(There are several things I still need to add to this post. For now, I'm putting it up because I believe it is extremely important for you to know the basics of this topic. Read on and make sure to come back in the future if you want to know more about this topic).
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What is one thing that cancer, CORONAVIRUS, and influenza have all in common?
Answer: They're all linked with vitamin D deficiency.
Oh, wait, I almost forgot... You can also add these diseases to the list that are also linked to vitamin D deficiency: Heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression/anxiety, erectile dysfunction, influenza, schizophrenia, dementia... and on and on.
And there is more... A lot more.
As a matter of fact, you can add almost every common major disease to the list.
What makes me say such a bold claim?
For one, almost every cell in your body needs and wants vitamin D.
When cells have the appropriate amount of vitamin D, they function much better.
And not just a little better. A LOT BETTER.
For example, immune cells that fight viruses, bacteria, fungi, and so on, do so better when they have more vitamin D.
Cells in the pancreas use vitamin D to better secrete (produce) and regulate insulin levels (to control blood sugar), which is good for people with diabetes (and even people without diabetes).
And in the muscle cells (specifically in the nucleus), vitamin D helps with the ability to contract and relax the muscle.
A muscle’s ability to contract is essential to its strength and response to outside forces. Vitamin D, then, makes muscles stronger in a very direct way. This should be interesting for those who want to build more strength when exercising.
I'm not done yet...
Many organs in your body require vitamin D to function optimally.
The bone marrow, breast, colon, intestine, pancreas, muscles, kidneys, lungs, prostate, retina, skin, stomach and the uterus, and on and on.
As a matter of fact, at least 36 organs have been linked to using vitamin D to function better.
Think about the significance of what I just said.
Without vitamin D, optimal health is just impossible.
Why vitamin D though?
What about all the other vitamins? (like A, C, K, and so on). Aren't they important too?
All vitamins are important.
The thing with vitamin D though is so many people all over the world are deficient in this critical vitamin.
(And you can't get it through diet so easily... I'll show you the best ways to get it later on...)
So much so that it's now considered a pandemic (yeah, like the coronavirus).
That is a vitamin pandemic.
About 1 billion people (1 in 7-8) are vitamin D deficient. And about half of the world is vitamin D insufficient (not enough. but not so low to be considered deficient).
If you live in the United States like me, almost half of the population is vitamin D deficient. That's almost 1 in 2 people!
What does vitamin D deficiency mean?
It means that vitamin D levels are so low, that you're pretty much-inviting disease over sooner or later.
(I'm sure you don't want to open the door to disease, do you?)
How come this is so?
You've probably already know we get our vitamin D from the sun (that's why it's called the "sunshine vitamin").
Sunlight is the primary source of how we get our vitamin D.
Our bodies convert ultraviolet sun radiation (UV rays) into vitamin D our bodies and most of its cells can use.
Despite many people knowing that fact, there is still not enough people are going out to get some sunlight.
(You can blame Netflix, call of duty, and Youtube for that).
So should we all just go put and step into the sunlight more often to get our daily dose of vitamin D?
That's a good start, but it's not quite that simple.
To get enough vitamin D, I need to show you how the distance of the sun to the earth, the location of where you live, your skin tone, and a few other things, determine how much vitamin D you get from sunlight.
I know it seems a little complicated... Or maybe a lot complicated.
But I promise to make it as sweet and simple as possible.
Before I do so, I need to tell you more about the importance of this vitamin and the consequences of being deficient in it.
One more thing before going to the next section though.
Another reason why you should care about vitamin D is that it's an "essential vitamin".
That means your body can't produce it on it's own.
If you don't go and get it, your cells are not gonna have any of it.
You have to make the effort to get it yourself either through diet, the sun, or supplements.
Deficiency of an essential vitamin should not be taken as a minor problem.
Being deficient in an essential vitamin is like being deficient in oil for your car. If you don't get enough oil for your car, it's bound to break down.
