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Vitamin D deficiency is at the root of too many health epidemics to count…
Dementia, cancer, heart disease, mental illness — they’ve all been linked to low levels of vitamin D. So, is it any wonder that another rampant health problem could be caused by a lack of this critical vitamin?
The condition is metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X). And it’s a problem for more than three million people in the U.S. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have at least three of the following risk factors:
- A large waistline
- High triglyceride levels
- Low HDL (good) cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure
- High fasting blood sugar
And, if you’re unfortunate enough to have three or more of these risk factors, your health is in real danger. That’s because people with metabolic syndrome are at a much higher risk for serious health problems like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
That’s the bad news. But here’s the good news….
There could be a simple solution to your problem. In fact, the cure for your metabolic woes could be as simple as getting a little more sun every day or taking a vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D, gut health and metabolic syndrome
Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Sichuan University in China found that vitamin D deficiency sets off a chain reaction that leads to metabolic syndrome in mice. And they think it probably occurs in people too. Here’s what happens…
It all starts with a poor diet, which messes with the balance of bacteria in your gut. Once your gut is out-of-whack, not getting enough vitamin D aggravates your intestinal balance even more. That’s because vitamin D helps your body make defensins, an internal antibiotic that keeps bad bacteria in check. And as your gut health gets worse and worse, it starts to affect other parts of your body (your liver, your blood sugar levels, etc.), until eventually, you end up with full-blown metabolic syndrome.
So, what’s the best way to optimize your vitamin D intake so that metabolic syndrome can’t take hold in your body?
Well, the first step is to get a blood test that checks your vitamin D levels. The test is called the 25(OH)D blood test, and you can go to the doctor’s office to get blood drawn or buy the test online and mail your blood sample into a lab.
If you get your results back and your vitamin D levels are under 35ng/ml, Dr. Michael Cutler recommends taking a few specific actions:
- Eating more foods that contain D3, like cold water fish, dairy products, eggs and mushrooms.
- Getting 20 minutes of sunshine daily, without sunscreen (except for a paraben-free sunscreen on your face).
- Taking 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day or 5,000 IU twice per week.
If you want to read more about why vitamin D is necessary to defeat most disease (including metabolic syndrome), check out Dr. Cutler’s post, The vitamin D link to defeating disease.
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“5 Illnesses Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency.” Everyday Health. http://www.everydayhealth.com. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
“What Is Metabolic Syndrome?” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
Su, et al. “Vitamin D Signaling through Induction of Paneth Cell Defensins Maintains Gut Microbiota and Improves Metabolic Disorders and Hepatic Steatosis in Animal Models.” Frontiers in Physiology, 2016.