The name “Save Our Bones” surely makes you think that we are exclusively focused on bone health and natural solutions for osteoporosis and osteopenia. And that’s true. But, unlike the Medical Establishment, the health philosophy that I live by and share with you doesn’t sacrifice overall health and well-being for a single beneficial result.
The best evidence that this holistic form of self-care is the most advantageous method is that when something is truly good for your bones, it’s also good for other aspects of your health and (most importantly), without any harmful side effects.
Following this principle, many of the best and most effective nutrients for your bones are also excellent for other body systems. A perfect example is the bone-strengthening, health-promoting Foundation Supplement vitamin D. Today, we’ll explore seven surprising benefits of this powerful micronutrient that go well beyond bone health.
Vitamin D Improves Your Vision
When you think of vitamins that improve vision, you most likely conjure images of carrots and the beta-carotene they contain. But as you’ll soon find out, that’s not the only important vitamin for maintaining your sight.
After the age of 50, many people start to experience a reduction in sight due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition leads to increased blurriness in the center of the visual field, making it harder to see anything directly ahead.
Most of the factors that determine the onset of AMD are out of your control, namely your age and the genetics passed down to you. On the bright side, you can reduce your odds of reduced vision by exercising regularly, not smoking, and eating leafy greens and fish.1 And now we know there’s something else you can do.
A recent study shows that keeping your Vitamin D levels on the high end of the spectrum (around or above 50 ng/ml) can prevent this upsetting and limiting condition, even if your genes are working against you.2
Researchers at the University of Buffalo took advantage of information already gathered from 913 postmenopausal women who were part of a Women’s Health Initiative study called the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Of the women evaluated, 550 had adequate levels of vitamin D and 88 were deficient. The members of the deficient group were more likely to develop AMD – 6.7 times more likely if they carried a specific type of high-risk genes – than the women with sufficient levels.
In short, adequate levels of Vitamin D lead to better vision, also helping you to prevent falls that could result in painful fractures.
Prevent Unhealthy Weight Gain
Unwanted weight gain becomes more likely as you get older, but the good news is that increasing your Vitamin D intake can decrease your body fat.
A study published in The Journal of Women’s Health measured levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D of 4,659 women aged 65 or older over the course of four and a half years. Even before changes in weight were measured, the women who began the study with a baseline 25(OH)D level of greater than or equal to 30 ng/m weighed about 7 pounds less than those with less than 30 ng/m.3
Of the women who gained weight during the study, those with baseline 25(OH)D levels greater than or equal to 30 ng/m saw 2 pounds less weight gain that those with less than 30 ng/m of the vitamin.
The study concludes that:
“Higher 25(OH)D levels are associated with lower weight gains, suggesting low vitamin D status may predispose to fat accumulation.”3
It’s important to remember that your weight has an impact on your entire body and its systems, including the strength and quality of your bones.
Keep Your Cholesterol Low By Keeping Your Vitamin D Levels High
This is great news for postmenopausal women. A group of scientists recently set out to establish if increasing serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [25(OH)D3] concentrations with calcium/vitamin D (CaD) supplementation would improve lipids in postmenopausal women.
This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial (meeting a very high scientific standard of testing) looked at the impact of CaD supplementation vs a placebo in 600 postmenopausal women. The women randomly selected to receive the supplement were given 1,000 mg of elemental calcium + 400 IU of vitamin D3 daily.4
The results were remarkable. The women who received the supplement saw decreases in their LDL-C levels and increases in their HDL-C and TP. While you’ve likely seen LDL-C called “bad cholesterol” and HDL-C called “good cholesterol” I try not to use these over-simplifying terms. Both cholesterols play important roles in your body’s functioning, but they also need to be in the correct ratio.
Providing your body what it needs to regulate cholesterol allows it to keep LDL-C and HDL-C levels in balance. Now you know that Vitamin D is an important, safe and natural way to do just that!
Relief From The Pain of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a frustrating and difficult condition, related to muscle and joint pain, depression and negative impact on quality of life. One study offers some hope for a little relief.
A group of 30 women suffering from fibromyalgia with relatively low vitamin D levels were recruited for this investigation. Half were given an oral supplementation of D3 or cholecalciferol to bring their serum calcifediol levels up to between 32 and 48 ng/mL for 20 weeks. Calcifediol is the major circulating metabolite of D3, and a good indicator of the body’s vitamin D stores. The other half were given a placebo for that time, and then they were all monitored for 24 additional weeks.
The group that was receiving the supplement experience a, “marked reduction in pain” over the treatment period, as well as a continued positive impact in the weeks that followed.5
The study concludes that:
“Optimization of calcifediol levels in FMS had a positive effect on the perception of pain.”5
The researchers recommend that this safe and effective treatment be considered for all women suffering from fibromyalgia. It’s always refreshing to know that scientists recommend a natural, nutrition-based solution to solve a medical problem!
