Some reports suggest nearly half the world’s population suffers from vitamin D deficiency, which is unsettling news given that a lack of vitamin D has been associated with a host of serious conditions: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis and even depression, not to mention brittle bones and the common cold.
“It’s a long list because the vitamin D steroid hormone affects different genes in different tissues,” says John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council and author of “Autism Causes, Prevention and Treatment: Vitamin D Deficiency and the Explosive Rise of Autism Spectrum Disorder.”
“Vitamin D is a steroid hormone precursor that is made in the skin,” Cannell explains. “The vitamin D steroid hormone activates up to 1,000 of the 21,000 active genes in the human genome. If the gene is in the brain, vitamin D affects the brain. If the gene is in the heart, vitamin D affects the heart. Thirty-seven different tissues in the human body utilize vitamin D and need it for adequate functioning.”
Given the importance of vitamin D to the body, a growing number of studies highlight what an insufficient amount can mean to one’s health.
In a study published Wednesday in BMJ, researchers tracked the blood samples of more than 95,000 participants for nearly 40 years and found that genes associated with permanent low levels of vitamin D raised the risk of early death. Throughout the study period, people with these genes had an increased mortality rate of 30 percent and a 40 percent higher risk of death from cancer.
The Days are shorter so it is important to consider the amount of Vitamin D you are getting.