In 1998, Dr. Michael Donaldson, a PhD graduate of Cornell University, joined our team here at Hallelujah Acres. His task was to constantly evaluate the accuracy of The Hallelujah Diet so that we could be assured that what we were teaching was the most accurate and up-to-date information possible.
In recent weeks we have taken a look at B12 and fats, nutrients researched by Dr. Donaldson that he has found lacking in most diets today…whether the diet is meat-based or plant-based. (All of these previous Health Tips are available here.)
In this message, we begin a series on Vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 – The Rest Of The Story
We live in a day when man too often thinks he knows it all, sometimes even more than God! Yet in some areas, even we, who know the truth regarding God’s Creation, are just beginning to understand what a unique creation man is and the incredible intricacies of our bodies:
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works: and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:14)
I’m so glad I know my origin –
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. (Genesis 1:1)
AndI’m glad to know even how God created me and what he created for me:
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”. (Genesis 2:7)
For over 6,000 years mankind has appreciated the sun for its provision of light and warmth. One of the days of the week was even named after the sun – “Sunday.”
And there was even a time when man worshiped the sun:
“…with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; they worshipped the sun…” (Ezekiel 8:16)
Throughout history, from Adam and Eve to most of our grandparents (or at least most of our great grandparents), exposure to the sun was an almost a daily experience as man labored in the sunlight for his sustenance. Mankind grew his food and as a gardener, he was naturally exposed to the sun’s rays.
Then came World War II, when many of these farm folks, especially the women folk, left the farms for the factories, as their men went off to war. As a result, most of these farm people lost contact with the sun because they were living and working indoors where very little exposure to the rays of the sun was possible.
This lack of exposure to the sun’s rays became even more pronounced when doctors told men and women, as well as their children, that they should avoid sun exposure for fear of developing melanoma cancers. Then the manufacturers of sunscreens told us we must use their products to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful rays.
All these events have taken us further and further away from natural sun exposure, and as a result we have seen a serious deterioration in the health of people. But now, we are just beginning to realize that exposing our skin to the sun is an absolute essential if we are to protect ourselves from germs, viruses and bacteria and experience the ultimate health God designed for mankind.
Science Is Just Now Catching Up With God
Vitamin D produced by the sun may be the single most powerful protector of the body’s health. The way this works is that the raw material the body needs to produce essential Vitamin D3 are provided by the Vitamin D-rich UVB rays of the sun shining on the skin of the body.
God knew what He was doing when He created that first man (Adam), placed him in a garden, where daily exposure to the sun took place. Then after the “fall” God told Adam he would henceforth have to earn his bread [food] by the “sweat of thy face” as he labored in the sun to remove the weeds “thorns and thistles” from the garden. (See Genesis 3:18-19)
This time spent in the garden to produce his food required long periods of sun exposure and this exposure to the sun provided the body with vitamin D-3, which in turn provided the immune system with the wherewithal to protect the body from germs, viruses and bacteria. Yes, God had it right from the very beginning. Too bad man has been such a slow learner!
What We Have Recently Learned about Vitamin D3
When UVB rays strike the skin, they trigger biochemical reactions in the deeper cells that generate huge amounts of Vitamin D. Prolonged sun exposure causes the skin to tan which provides a natural sunscreen and reduces the amount of Vitamin D being produced, thus preventing an overdose.
However, excessive sun exposure before tanning takes place can cause the burning of the skin which is dangerous, and must be guarded against.
Before Vitamin D from the sun can do its intended task within the body, it must first be converted into its biologically active form. The kidneys are the primary organ that accomplishes this. After this conversion, the body is able to recognize and use it.
Once Vitamin D is active in the cells, its primary role is to help regulate body functions on the level of gene transcription, the process by which genetic information is copied from DNA to RNA. Vitamin D has a tremendous effect on the genes and telling them what to do. For instance, adequate Vitamin D is essential for healthy skin and hair growth.
If Vitamin D is lacking, it can result in an autoimmune reaction that makes a person’s hair fall out or the disruption of skin pigmentation. Many are experiencing excessive hair loss today because of inadequate levels of Vitamin D, as well as a lack of healthy oils being in the diet.
Because so many cells throughout the body are dependent on Vitamin D in order to carry out their intended tasks, adequate Vitamin D is a necessity for long term SURVIVAL.
This activated Vitamin D in the skin turns on antioxidants and these antioxidants, in turn, deactivate free radicals. This is the body’s natural defense mechanism, and it works very well for over 90% of people if the process is not interfered with by man’s use of sun blockers or aversion to sun exposure.
