By: Michael Clark, MBA, PhD, FAARFM, ABAAHP. Director of Education & Research, Natural Bio Health Bioidentical Hormones, Medical Weight Loss & Functional Medicine Clinics.

D3 is a hormone (and fortunately not a patented drug)

Research reported in the August, 2012 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism “demonstrated a declining risk of death from all causes in association with increasing serum levels of vitamin D.” The research found “vitamin D to be inversely associated with all-cause mortality, with a significant dose-response effect. Subjects with serum 25(OH)D levels less than 50 nmol/liter are particularly at increased risk for mortality.”

How many of us know that Vitamin D3 is a hormone. If it were a patented drug, pharmaceutical companies would be spending millions of dollars advertising its’ amazing benefits. Experts who get paid by the pharmaceutical companies would be on the talk show circuit talking about the reduction in the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and many other diseases. Fortunately, it cannot be patented (yet anyway).

The US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, in the year 2005, called Vitamin D to be “A Hormone for All Seasons.” Clin Biochem Rev. 2005 February; 26(1): 21–32.  The cited article stated “the recognition of the contribution of vitamin D depletion to increased risk of osteoporosis, and most importantly the risk of hip fracture in the elderly, has increased the clinical significance of clinical laboratory testing for vitamin D status.”

This was in the year 2005 and Natural Bio Health was already recommending D3 for all clients, starting in the Austin, Texas office and subsequently all Texas clinics in San Antonio, College Station and Odessa. Natural Bio Health has long recognized the role played by D3 in reducing the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and osteoporosis and osteopenia. We have prescribed D3 as part of our natural hormone therapy like we prescribe testosterone, thyroid hormone, estradiol, DHEA and progesterone when appropriate.

D3 is plays a significant role in our Medical Weight Loss programs and our diabetes prevention and treatment programs. It is recommended for all women as part of their breast cancer prevention program and for men for their prostate health and prostate cancer prevention program. The Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) has for several years advised all A4M physicians to test and recommend D3 for a myriad of reasons.

Testing shows that the vast majority of men, women and children have low levels of D3.

Vitamin D3 is a steroid hormone or more precisely a prohormone

According to the US National Library of Medicine, research on the mechanism of action of vitamin D continued and by 1969 the biologically active metabolite of vitamin D – 1,25(OH)2D – was identified.  1,25(OH)2D was classified as “a steroid hormone activating a nuclear transcription factor, the vitamin D receptor (VDR), which regulates the transcription of vitamin D responsive genes.” It was further stated that “Despite the original misnaming of vitamin D (since it is actually a prohormone) this term has continued to be used.”

The US National Library of Medicine noted that since that time (1969), low vitamin D status has been confirmed throughout the world to be associated with an increased risk of hip fracture in the elderly, irrespective of latitude and economic status. It was further noted that:

 “This observation was simply an association until the double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of vitamin D and calcium supplementation in elderly women in France. The authors showed that when their data were analyzed after three years on an intention to treat basis, 800 IU vitamin D and 1.2 g calcium daily reduced the incidence of hip fracture by some 30%. This study clearly demonstrated that a low, but not deficient vitamin D status, significantly increased the risk of hip fracture.”

Reduce the incidence of breast cancer by up to 83%, colon cancer by 60%

New studies are coming out almost daily describing the latest studies verifying the health benefits of D3. Although the original studies were focused on osteoporosis, osteopenia and hip fractures, subsequent studies have shown multiple benefits from the use of D3.

IF YOUR SERUM LEVEL of 25(OH)D is over 50, breast cancer incidence is reduced by 83%. Reference: Serum Breast cancer risk according to serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D: Meta-analysis of Dose-Response Risk. American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, 2008,

The same meta-analysis cited above showed a reduced incident of colon cancer of 60% for serum levels over 42. “All combined fractures are reduced 50% if your serum level is 44 or higher. The incidence of falls is reduced by 72% if your level is 30 or  higher. The danger of falling is a critical risk factor in the elderly. Other studies have shown a reduced incidence of 50% for prostate cancer in men and a 50% reduction in the risk of heart disease for men and women (again if levels exceed 50 NG/ML).

“In recent years it has become increasingly clear that vitamin D is an extremely novel and important prohormone. Not only is vitamin D involved in calcium and bone metabolism including the prevention of osteoporosis, but it has several other functions of equal import. It was discovered by Dr. Michael Holick that vitamin D is converted to 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 (calcitriol) in the liver and kidneys, and this latter hormone is an important factor in inhibiting cancer cell growth. Epidemiological evidence strongly suggests that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in the blood markedly decreases the incidence of colon, breast, prostate and other cancers.Reference: R.S. Isaac Gardner, M.D., Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Test your serum levels to determine if you are reducing your risks 

The serum (blood) test is vitamin D, 25 (OH). At Natural Bio Health, we recommend levels of 60 NG/ML to 100 NG/ML for optimum health. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Note that some labs have different reference ranges.] In our testing, we have found almost all adults to be deficient in that they typically test at <30 NG/ML and we have found most teenagers to be deficient.