It's a drastic way of looking at things, but sometimes you need a lil fear to make sure you do the right thing.
(There will be more added to this section in the future).
I'm about scare you even more.
But this is a good scare because it's for the best of you.
I'm gonna tell you about a few diseases that are linked to low levels of vitamin D.
Linked meaning vitamin D deficiency is a huge factor, not the cause of it.
So don't start taking a ton of vitamin D and think it's gonna cure you.
First I'm gonna talk a lil about some of the diseases that have been majorly directly linked to vitamin D deficiency.
Here comes the first one.
I'm sure you probably know you need calcium to make sure your bones get and stay strong and healthy.
But did you also know low levels of vitamin D are linked to weak bones and diseases like osteoporosis (weak bones to the point where they can fracture)?
As you can see, you need vitamin D to make sure your bones stay healthy and strong.
This is especially true for elders who are very prone to being deficient in vitamin D and more likely to have weaker bones (for obvious age-related reasons).
So make sure grandpa/grandma, and even mother and father, and any older person you know is getting their vitamin D.
I made a special subsection just for this one.
I believe vitamin D deficiency is huge factor when it comes to coronavirus mortality rates.
But don't take my word for it.
The press and blogs have come out with the news or teaching saying that vitamin D is linked to lower death rates when it comes to people infected with the coronavirus.
Can this be true?
Well, if you read the previous sections of this post or understand how vitamin D affects your health, you can see how vitamin D is crucial to almost every aspect of your body and health.
That's' including your awesome immune system.
But there is something about how vitamin D works with the immune system to fight respiratory diseases like COIVD-19 that I think will interest you.
If you've been keeping up on how COVID works, you've read/heard that it makes your own immune system attack your own body or self.
This is what they refer to as a cytokine storm.
To put it simply, a cytokine storm is when your immune system goes crazy and sends a bunch of its fighters (interferon, interleukin, and monokines to be more specific) to whre the battle is taking place (like your lungs).
The overwhelming number of fighters then start unleashing their defenses and destroying everything around the area.
Around the area includes your the tissue of your organs.
That's why people's lungs, heart, kidneys, and so on show signs of damage when severely being attacked by this virus.
This storm of fighters is what really causes people to be severely damaged by the virus.
The virus does do some damage.
But most of the damage is being done by your own immune system.
Why does your immune system respond this way?
There can be a few reasons. One of the major ones is that the virus is new to your body and your immune system perceives it as a huge threat.
Even if your immune system is strong, it might still go into "crazy mode" (cytokine storm) because it never encountered this virus before.
Usually, though, a strong immune system quickly is able to shut down the virus and then "turn itself off".
But for some people though, sometimes the immune system does not shut itself off causes more damage to be done than necessary.
Also, if your immune system is not very strong, it overreacts to the virus by overproducing fighters because it feels like the virus might overcome it if it doesn't unleash its full force. (Crazy how the immune system has a mind of its own).
This is the major reason people die from the coronavirus. Not because the virus itself overwhelmed you, but because your immune system overwhelmed you.
This is also the case for other infectious diseases like influenza, smallpox, ebola, and so on.
If you want to learn more about coronavirus and cytokine storm you should check this link out and jump to the cytokine storm section. (You should read the entire article if you're interesting in learning more about the corona virus and how to deal with it): More than Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the New Coronavirus by Jon Barron.
Before I continue in this part, just know that I am no doctor and you have the power to choose whether you want to believe in this or not.
Vitamin D helps your immune system in two major ways when it comes to combating COVID-19.
First, it helps your immune system stay strong and fight against pathogens like viruses (coronaviruses), bacteria, fungi, and any other microbes.
Second, it makes helps make sure your immune system doesn't go crazy and wants to keep destroying everything it see's on the battlefield.
In other words, it keeps it from attacking your own body.
(I'm trying to keep this as simple as possible for you. If you want to learn more about how vitamin D works in the immune system, check this link out: Vitamin D and the Immune System).
