a daily equivalent dose of about 714 IU (i.e., 5,000 IU divided by seven days).

Additional important nutrients you need to take with Vitamin D3 in order to achieve maximum benefits include magnesium, calcium, zinc, and boron. These additional nutrients are included in our foundational supplements (multivitamins, essential fats, Vitamin C formulas, and Rejuvenate!™ superfoods) and bone formulas (Bone Jour!™ and Bone Guardian).

DIRECTIONS: As a dietary supplement take one capsule of Vitamin D3 Plus daily with food, or as directed by a health care professional. Note: when exposure to direct sunlight is adequate, your requirements for supplemental Vitamin D may be correspondingly lower.

INGREDIENTS: Fish liver oil (providing Vitamin D3), bovine source gelatin (shell), glycerin (shell), yellow beeswax (shell), purified water (shell), rice bran oil, non-GMO sunflower lecithin, Oryza oil, turmeric powder (shell), Vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7), and fish liver oil (providing Vitamin A).

VITAMIN D3 PLUS does not contain wheat, rye, oats, corn, barley, soy, gluten, sugar, wax, egg, yeast, dairy, GMOs, sulfates, chlorides, coloring agents, or artificial preservatives.

VITAMIN D RESOURCES

Products

VITAMIN D3 PLUS
(detailed product information)

Vitamin D3 Plus

Blog Articles

Vitamin D3 Superstar!

Vitamin D3 for Health

Question about Purity of Fish Liver Oil in Vitamin D3 Plus

Other Resources

Vitamin D Supplements Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infection and Death

Nutritional Treatment of Coronavirus

References

1. Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, Holick MF, et al. (2006) Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 134:1129-1140. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16959053.

2. Grant WB, Giovannucci E. (2009) The possible roles of solar ultraviolet-B radiation and vitamin D in reducing case-fatality rates from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in the United States. Dermatoendocrinol. 1:215-219. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20592793.

3. Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL et al. (2017) Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 356:i6583. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28202713.

4. Yin Y, Wunderink RG. (2018) MERS, SARS and other coronaviruses as causes of pneumonia. Respirology. 2018 Feb;23(2):130-137. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29052924.

5. Zhu N, Zhang D, Wang W, et al., China Novel Coronavirus Investigating and Research Team. (2020) A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019. N Engl J Med. 2020 Jan 24. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2001017. [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31978945.

Further Reading

Vitamin D3 – “SUPERSTAR”!

Vitamin D3 for Health: A New Review Article by Dr. Michael Holick

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A QUESTION ABOUT THE PURITY OF FISH LIVER OIL IN VITAMIN D3 PLUS

Dr. Hank Liers, PhD vitamin D3 Plus question answer

I often receive questions about various HPDI products. This month, I want to answer a question I got about our Vitamin D3 PLUS supplement.

It is my hope that periodic answers to your questions may help others when making choices regarding nutritional supplements. HPDI always strives to formulate the highest purity and highest quality supplements available. Please read about our four-pillar Approach to Formulation.

 A QUESTION ABOUT THE PURITY OF FISH OIL IN VITAMIN D3 PLUS

QUESTION: I see the source of the Vitamin D3 and Vitamin A in the product is fish liver oil. Are there any test results available for mercury or other heavy metals?

HANK: I am always careful when formulating any product to minimize any potential toxins. Vitamin D3 and Vitamin A from fish liver oils, as are found in the HPDI Vitamin D3 Plus formula, are highly concentrated sources which means that only milligram amounts are needed. That by itself means there would be very low levels of toxins.

This fact is verified by independent testing that shows mercury levels of less than 0.003 ppm, lead levels of less than 0.005 ppm, cadmium levels of less than 0.002 ppm, and arsenic levels of less than 0.004 ppm. “Less than” means the amounts are below the detection limits! Very low levels, indeed. View the test results below.

Test Results:

1. Test results for Cadmium, Mercury & Lead: https://www.integratedhealth.com/downloads/d3Test1.pdf

2. Test results for Inorganic Arsenic: https://www.integratedhealth.com/downloads/d3Test2.pdf

 

vitamin d3 plus

The fish liver oils in Vitamin D3 Plus are exceptionally high in purity.