The body depends on Vitamin D to help launch an immune system response to foreign invaders. For instance, immune cells use Vitamin D to produce germ-killing compounds called cathelicidin, which in turn kills bacteria. Without Vitamin D the immune system is incapable of performing its God-given task.
This sunshine vitamin suppresses excessive and inappropriate behavior of immune cells, thus helping to reduce inflammation. A solid case has been made that adequate Vitamin D is crucial in preventing excessive inflammation, which is a part of all aging diseases. Vitamin D has also been shown to not only help prevent such problems as arthritis, autoimmune diseases, type I diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease, but also to improve these conditions.
There is not a drug on the market that can perform these tasks.
Lack of Vitamin D Allows Cancers to Grow
When cancer strikes, it implies that cell division is out of control, and just as we learned Vitamin D is needed by immune cells so that they don’t become hyperactive, so also is Vitamin D necessary to help regulate cell growth.
Recent research reveals that Vitamin D partners with the antioxidant defense system to help clear the body of free radicals, thereby protecting them from DNA damage that can lead to inappropriate mutation.
Vitamin D is smart, smart enough to know enough not to protect cancer cells. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center had this to say about Vitamin D: “Our findings reflect what we see in those studies and demonstrate that vitamin D not only can be used as a therapy for prostate cancer, it can actually prevent prostate cancer from happening.”
Recent colon cancer research reveals that vitamin D turns on death signals in colon cancer cells and works synergistically with calcium to help prevent colon cancer cells from spreading.
A German study reported on in the American Journal of Epidemiology has proven that low levels of Vitamin D in premenopausal women are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
It appears that Vitamin D is the most powerful weapon that exists to protect the body from cancer development by preventing maverick cells from mutating into cancer cells. In light of these findings, some doctors are beginning to give cancer patients massive doses of Vitamin D in an effort to assist the body in its battle to naturally overcome the cancer.
Vitamin D Deficiency Involved in Diabetes
It is common knowledge that Vitamin D helps in the release of insulin from the pancreas. Thus a lack of Vitamin D increases the risk for type 1 diabetes and is likely involved with the insulin and leptin resistance that eventually leads to type 2 diabetes.
Those who live in Finland, where the rays of the sun are very weak, find that the risk of type 1 diabetes increases 400%. A birth-cohort study in Oulu and Lapland, Finland reveals that children who consistently took 2000 IU of Vitamin D daily had a 78% reduction risk of type 1 diabetes.
Correcting Vitamin D deficiency in people who are overweight has been shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes, too. If a person is struggling with their weight or the health of their pancreas this may be an indication that there is a deficiency of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D Adequacy Necessary for Heart Health
Researchers at the University of Michigan have nick-named Vitamin D “the heart tranquilizer” because it helps keep the heart from working too hard and swelling in size. Their findings indicate that the sunshine vitamin can even help prevent heart failure.
Blood flow to the extremities has also been shown to improve when Vitamin D levels are adequate, helping to improve what researchers call peripheral artery disease (PAD). When scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York evaluated 4,839 adults, they found those with the best Vitamin D levels had the least amount of PAD.
Vitamin D Affects Brain Health
In older adults, low blood levels of Vitamin D are associated with depression. An interesting study chaired by Marian L. Evatt, MD, of the Emory University School of Medicine and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center compared Vitamin D levels in older Americans with Parkinson’s’ disease. The study revealed 55% of them had low levels of Vitamin D.
Government recommendations for Vitamin D intake are much too low, especially during the winter months when even if the body is exposed to sunlight, in most latitudes there is simply not enough sunshine to provide adequate levels of Vitamin D. Therefore it is imperative that a supplemental form of Vitamin D be taken on a daily basis in order to keep the immune system functioning optimally.
Rhonda and this editor take 5000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily year-round. Sometimes in the summertime, if our bodies are receiving a lot of sun due to outdoor activities, we will stop taking Vitamin D supplements for a time. Children need 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily, while dark-skinned people need a greater amount of sun exposure to assure adequate Vitamin D.
If you choose to supplement, make sure it is with Vitamin D3 and not with Vitamin D2 which does not offer the same protection. (D2 is not the active form but is often prescribed by physicians.)
Next week, the good Lord willing and if the creeks don’t rise too high, we will take a look at more of what Dr. Donaldson has discovered in research and what he has to say about another substance that is vital if we desire the ultimate health God designed for His people.
Trust you will join us next week for another exciting issue of the Hallelujah Health Tip.