It's also good to know that Vitamin D does not only help regulate immune system function with COVID-19.
Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system function in many other diseases as well.
Here are a few: Multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), diabetes mellitus (DM), inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and more.
If you're a nerd or are hungry for knowledge, you can learn more here about vitamin D and how it deals with autoimmune diseases: The Implication of Vitamin D and Autoimmunity: a Comprehensive Review.
COVID-19 is a disease that affects your lungs and respiratory health.
Some of these diseases include asthma, tuberculosis, influenza, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Cystic fibrosis, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)...
It seems like vitamin D is able to help the immune system detect respiratory pathogens (viruses, bacteria, etc). And vitamin is also able to reduce inflammation in the lungs(probably because it helps make sure your immune system does not attack your own body).
Another big reason to consider vitamin D to combat COVID-19.
If you look at the news, you see that COVID-19 mortality rates are higher amounts of Latinos and Blacks.
Latinos and Blacks (and other cultures with darker skin tone) are also more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
(That's because darker skin tones take a longer time to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from the sun. Compound (combine) with the fact that most people aren't getting enough sun to begin with... That's a huge problem).
Check out the link here: COVID-19 mortality rates by race.
Is there some possible connection here?
I understand correlation does not mean causation.
Lower levels of vitamin D in race is not the only factor to consider when linking it to COVID-19 or any other disease.
But I believe this is a huge factor you should be aware of.
Ahhh, you already probably know what I'm about to say.
In fact, they're the group more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
When we get older, our skin ability to turn sunlight into vitamin D lessens.
Our ability to absorb nutrients from food also lessens when we get older.
Older people are also more likely to stay indoors (like in a convalescent) and not go out to get some sun.
I don't want to say vitamin D deficiency is the cause of so many unfortunate events.
But it's something I want you to be aware of.
Make sure you, grandpa and grandma, father and mother, and any other older adults get their vitamin D. (check out the last section of this post).
The sun is the major source of vitamin D.
That's the way nature has designed it.
But did you know we humans are not the only ones who need vitamin D from the sun.
A lot of other animals (including your pet) and plants turn sunlight into vitamin D of some form.
(Note: Think about how important this vitamin must be that pretty much all animals (except for nocturnal ones) and plants need vitamin D of some form).
The sun doesn't really contain vitamin D though.
What happens is that your skin absorbs sunlight ( ultraviolet radiation(UVB) ), and then your body goes through a complex process to convert that sunlight radiation into vitamin D.
Now, if we get vitamin D from the sun, which is almost always available to almost everyone around the world, then why are people low in vitamin D?
Is it because of how modern society is built today, a lot of people have stopped going out to get their sunshine?
That's a huge part of it.
The answer is more complicated than you might think though...
How much sunlight did you get today?
Seriously think about the question in above.
Depending on what source you believe, the daily recommended time you should be out in the sun is about 5-10 minutes each day to get enough vitamin D.
That sounds pretty simple and do-able. Right?
(Get ready for a mouthful of if's).
But that's only if you live close to the equator (center of the earth).
And if you are white or have fairly light skin (If you're black you have to pretty much double the time).
And if the season is summer.
And if you're fairly young (the older you are, the less vitamin D you produce).
And if you're not overweight.
It also has to be in the middle of the day, when the sun is strongest.
Sunscreen is not allowed by the way (sunscreen blocks 95% of UV rays which are required to produce vitamin D in your body).
There has to be no pollution and you have to be wearing a t-shirt and some shorts.
O yeah, I almost forgot.
You have to be dodging clouds to make sure they are not hogging all the sunshine.
I know you're probably thinking this is all ridiculous.
You see, the amount of vitamin D you produce depends on how much sunlight radiation (UV rays) hits your body and how much of those UV rays your body is able to convert into vitamin D.
The center of the earth (the equator) is the part that gets hit by the most sun rays.
The closer you're to the equator, the more sunrays hit your body. The further you are from the equator, the less sun rays reach your location, thus the fewer sun rays hit your body.