MORE ABOUT VITAMIN D3 PLUS

Vitamin D3 PLUS is formulated as an advanced Vitamin D3 formula. It incorporates various cutting-edge design features and offers many benefits. Here are some relevant facts about HPDI’s Vitamin D3 PLUS:

• The formula provides Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) from highly purified fish liver oil. We avoid the use of Vitamin D2 because of a greater potential for toxicity, poorer absorption, and reduced effectiveness. Furthermore, we prefer Vitamin D3 in a softgel form. In softgels, the oil is incorporated without using other ingredients (like corn starch) used for microencapsulation to make Vitamin D into a powder that is then put into a capsule. HPDI avoids using fillers and excipients in products whenever possible. (See A Pure Approach to Formulation for our four pillar system of supplement design).

• Vitamin D research during the last 10 years shows an optimal amount of supplemental Vitamin D for most people of about 5,000 IU. This is what is generally needed to get blood levels of Vitamin D to the level of 50–80 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter).

• Non-GMO sunflower lecithin acts as an emulsifier of Vitamin D and ensures effective absorption of the Vitamin D in Vitamin D3 PLUS. In addition, the use of rice bran oil further supports absorption of fat-soluble Vitamin D. Optimizing absorption of Vitamin D is critical especially in cases of Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease (gluten intolerance), and irritable bowel syndrome.

• Because the oils involved are susceptible to oxidation, we include Oryza rice bran oil in Vitamin D3 PLUS. Oryza rice bran oil contains significant amounts of Vitamin E (in the form of mixed tocotrienols and tocopherols) that prevents oxidation.

• Vitamin D3 is combined with Vitamin A because they act synergistically. It is known that high dose Vitamin A without Vitamin D can cause bone loss. However, there is no observed bone loss when adequate Vitamin D (more than 2,000 IU daily) is taken together with Vitamin A. Chris Masterjohn eloquently discusses this topic in his seminal article “Vitamin A on Trial: Does Vitamin A Cause Osteoporosis” (see Weston A. Price Foundation website). Also, Masterjohn states that Vitamin A taken in conjunction with Vitamin D is necessary for proper bone remodeling. We include 1,000 IU of Vitamin A along with Vitamin D3 in Vitamin D3 PLUS.

• Vitamin K2 (especially as Menaquinone-7) is necessary for the proper activation of bone matrix proteins by conferring upon them the physical ability to bind calcium. Chris Masterjohn has beautifully discussed this issue in his paper “On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two–Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved” (see Weston A. Price Foundation website). Because Vitamin K2 is needed to facilitate the function of Vitamin D in proper bone formation (including teeth), Masterjohn states that Vitamin D toxicity is most likely a case of Vitamin K2 deficiency.

• In their book Health Benefits of Vitamin K-2, Larry M. Howard and Anthony G. Payne assert that as little as six mcg of Vitamin K2 (as MK-7) can be beneficial to the body. We therefore include 10 mcg of MK-7 per softgel in Vitamin D3 PLUS. In addition, research has shown that Vitamin K2 can help remove calcium from soft tissues in the body and instead put the calcium into bony structures. Vitamin K2 is found naturally in fermented foods such as cheeses, sauerkraut, dairy products, natto (i.e., a traditional Japanese dish of fermented soybeans), and in dairy products, eggs, and certain meats.

• In light of recent research on Vitamin D, we recommend most people take 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily (unless there is some constraining lifestyle factor or compelling medical reason). Due to its long half-life (about 30 days) in the body, Vitamin D3 PLUS can be taken effectively in smaller doses if needed (e.g., 5,000 IU taken fewer times per week). For example, taking one capsule once per week would give a daily equivalent dose of about 714 IU (i.e., 5,000 IU divided by seven days).

• Other nutrients ideally taken with Vitamin D3 in order to achieve maximum benefit include magnesium, calcium, zinc, and boron. These additional nutrients are included in HPDI’s foundational supplements and bone formulas (Bone Jour!, Bone Guardian, and Cal/Mag Plus).

vitamin d3 plus purity quality

Testing helps ensure the purity and effectiveness of HPDI products.

SURPRISING VITAMIN D3 FACTS

• A human being optimally produces 10,000–20,000 IU of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) when exposed to full sunlight on a significant portion of skin for about 30 minutes.