Reduce The Risk Of Uterine Fibroids
Even though uterine fibroids are quite common and can be deeply painful, until a few years ago there was no human study following up on animal trials that found vitamin D to be effective in preventing them.
Uterine fibroids (or leiomyomata) are non-cancerous tumors that develop in the uterine smooth muscle through overproduction of extracellular matrix. This study sought to establish whether vitamin D could inhibit cell proliferation and extracellular matrix production in 1,036 randomly selected premenopausal women.
After testing to find which women had what the study considered sufficient 25(OH)D levels of greater than 20 ng/ml, the study found that:
“Women with sufficient vitamin D had an estimated 32% lower odds of fibroids compared with those with vitamin D insufficiency.”6
This study also asked participants to report their estimated daily sun exposure. It turned out that those who on average got one or more hours of direct sunlight a day were less like likely to have uterine fibroids. This isn’t surprising since we need the sun to produce vitamin D.
Prevent Falls At Home Through Supplementation
This one is particularly important for Savers since it directly relates to preventing fractures from falls.
In a recently published study, homebound participants between the ages of 65 and 102 were either given a vitamin D supplement or a placebo. The goal was to establish whether increasing the subjects’ 25(OH)D concentrations would decrease their rate of falls.7
The supplementation improved the 25(OH)D levels to above 20 ng/ml in all but one of the 34 individuals in the treatment group. Once the results were adjusted to account for differences in sex, race, season of year, baseline 25(OH)D levels and history of falls, they revealed that the vitamin D supplementation resulted in a lower rate of falls. As we all know, less falls means less opportunities to break a bone.
This shows that not only does Vitamin D help you to build stronger bones that are more resistant to fracture in case of a fall, it also helps you to avoid falling.
The authors of the study believe this result is due to the vitamin’s positive impact on muscle performance. Which brings us to our seventh revelation…
Reduce Those Troubling Muscle Spasms
Cramps, twitches and spasms are all quite common occurrences. And low vitamin D levels are linked to poor muscle function as indicated by body sway and decreased muscle strength. Because vitamin D also functions as a hormone, it has receptors all over the body, including in the muscles. But even its non-genomic effects are known to perform molecular mechanics on muscle tissue.8
Clearly, Vitamin D not only gives your body what it needs to build bone, but it also supports muscle function and bone density. And as Savers know, bone growth is stimulated when bones are stressed by the action of muscle, as per Wolff’s Law.
At the Save Institute we recommend taking 2000 IU daily of oral Vitamin D3, especially during the winter months, when there’s little opportunity to get out in the sun. Also, Savers should strive to keep Vitamin D serum levels between 40 and 70 ng/mL.
Give Your Muscles What They Need, Inside And Out
Providing your muscles with healthy nutrients and plenty of Vitamin D is only half the battle. It’s also essential that you exercise regularly.
We all know that not all exercise is created equal, but figuring out what to do and when or how to do it can be so confounding that you feel discouraged from exercising at all. That’s why I created the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, to take the stressful guesswork out of working out to build your bones and improve your overall health.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
Till next time,
1 The National Eye Institute (NEI). https://nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts
2 Amy E. Millen, PhD; Rick Voland, PhD; Sherie A. Sondel, MS; et al. “Vitamin D Status and Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Postmenopausal Women” Epidemiology. April 11, 2011. Web: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/427167
3 Erin S. LeBlanc, Joanne H. Rizzo, Kathryn L. Pedula, Kristine E. Ensrud, Jane Cauley, Marc Hochberg, and Teresa A. Hillier, for the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. “Associations Between 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Weight Gain in Elderly Women“ Journal of Women’s Health. October 2012, 21(10): 1066-1073. doi:10.1089/jwh.2012.3506. Web: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jwh.2012.3506?journalCode=
4 Schnatz PF, et al. “Calcium/vitamin D supplementation, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, and cholesterol profiles in the Women’s Health Initiative calcium/vitamin D randomized trial.” Menopause. 2014 Aug;21(8):823-33. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000188. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24594863
5 Wepner, Florian; et al. Effects of vitamin D on patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: A randomized placebo‐controlled trial. Pain. February 2014 – Volume 155 – Issue 2 – p 261–268. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.10.002. Web: http://journals.lww.com/pain/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2014&issue=02000&article=00009&type=abstract
6 Baird DD, Hill MC, Schectman JM, Hollis BW. “Vitamin d and the risk of uterine fibroids.” Epidemiology. 2013 May;24(3):447-53. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31828acca0. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23493030
7 Houston, Denise K. PhD. “Delivery of a Vitamin D Intervention in Homebound Older Adults Using a Meals-on-Wheels Program: A Pilot Study” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Volume 63, Issue 9. September 2015. Pages 1861–1867. Web: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.13610/full
8 Pfeifer M1, Begerow B, Minne HW. “Vitamin D and muscle function.” Osteoporos Int. 2002 Mar;13(3):187-94. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11991436