Why Guess? If you are currently taking a vitamin D supplement, you should test it to see if it is working for you. You can test to determine your starting  level if you are not taking D3. It is also important to test your level after starting treatment to ensure that your levels are greater than 50NG/ML.

Other benefits of D3

Taking Vitamin D is vital to your health. Despite the best efforts of sunlight or fortified cereals, we just don’t get enough as adults, even when we eat plenty of sardines and tuna. Many of us now know that D3 helps build strong bones by preventing osteoporosis, and that it helps treat bone pain and bone loss. It’s likewise understood that D3 helps lower high blood pressure and is generally great for the heart. It also helps prevent cancer and boosts the immune system.

The more we study, the more it’s clear that everyone should be taking D3. Just look at some of the recent developments from this calendar year (2013):

  • It relieves Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) symptoms. A small Saudi study in June discovered a link between Restless Leg Syndrome and a Vitamin D deficiency. RLS is a common sleep disorder found most prominently in women. Symptoms include lingering leg pain and an urge to move them during sleep. The study—introduced during the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s annual meeting in Baltimore in June—showed symptom relief in patients after doses of D3. All 12 patients that were given doses of Vitamin D showed “improvement of the symptoms without exception.” 
  • Fat loss. Best known for the role it plays in optimizing bone health, research has also shown an inverse correlation between circulating vitamin D levels and body mass index, weight, abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat. A recent study found women with suboptimal vitamin D levels (defined as 20-29ng/ml for this study) to have 40% more subcutaneous fat than women with optimal vitamin D levels.Women with insufficient vitamin D levels (defined as less than 20ng/ml for this study) had 80% more abdominal fat than their optimal counterparts. For every 1 ng/ml of vitamin D, women in the study lost ½ pound more weight. Most American women have low or insufficient vitamin D levels ranging from 12-32ng/ml. Natural Bio Health recommends a level of 60 to 100 ng/ml and that everyone be tested to check their levels.
  • Diabetes: The reduced risk of Type 1 Diabetes is 66% if levels of D3 exceed 52 NG/ML. Meta-Analysis Study cited above. Other studies have shown that babies born of women who take D3 during pregnancy have up to an 80% reduced incidence of Type 1 Diabetes. Some studies have shown vitamin D3 to be 100% more effective than diabetic drugs for treating type 2 diabetes. Dr. Gardner, cited above, notes that “There are receptors for vitamin D in pancreatic islet cells involved in insulin secretion. In fact low vitamin D levels are associated with type I and type II diabetes mellitus.”
  • Dr. Gardner also states that “Vitamin D is important in cellular immunity and prevention of the autoimmune diseases. It is actively involved in brain metabolism with links to depression. Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal syndrome characterized by muscle pain and fatigue of unknown origin. It has been found that a majority of patients presenting with symptoms of fibromyalgia are deficient in vitamin D. Treatment with vitamin D3 is successful in relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia in these cases.”
  • The more D3, the lower your risk of bone fracture. A study published on June 26 in Menopause says that D3 supplementation helps prevent hip fracture among women that receive hormone replacement therapy. This study included postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 to 79 during the mid-1990s—half received 400 mg of D3 per day and the others were assigned a placebo. During the seven years of follow ups, 214 hip fractures among the test subjects were reported. The women that received hormone therapy plus calcium and D3 had a lower risk of hip fracture compared to those that only received the hormone treatment.

Natural Bio Health clients typically take 5000 mg of D3 each day Children take 400 mg to 2000 mg per day. Everyone is TESTED.

  • Adolescent and Pre-Adolescent girls. We treat a significant number of teenage girls and young adults with bioidentical hormones. The most common are progesterone and thyroid. Most of them are deficient in the hormone D3.  Higher D3 intake is associated with the girls’ ability to keep healthy bones. A Boston-based study last year found a lower risk of stress fractures in adolescent and pre-adolescent girls that had a higher intake of D3. Stress fractures occur when the force on a bone is greater than the bone’s ability to withstand said stress.

For this study, doctors at Children’s Hospital Boston looked at data from over 6,500 girls whose ages spanned from nine to 15, between 1996 and 2001. During a subsequent, seven-year period of study, stress fractures occurred in just under four percent of the girls. Girls whose D3 intake from supplements was among the top 20 percent of those studies had half the risk of stress fracture than participants in the lower 20th percentile of D3 intake.

For more information on the hormone D3, contact Natural Bio Health at 1-800-208-9881 or visit us at www.naturalbiohealth.com. Testing of D3 can be arranged at any of our of bioidentical hormones, medical weight loss and functional medicine clinics located in Austin, San Antonio, College Station and Odessa, Texas or by calling our toll  free number. 

Disclaimer: The information in this blog was taken from several reputable sources and no single scholarly article is available to support the claims.  Nevertheless, the information is believed to be factually accurate.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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