• The body only starts to get the full benefits of Vitamin D3 after it has produced or taken orally about 5,000 IU daily.

• In this world of sun avoidance, sun blocks, working indoors, latitudinal effects, etc. a majority of the population suffers in multiple ways from deficiency (or less than optimal levels) of Vitamin D3.

• Vitamin D3 is actually a steroid hormone with very powerful effects and, with few exceptions, cannot be obtained in sufficient amounts from your diet.

GOT QUESTIONS ABOUT HPDI PRODUCTS?

We at HPDI welcome questions about our products. Please use our contact webform or email your questions to: support(at)integratedhealth.com.

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Vitamin D3 for Health: A New Review Article by Dr. Michael Holick

Fred Liers PhD Vitamin D Health SupplementationA new review article on Vitamin by Dr. Michael F. Holick and Dr. Arash Hossein-Nezhad appears to confirm mounting evidence regarding the many health benefits of Vitamin D. Their article is “Vitamin D for Health: A Global Perspective.” It was published in the July 2013 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

You may wish to view the entire article (click here for the full text of the article (.pdf format), as I will only present selected findings because the scope of their article is beyond what I can readily summarize.

We at HPDI recommend high dose Vitamin D supplements (up to 5,000 IU daily for adults), like our Vitamin D3 Plus formula, especially in winter and northern latitudes, where no amount of winter sunlight can generate adequate vitamin D levels in the body.

Ever more evidence continues accruing about the importance of Vitamin D, its health benefits when optimal amounts are made available to the body, and the detriments to health when the body fails to receive adequate amounts (or when a state of deficiency occurs).

Because the preponderance of scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the need for higher Vitamin D intakes, I feel it is important to highlight some of the authors’ findings in this study.

MAIN POINTS OF THE NEW VITAMIN D STUDY

Drs. Holick and Hossein-Nezhad emphasize several points:

1) Vitamin D deficiency is common and underdiagnosed.

2) An effective strategy to prevent Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is to obtain some sensible sun exposure, ingest foods that contain Vitamin D, and take a Vitamin D supplement.

3) Evidence from hundreds of recent studies suggests that Vitamin D is important for reducing the risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, cognitive decline, depression, pregnancy complications, autoimmunity, allergy, and frailty.

4) Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may influence fetal “imprinting” that may affect chronic disease susceptibility shortly after birth, as well as later in life.

5) The blood level of 25(OH)D is the best method to determine Vitamin D status.

vitamin d3 sun sunshine

DEFINING SUFFICIENCY AND DEFICIENCY OF VITAMIN D3

The authors note that the US Endocrine Society recommends that serum 25(OH)D levels of 30 ng/mL be attained to avoid risks connected with an inadequate Vitamin D status.

The Endocrine Society consequently recommends Vitamin D deficiency be defined as a 25(OH)D level of 20 ng/mL or less, vitamin D insufficiency as 21 to 29 ng/mL, and vitamin D sufficiency as 30 ng/mL or greater for children and adults. It suggested that maintenance of a 25(OH)D level of 40 to 60 ng/mL is ideal, and that up to 100 ng/mL is safe.

Maintenance levels can easily be attained in adults by taking 5,000 IU daily. Children can achieve maintenance levels when taking much less, e.g., 400–1,000 IU daily.

SELECTED FINDINGS

WHO IS DEFICIENT IN VITAMIN D3?

20%–80% of US, Canadian, and European adults (men and women) are deficient in vitamin D. Serum 25(OH)D levels less than 20 ng/mL was almost one-third of the US population (32%). More than 70% of non-Hispanic African-American individuals and more than 40% of Mexican-American Hispanic individuals were at risk for a 25(OH)D level less than 20 ng/mL (742).

Among Canadians, serum 25(OH)D levels less than 30 ng/mL were evident in 57.5% of men and in 60.7% of women, rising to 73.5% in spring (among men) and 77.5% in winter (among women) (742). Vitamin D deficiencies are high among populations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and many other areas of the world.

In contrast, high circulating vitamin D levels are found among individuals from tribal groups in east Africa. Individuals from these tribes receive tropical sunlight on their skin daily and exhibit a mean circulating 25(OH)D level of 46 ng/mL (743).

