New information has determined that vitamin D3 deficiency is extremely common. In fact, in older people it is almost universal. This is critical because D3 deficiency has been linked to heart failure, insulin resistance (a precursor to Type-2 diabetes), hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and brain disorders.
Based on its ability to reduce inflammation, prevent infections, and tame autoimmunity, vitamin D3 would also prevent cardiovascular diseases. A growing number of studies are showing this to be true.
One recent study followed 6,537 adults for five years and found that people with vitamin D3 levels of 18 to 23 ng/ml had a 74 percent increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome compared to those with what is now accepted as a normal level of 34 ng/ml. Actually, even that level is probably too low. I recommend a level of 75 ng/ml to 100 ng/ml.
People with low serum vitamin D3 levels had greater waist circumference, higher triglycerides, elevated fasting glucose, and insulin resistance — all things that lead to a high risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. (To learn more about how vitamin D3 impacts your health, read my special report "Vitamin D's Hidden Role in Your Health.")
Careful studies have shown that adults require more than 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 to raise their blood levels at all. I have found that many require doses of 5,000 IU or even 10,000 IU a day to reach normal levels of the vitamin. It is important that you have a blood vitamin D3 level done before taking the vitamin and then repeat the test at three months.
A new study among people of Asian heritage found that having an initially low vitamin D3 level increased risk of having a stroke over a 34-year period. Specifically, the higher a subject’s vitamin D3 level at the beginning of the study, the lower his or her risk of having a stroke.
This is one of the longest follow-up studies to date, and showed that the link to vitamin D3 is independent of other traditional risk factors.
Low vitamin D3 levels, especially in the elderly, are associated with a high risk of serious influenza and other infections. Chronic infections, in turn, are strongly associated with
atherosclerosis, which would explain why higher intakes can reduce stroke risk.
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