A new study has confirmed what I suspected to be true all along, that Vitamin D3 is critical to take during childhood (as well as adulthood). In fact, ensuring that your kids get enough of this simple nutrient may be the single most important thing you can do to protect your children from a future of chronic health problems.
As I'm sure you already know, atherosclerosis is a primary culprit behind heart attacks and strokes. New research is suggesting that low Vitamin D3 intake in childhood is associated with atherosclerosis, or hardening and narrowing of the arteries in adulthood.
New Study Shows The Importance of Vitamin D3 To Overall Health
The researchers looked at 2,148 young Finnish people and measured their Vitamin D3 levels at age 3 to 18, using stored serum. These subjects were then re-examined 27 years later at age 30 to 45 with ultrasound screenings. The ultrasound measured the thickness of the carotid arteries, an indicator of atherosclerosis.
The scientists also looked at conventional cardiovascular risk factors such as diet, physical activity and smoking. These risk factors were measured using detailed questionnaires and confidential medical histories during childhood and adulthood. Other conventional cardiovascular risk factors such as serum lipids, blood pressure, diet, physical activity, smoking and obesity were also taken into consideration. In all subjects it was found that the ones with the lowest Vitamin D3 levels were at significantly higher risk of atherosclerosis as adults.
What's also worth noting is that the study took place in Finland which has some of the fittest folks in the world. Its obesity rate is less than half that of the US (around 17 per cent as opposed to 35 per cent for the latter). This is powerful given that the negative results were seen in such a healthy country. Imagine if it was performed in the U.S.A! It's also worth bearing in mind that the Finnish researchers defined a "low" level of Vitamin D3 as 40nmol/L, whereas in a country like the U.S.A a level of 30 is viewed as normal.
Is it therefore a surprise that heart disease and atherosclerosis are on the increase in countries like the USA? In my opinion - no! Vitamin D is crucial for keeping the heart healthy, especially for children. However, it's virtually impossible to get enough Vitamin D3 through food, particularly with all the processed junk foods that many children seem to be given on a day-to-day basis.
Be Careful What You Slather On Your Skin...
What I find even more worrying is how many parents are now terrified to allow their children to play out in the sun, which is one of the best sources of Vitamin D3. Many children are covered head to toe in sunscreen before they've even stepped outside.
Now don't get me wrong, a natural organic sunscreen is a good way to boost Vitamin D3 levels, but many shop bought sunscreens are simply a cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals that do nothing to benefit health. It is better to get at least 20 minutes of direct sun exposure every day and then put on a natural, organic sunscreen.
Getting enough sunlight may be a problem however if you don't live near the Equator and you may find it difficult to get your optimal amount of Vitamin D3 for this reason. Therefore, I always recommend taking a high quality Vitamin D3 supplement to ensure you do get enough. At least 10,000IU of Vitamin D3 per day if you're an adult and 6,000IU per day for children.
The study I mentioned above is compelling but it's just one of the many amongst a huge amount of research that highlights the importance of taking Vitamin D3 on a daily basis. This is because it's one of, if not the most important supplement you can take.
Other recent Vitamin D studies in the news lately have indicated its importance for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis patients as a lack of Vitamin D is more prevalent in people in this group and was associated with a worse mental/physical quality of life, along with greater disease activity. While another study has shown a link between low Vitamin D levels, mood and healthy mental functioning.
It's not just my opinion...the studies support the theory and show that Vitamin D is absolutely critical to take at any age. Not just for overall health, but in helping to ward off Alzheimer's, cancers and heart disease amongst other conditions.