Darker skinned people, of course, have natural sunscreen protection due to their increased melanin skin pigmentation. Consequently, they are 90% less efficient in producing vitamin D in their skin compared with light-skinned individuals. Dark skinned people living in northern latitudes, for example, exhibit far greater incidence of vitamin D deficiency.

Individuals with dark skin living in the north, must therefore be diligent with respect to obtaining sufficient vitamin D from a combination of sun exposure, diet, and vitamin D supplements.

SUNSCREENS AND AIR POLLUTION

The prevalent use of sunscreens also contributes to vitamin D deficiency. For example, the authors note that a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 applied properly can reduce the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D by 95%–99% (743).

An often neglected factor in vitamin D deficiency is air pollution. Increased ozone and nitrogen dioxide levels (known to compromise several health outcomes) absorbs UV-B radiation. Individuals living in urban areas or other centers with high levels of air pollution are therefore also at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency.

Indoor living must be included on the list of lifestyle factors that cause vitamin D deficiency. Individuals living sedentary lives, mostly indoors and who avoid sun exposure (perhaps because they have been told to stay out of the sun) exhibit lower levels of vitamin D. As an example, institutionalized individuals constitute a well known risk group for deficiency (742).

MUSCULOSKELETAL CONSEQUENCES OF DEFICIENCY

The study authors find that current evidence from biochemical testing, observational studies, and randomized controlled trials suggest that serum 25(OH)D levels of at least 20 ng/mL are necessary for optimal bone and muscle function (with many experts regarding 30 ng/mL as the threshold for optimal bone health) and to minimize the risk of osteomalacia.

The study lists skeletal consequences of 25(OH)D insufficiency as including secondary hyperparathyroidism, increased bone turnover and bone loss, and increased risk of low-trauma fractures (727).

NON-SKELETAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D

The authors note that studies show decreased risk of many disorders, including certain types of cancer, mental disorders, infectious disease, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, as well as autoimmune disorders, associated with serum 25(OH)D levels greater than 28 to 32 ng/mL. They point out that it has been argued therefore that 25(OH)D levels should be in the range of 28–40 ng/mL to maximize nonskeletal benefits.

The authors also report vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of total mortality (735).

Receiving adequate maintenance levels of vitamin D is not difficult, especially when vitamin D3 supplements are readily available, and the fact the sunshine is abundant, at least during the summer months in most locations.

Given the vast health benefits of vitamin D intake, there is every reason for individuals to ensure that they get adequate levels, and therefore at least avoid deficiency. Ideally, everyone should strive for optimal amounts that help create and maintain good health.

EPIGENETICS

The authors report that evidence from hundreds of studies suggests that vitamin D is important for reducing the risk of a variety of chronic illnesses.

Indeed, Vitamin D receptors (VDR) have been identified in most tissues and cells. It has been observed that many genes may be directly or indirectly regulated by 1,25(OH)2D have provided a rationale for the nonskeletal health benefits of vitamin D.

For example, a study in healthy adults who received either 400 or 2000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for three months in winter reported that 291 genes were either up-regulated or down-regulated. That these genes affected as many as 80 different metabolic pathways (from immune modulation to enhanced antioxidant activity) emphasizes the importance of improving the world’s vitamin D status.

The authors find that the scientific observations that 1,25(OH)2D may also influence epigenetics fully supports the idea that there is no downside to increasing the vitamin D status of adults and children (748).

Thus, it has been shown that Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may adversely influence placental development and fetal programming. Also, it is known that Vitamin D deficiency in both parents may influence adverse pregnancy outcomes and susceptibility to developing disease in adult life and even into the next generation.

vitamin d sunshine

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ADEQUATE VITAMIN D3

Drs. Holick and Hossein-nezhad conclude that there is great potential for improving overall health and well-being by increasing serum 25(OH)D levels above 30 ng/mL. They recommend a strategy to prevent vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. They recommend sensible sun exposure, ingesting foods that contain vitamin D, and taking a vitamin D supplement.

SOURCES OF VITAMIN D3

FOODS IMPORTANT, BUT NOT ALWAYS ENOUGH

Foods can be important sources of vitamin D, but there are few food that naturally contain it. Two good sources are wild-caught salmon and UV-exposed mushrooms, as well as cod liver oil.

