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Protect Your Heart with Vitamin D
Do you get enough vitamin D? A deficiency in vitamin D3 has been linked to a host of health concerns, including sadness, fatigue, obesity, blood sugar issues, joint concerns, unhealthy cell replication, poor circulation, and decreased heart health.1-11
Almost half the American population is deficient in vitamin D3, which is defined as levels below 30ng/mL. Many experts believe optimal vitamin D levels should be between 50-80 ng/mL, which would make many more deficient in this vitamin.1,2
Vitamin D Deficiency + Your Heart
The health of the heart and circulatory system depends primarily on the health of the inner lining of the arterial wall, called the endothelium. Endothelial function is dependent on a closely regulated balance between two compounds: nitric oxide and peroxynitrite. Nitric oxide, whose discovery won the Nobel prize in 1998, is in charge of protecting the endothelium, while peroxynitrite damages it.3
Nitric oxide (NO) acts as a critical signaling molecule supports restoration and repair throughout the body, but most notably, the endothelial lining of the arteries. When NO comes in contact with another molecule called superoxide, it morphs into an arterial-damaging molecule called peroxynitrite.5
Superoxide is an oxygen molecule lacking an electron. With a missing electron, it becomes a potent free radical that can undo the repair work of NO. Luckily, an enzyme called superoxide dismutase keeps superoxide levels at bay.4,5
Vitamin D Reduces Superoxide + Peroxynitrite6-9
In one study, where 82% of type 2 diabetics and 75% of healthy volunteers were either vitamin D deficient or insufficient, vitamin D boosted superoxide dismutatse (superoxide neutralizing enzyme) and glutathione (antioxidant) levels, suggesting vitamin D supports healthy blood sugar levels and antioxidant activity.6
Vitamin D has been shown in study after study to be a powerful nitric oxide regulator. When vitamin D levels are found to be deficient or insufficient, nitric oxide levels also plummet—particularly in the endothelium lining. This is how low vitamin D levels lead to increased cardiovascular risk.7,8 In another study, vitamin D was shown to significantly increase NO levels, while decreasing endothelial-damaging peroxynitrite..9
Vitamin D + Arterial Stiffness
As a natural part of aging, arteries can become more stiff, rigid, and less flexible, which increases the risk of a host of heart- and circulatory-related concerns.
As vitamin D3 levels become deficient or insufficient, protective NO levels decrease, while damaging peroxynitrite levels increase. Numerous studies show vitamin D3 supplementation can help restore the natural elasticity and suppleness of the arterial walls, potentially reducing risk of unnecessary age-related arterial stiffness.
Increasing NO levels may not be the only mechanism by which vitamin D levels support a healthy cardiovascular system. Studies also link positive cardiovascular epigenetic and genetic changes with optimal vitamin D levels.9-11
We recommend "Astonishing Mind-Body Benefits of Vitamin D"
Getting Optimal Vitamin D Year-Round
Indigenous people got ample vitamin D from the sun in the summer and from organ meats and fish during the colder winter months. Today, most people work in office buildings and in the name of health, consume less meat and little-to-no organ meats. To attain optimal vitamin D3 levels, most need supplementation in the winter and ample sunlight exposure in the summer.
I have found the most clinically effective source of vitamin D3 that is the most easily absorbed and inexpensive is a sheep lanolin-based vitamin D, which comes from the vitamin D-rich oil from the wool of sheep. I recommend LifeSpa’s Liquid Sun (1 drop = 1000 IU). Take 4-5 drops per day from November to May and 1-2 drops per day from June through October. To ensure this dosing schedule is optimal for you, have your vitamin D levels checked at least once a year.
Are you getting enough vitamin D?