If you're darker, your skin blocks out more sunlight UV rays. That's because your skin has adapted to make sure it doesn't get harmed by too much sun exposure.
I'm sure you're probably wondering at this point about why it feels so darn complicated to get vitamin D...
The thing is that it was never so complicated to get such an essential vitamin (or any other nutrients) like vitamin D. That's until our lifestyles as a human species changed.
See, back in the days when we were cavemen we didn't have to be worrying about how much vitamin D we got every day.
That's because we got more than enough sunshine every day.
First of all (at least in the beginning), we lived very near the equator.
And even if we didn't live bear the equator, we spent enough time outside under the sun that it wouldn't even matter.
We traveled under the sun, we hunted under the sun, and we played under the sun (not literally ok).
We were also almost completely naked (for some tribes, they only used a few leaves to cover what's down there if you know what I'm talking about).
And there was no sunscreen.
Today though it's the total opposite.
We live all over the world, in places far from the equator (Did you know people in Alaska or northern Canada have a higher risk of diseases that are very linked to vitamin D deficiency like depression and rickets?).
And if we do live close to the equator, a lot of us still don't go out to get enough sun.
I've heard some people say they literally don't see the sun at all sometimes. And no those people weren't from somewhere like Alaska. They were from sunny beach California. (Now I'm starting to wonder if they are vampires).
And then there are some people that are like half vampires. They will try to avoid the sun as much as possible. And if they have to touch the sun, they have to wear sunscreen.
No wonder here in the United States there are high rates of vitamin D deficiency.
Some people are concerned about going out to the sun because of skin cancer.
And I can understand that.
There are a lot of studies proclaiming how skin cancer has risen and the sun is blamed for it.
I'm not going to argue that the sun does not cause skin cancer (it definitely does!).
But I don't think staying away from the sun all the time and always wearing sunscreen is the way to go.
The only way we can produce vitamin D (including every other living thing) is through the sun.
And even if we got vitamin D through our diet (like salmon or egg yolks), the stuff we eat would also have to get it's vitamin D through the sun.
Here, in this situation, I can only recommend using your common sense.
Our skin has a certain amount of protection from the sun.
(Or else our ancestors would have had BIG trouble avoiding skin cancer!)
People who are darker have more protection from the sun, but they will also have to stay longer periods of time in the sun to get enough vitamin D.
If your skin is getting irritated after a period of time in the sun then that means to get the hell out.
If you can't stay out in the sun for too long, then I recommend you supplement with vitamin D because it's super important.
In the last section of this post, I talk about how much sunlight you should get if you want to get your daily requirements of vitamin D.
You can jump to it by clicking this link if you like: How To Get The Right Amount Of Vitamin D and Reduce Your Risk Of Disease (Including COVID-19)
What season are people more likely to get sick from infectious diseases like the influenza and now the new coronavirus?
And what vitamin do you think people are extremely low on during that same season?
If you answered winter and then vitamin D, then you're spot on (correct).
During the winters, vitamin D levels drop waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay low in the general population.
(I'm sure you know the reason that is by this point).
At the same time during the winter, the common cold and influenza go way up.
But is vitamin D deficiency to blame?
How much is the right amount of vitamin D?
How do you even measure the amount if vitamin D you should take?
First it's good to know who are the people at high risk of vitamin D deficiency and what are some of the symptoms of having vitamin D deficiency.
Remember that correlation does not necessarily mean causation.
In other words: vitamin D deficiency shouldn't be considered the only factor in your problems.
In other words again: Vitamin D is not a magic cure-all nutrient.
Here is a list of vitamin D deficiency symptoms you should be aware of:
To learn more, you should check out this link: 8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
The recommended daily amount of vitamin D you should take is 400–800 IU, or 10–20 micrograms, according to the US Institute of Medicine.