Yet, the authors note that an analysis of the vitamin D intake of children and adults in the US revealed that they not able to obtain the RDA for vitamin D from any dietary sources (746). Therefore, if you decide to increase your intake of foods containing vitamin D for the purposes of obtaining adequate vitamin D for health, remember that it can be difficult to obtain sufficient vitamin D from foods alone.

The authors do not dissuade individuals from consuming foods high in vitamin D. However, they suggest that combining dietary sources with sensible sun exposure and vitamin D supplements is the most practical means to attain adequate levels of vitamin D.

SENSIBLE SUN EXPOSURE

While foods (and vitamin D supplements) are essential sources of vitamin D, the most obvious source is sun exposure on skin. Individuals vary in the amount of sunshine they require, typically dependent upon skin tone at the time of expsosure. Individuals with fair skin need less time in the sun to generate adequate levels of vitamin D compared to individuals with darker skin.

The authors assert that an adult in a bathing suit exposed to one minimal erythemal dose (slight pinkness to the skin 24 hours after exposure) is the equivalent to taking approximately 20,000 IU (500 mg) of vitamin D orally (745). By this measure, they find that exposure of arms and legs to 0.5 minimal erythemal dose is equivalent to ingesting approximately 3,000 IU of vitamin D3.

Drs. Holick and Hossein-nezhad suggest that in order to produce adequate vitamin D without burning skin, individuals should expose arms and legs (abdomen and back whenever possible) to sunlight two to three times weekly for approximately 25%–50% of the time it would takes to develop a mild sunburn (i.e., the minimal erythemal dose) (745). Thus, if 30 minutes of midday sun in June will cause a mild sunburn, then just 10–15 minutes of exposure should be enough to produce sufficient vitamin D, according to this measure.

NATURAL SUN PROTECTION

if you plan to remain in the sun after the minimum time required to produce enough vitamin D, then they suggest sun protection. This protection can include wearing proper clothing, including a hat and/or long sleeves, and/or moving yourself into partial shade.

Additional options for sun protection include foods and superfoods. Taking chlorella or Rejuvenate! (original greens) protects skin amazingly well from sun exposure (and speeds healing time for sunburns). Natural astaxanthin is comparably effective to chlorella. I take 10 mg daily (as an extract of the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis), but for maximum protection against sun exposure, take 10–20 mg (i.e., use the higher amount if you are lighter-skinned).

When chlorella and/or astaxanthin is combined with foundational supplements, including a multivitamin, vitamin C and/or antioxidant formulas (like Ultimate Protector), and essential fats, then sun protection is far more complete. Indeed, the body’s antioxidant systems will be supported at optimal levels, and therefore can defend against many different types of free-radical damage, including damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light.

A diet naturally high in antioxidants therefore powerfully supports the skin’s capacity to protect itself. This is why chlorella and astaxanthin are so effective. Yet, consuming more leafy greens, carrots (and other vegetables with carotenoids), as well as red, purple, and other dark vegetables and fruits is a good idea for helping protect skin health, offers natural sun protection, and provides extra free-radical defense.

AVOID TOXIC COMMERCIAL SUNSCREENS

I do not recommend any commercial sunscreens due to the toxic ingredients many contain. However, you might experiment using natural oils with SPF. Carrot oil has an SPF of 38–40. Wheatgerm oil offers an SPF of 20. Even avocado oil has an SPF of 4–15. Coconut and olive oils both offer an SPF of 2–8.

As noted, it is important to consider using natural sunscreens only after the minimum time required to produce adequate vitamin D in the body. In any case, the by-word is “sensible” because staying in the sun beyond the minimum daily time required to produce enough vitamin D is not recommended (unless you protect your skin, e.g., using clothing or natural sun protective substances).

natural oils with spf sunscreens

VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS

The authors find that vitamin D can be administered daily, weekly, monthly, or every four months to sustain an adequate serum 25(OH)D concentration (746). When taken less often, they recommend significantly higher amounts. They also indicate that for every 100 IU of vitamin D ingested, the blood level of 25(OH)D increases by approximately 0.6 to 1 ng/mL.

I recommend healthy adults take 5,000 IU daily (or several times per week) in the winter. An ideal formula is HPDI’s Vitamin D3 Plus formula, which also provides vitamin A and vitamin K2, which are needed for optimal assimilation and utilization of Vitamin D3.

