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Diet & Health : Nutrition Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Vitamin D prevents disease and premature death
By David Liu Ph.D.
Dec 10, 2008 - 3:30:17 PM

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Wednesday Dec 10, 2008 ( -- Taking vitamin D - cholecalcoferol - supplements reduces all-cause mortality, Drs John Cannell and Hollis B W from Vitamin D Council say in a report.


The report published in the March 2008 issue of Alternative Medicine Reviews says that the reduction in death risk by taking vitamin D was demonstrated in 18 randomized controlled trials.


Dr. Cannell says vitamin D is metabolized to form a potent seco-steroid hormone that targets more than 200 human genes in a wide variety of tissues including the gene responsible for cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad spectrum antibiotic.


Vitamin D - induced antibiotic is important for immune responses against bacteria and viruses.   Flu hits people with vitamin D deficiency which is common in the winter and people who are not often exposed to the sun.   Without sufficient vitamin D, the body does not produce enough endogenous antibiotic to fight against viruses including seasonal flu viruses.


Dr. Cannell says in his report that natural vitamin D levels in people living in a sun-rich environment are between 40 and 70 ng/mL.   To maintain such levels, 2,000 to 7000 IU vitamin D per day is needed.


For those who have serious illness associated with vitamin D deficiency such as cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, autism and others, vitamin D levels need to be maintained between 55 and 70 ng per mL, according to Dr. Cannell.


Vitamin D can be used not only to prevent but also to treat many respiratory infections including influenza, the common cold and others.   2,000 IU per kg of body weight per day for three days may produce enough of the naturally occurring antibiotic cathelicidin to cure these infections.


Dr. Cannell suggests though that for those who have serious diseases, high doses of vitamin D as an adjuvant treatment need to be used and vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D) and serum calcium need to be monitored.

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