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I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’ll tell you straight up…
A whopping one billion people worldwide are living with vitamin D deficiency, that’s why.
It’s an issue that experts are now calling a “global health problem” thanks to the increased dangers this deficiency causes.
Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to an inadequate immune system, a fact that’s been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with studies revealing that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who had sufficient levels of vitamin D had fewer adverse clinical outcomes such as low blood levels, periods of unconsciousness, hypoxia and death.
So if vitamin D is so important, why do so many of us have levels that are in the toilet?
Modern-day living leads to modern-day problems
The answer can be found in the vitamin’s nickname.
You see, vitamin D is also known as “the sunshine vitamin” because your body naturally makes it when you’re exposed to the UV rays from the sun.
However, with more and more of us spending the majority of our lives indoors and only rarely seeing the sun, it’s easy to see why levels of vitamin D have gone down dramatically. Not to mention the fact that as we get older, the process by which sunlight converts vitamin D3 through our skin becomes much less efficient.
In Europe, forty percent of the population has vitamin D insufficiency. Reputable sources believe the percentage of insufficiency in the U.S. is about the same, with some groups, namely seniors — due to that conversion problem I mentioned — having higher levels of deficiency.
Gene editing to increase D levels
And that’s where new work from a team of scientists at the John Innes Centre comes in…
These researchers not only set out to find an easy way for people worldwide to get the vitamin D they need to stay healthy, they found it in the lowly little tomato plant!
Yup, you read that right. The answer to the global vitamin D crisis could be tomatoes.
While tomatoes naturally contain one of the building blocks of vitamin D3, called provitamin D3 or 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC), in their leaves at very low levels, the vitamin itself doesn’t normally accumulate in ripe tomato fruits.
This means that the everyday tomato you pick up in the grocery store isn’t going to help boost your levels.
So the scientists decided to change one little thing.
They used gene editing to turn off a specific molecule in the plant’s genome and bingo…
Provitamin D3 increased in both the plant’s leaves and its fruit.
And once that building block was exposed to UV light, vitamin D was born!
In other words, with these little beauties, all you have to do is enjoy a tasty tomato to get your D levels into the green zone.
They’re calling these gene-edited tomatoes “a simple and sustainable innovation to address a global health problem.”
Boosting your vitamin D
Of course, as great as this innovation is, those vitamin D-rich tomatoes aren’t available in your local grocery store just yet.
So my question is, since vitamin D is vital to your health, why wait?
Luckily, here in the states, there are many ways to raise your D levels available to you right now.
To increase your vitamin D and combat deficiency:
- Take magnesium, which helps metabolize vitamin D and keep it at just the right level
- Spend more time outdoors, especially in the bright morning light
- Eat vitamin D-rich foods, like cold-water fish, shitake mushrooms and eggs.
However, supplementing is probably the best way to raise your levels and keep them there. Your doctor can test your levels and even offer a prescription. But many just advise a supplement that provides upwards of 4000 IU daily.
When choosing a supplement, look for vitamin D3. You can read here about why the scientific community has recognized that vitamin D3 is not only superior to D2 but has proven effects on your health. They can’t say the same for D2, which unfortunately is the D you’ll find in fortified foods.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
Gene-edited tomatoes could be a new source of vitamin D – ScienceDaily
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency among US adults: prevalence, predictors and clinical implications – The British Journal of Nutrition