In the spring and fall, you may be able to reduce your supplemental vitamin D dosage depending on the amount of sun exposure you receive and your dietary intake of vitamin D. In the summer, you may not require any supplemental vitamin D3, if you get sufficient safe sun exposure on a regular basis.

Children require a smaller amount of vitamin D supplementation. The authors recommend 600 IU–1,000 IU per day for kids. This can be accomplished by giving them 1 or 2 small Vitamin D3 Plus softgels weekly.

vitamin d3 plus doctor hank liers original

VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS VERY SAFE AT RECOMMENDED LEVELS

Drs. Holick and Hossein-nezhad emphasize the safety of vitamin D even at very high doses, but also remain clear that exceedingly high doses should be avoided. For example, they state that to prevent deficiency in adults, administration of 50,000 IU every two weeks is effective (746).

While 50,000 IU is large single dose, even larger doses of vitamin D (e.g., up to 300,000 IU administered as a bolus) safely have been used initially to reverse extreme deficiency status. Repeated high doses in bolus form have been used in six to twelve month intervals. Nevertheless, they assert that “a steady-state serum 25(OH)D concentration is likely to be maintained by more frequent, lower doses of vitamin D” (746).

GROUPS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS FOR VITAMIN D3

PREGNANT & LACTATING WOMEN REQUIRE MORE VITAMIN D3

Certain groups of individuals require greater amounts of vitamin D. Pregnant and lactating women have higher needs. Human breast milk contains very little vitamin D. Studies show that lactating women must take 4,000–6,000 IU daily to ensure that adequate vitamin D transfers into breast milk to satisfy an infant’s requirements (746).

OBESE INDIVIDUALS

Obese individuals require 2–5 times more vitamin D to treat and prevent vitamin D deficiency because fat can sequester vitamin D (747). This applies to adults and children. Given the dramatic rise in obesity rates in the US and the world, it is little wonder that vitamin D deficiency has become so widespread.

The trend in recent years to avoid sun exposure because of fears of skin damage does not serve the obese population. Sensible sun exposure along with improved diet and use of vitamin D supplements can reverse deficiency among the obese.

While obese persons ideally would focus on losing some weight in order to maximize their long-term health, it is imperative in the immediate term that they obtain sufficient amounts of vitamin D. This would help them avoid deficiency and remain healthy until they are no longer obese, and therefore can gain the benefits of vitamin D without having to obtain significantly higher amounts from diet, sunshine, and/or supplements.

THE ELDERLY

The study authors also point out that the elderly population is at higher risk for clinical complications related to low 25(OH) D levels. With increasing age, the cutaneous production of vitamin D after exposure to solar UV-B radiation decreases due to atrophic skin changes, with a reduced amount of the vitamin D precursor 7-DHC (743).

For example, a comparison of the amount of previtamin D3 produced in skin from individuals aged eight to eighteen with the amounts produced in skin from individuals aged 77–82 reveals that aging can decrease skin’s capacity to produce previtamin D3 by more than two-fold (743). This means that sun exposure ultimately provides less vitamin D for older people.

It would appear that dietary adjustments to include more foods providing vitamin D is important for the elderly. However, vitamin D supplements are probably the most effective means for elderly individuals to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D.

CONCLUSION: VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENTS IMPORTANT

In sum, vitamin D supplementation, preferably with vitamin D3 (and supporting nutrients like vitamin K2 and vitamin A), offers an important means for healthy adults and children to obtain sufficient vitamin D year-round. This is particularly the case in winter and in northern latitudes, where no amount of sunshine on skin can generate enough vitamin D to meet daily requirements.

For at risk individuals, including pregnant and lactating women, the obese, and the elderly, vitamin D supplements (as well as foods rich in vitamin D and sensible sun exposure) can help sustain optimal vitamin D levels, and prevent or reverse deficiency.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Article Abstract (mayoclinicproceedings.org)

“Vitamin D for Health: A Global Perspective” (full text .pdf)

HPDI Product Pages

VITAMIN D3 PLUS (HPDI website)

Vitamin D3 Plus Brochure (.pdf 1.3m)

Article Abstracts
Vitamin D Abstracts (HPDI website)

Articles from the HPDI Blog
Vitamin D3 – “SUPERSTAR”!