( Note: IU stands for international unit. It's basically a way to measure stuff like vitamins and the measurement is accepted and used anywhere around the world (or who ever wishes to use and accept the measurement). If you see a supplement measured in micrograms(mc or mcg) or anything else, just know there are tools online that can convert micrograms to IU's and vice versa (the reverse). ).
I suggest the older you are, or the darker you are, and/or the less sunshine you get, the more vitamin D you should supplement.
Getting enough sunlight is the cheapest and most accessible way to get vitamin D.
(Note: It might not be cheap if your time is expensive. And it might not even be accessible if you work all-day indoors. Supplementation and diet are gonna be your solution).
Calculating how much IU you're getting from the sun is very tricky.
You can get up to 1,000 IU from the sun in like 5-10 minutes.
That's a lot more than the minimum requirement of IU you need (400-800) and about half of the optimal amount that I recommend (1,000-2,000 IU and up to 4,000 IU).
But you only get 1,000 IU if the conditions are right.
And there are soooooooo many conditions that it gets quite complicated.
But if you're up for the challenge and want to make sure you get your vitamin D every day, then I suggest you check this link out. It's the best guide I've seen on how to get enough sunshine: vitamindwiki.
By the way. Having sunscreen blocks the effects of converting sunlight into vitamin D. So make sure you put on sunscreen AFTER you get your daily dose of vitamin D sunshine.
(My recommendations does not mean it's the best way to do something).
I'm just sharing what I do and it's up to you to see if what I say or part of what I say makes sense for you to do.
There are not many choices when it comes to getting vitamin D through diet. That's why the sun is a very important aspect of health.
(Some of these foods can be quite expensive for some too).
The best source of vitamin D is probably from fatty fish like salmon and liver of various animals (especially COD liver). Egg yolks also contain a lot of vitamin D.
By the way, vitamin D lasts about a month in the body after you consume some through the sun, supplements, or diet.
Doing all three regurlarly and consistently helps raise your vitamin D levels to an optimal amount.
Hopefully you understand vitamin D is not a cure-all nutrient.
I know you're very smart and you're not gonna go to the store and buy a ton of vitamin D to take every day.
I know you're not gonna chug vitamin D in hopes of curing or preventing any problem you might have or are at risk for.
And I know you're not gonna come back and blame me for saying vitamin D is the cure to all diseases.
Vitamin D is just one factor in the entire equation of attaining good health. It's a major factor, but not the only one.
You shouldn't be taking excessive amounts of vitamin D for unnecessary reasons.
I suggest you don't go over 4,000 IU (100 mcg) per day.
Some people have done something called vitamin D therapy where they start taking 10,000 IU up to 1000,000 IU a day (and some people even go beyond that!) for several months.
This is obviously ridiculous.
What happens when you take too much vitamin D is that your body starts absorbing way too much calcium.
Something called "hypercalcemia".
And when you have too much calcium in your blood, your organs can start messing up big time.
If you don't go past the recommended amount of vitamin D (1,000-2,000-4,000), you shouldn't worry about this.
This post was long but worth it (if you really take it to heart and action!).
Hopefully, you learned something from this post. If you did, please make sure to share it. It might really help someone out. And you never know, you might change their entire life in some way by doing so.
And always remember, learning is everything!
In the next upcoming post, I'm gonna talk about another nutrient (a hormone technically) that helps you go to sleep.
Can you guess what it is?
We produce it mostly at night when all the lights are turned off.
Children produce a lot of it, and older people start losing the ability to produce it.
It is an extremely powerful antioxidant that tremendously helps out the immune system.
And guess what?
This nutrient is yet another step forward to overcoming COVID-19 and immune-related diseases (like cancer).
Do you know what nutrient I'm talking about?
Check it out here: This link will turn gold when the post is posted. Hmmm... I wonder if that's the reason people call blog articles posts? Because once they are ready you post them up? But instead of posting them to a wall, you post them on to the internet?
The End.... (I know you miss me already, but don't worry. I shall return soon...)