Essential 7

Essential 7
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Vitamin D: The Key to a Healthy Colon

Vitamin D is often called the Sunshine Vitamin, because our bodies naturally absorb this important nutrient from the sun. But did you know that vitamin D provides a tremendous benefit to a part of your body where the sun doesn't shine? 

The health of your colon is greatly affected by the level of vitamin D in your system. If you are deficient in vitamin D, your colon is likely a minefield of dangerous polyps, which can turn cancerous if left unchecked. Conversely, a body that is high on the vitamin D meter normally sports a healthy, smooth colon wall.

I realize that the condition of your colon wall is probably the last thing on your mind, but as you approach the age of 50, your doctor is going to bring it to your attention. You see, fifty is the "age of the colonoscopy" in the medical realm. So get ready to bend over and take it...or not. You really do have a choice, contrary to popular belief.

 I am not opposed to diagnostic testing when there is "probable cause". If you see blood in your stool, get a colonoscopy! If colon cancer runs rampant in your family, get tested regularly. But I personally do not sign up for routine invasive procedures, based solely on my age. Instead, I prefer to take the preventative health approach .

This approach is what led me to research the vitamin D-colon health connection. I am always fascinated by the human body's ability to heal and maintain itself, when given the proper nutrients. Vitamin D has long been touted as an immune booster, but recent studies revealed a geographic link to the rising rate of colon cancer.

People who lived furthest from the Equator experienced a higher incidence of colon cancer than their sun-basking peers. This information sparked the theory that vitamin D is directly related to colon health. 

Since then, doctors have begun an awareness campaign regarding the importance of vitamin D supplementation in preventing colon cancer. Prescriptions for Vitamin D3 are on the rise, with the hope of bringing the rate of colon cancer lower. Unfortunately, doctor-recommended daily doses are also on the low side. 

A healthy adult living in a sunny climate, but having limited sun exposure, should supplement his diet with 2,000 daily IUs (International Units) of vitamin D3. Northern residents with the same lifestyle and health status should aim for a daily dose closer to 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3.  If you are at a high risk for colon cancer, you may want to double those numbers. Elderly folks should also aim high on the daily dosage scale, as general immune support requires more effort as we age.

Now, keep in mind that I am no doctor. I just tend to gravitate to nutritional research like a proverbial moth to flame. My hope is that my informed opinion will inspire you to research this subject further so you can make your own decisions about preventative health measures.

I can, however, provide you a personal testimony on vitamin D and its effect on the human colon. I have a family member who is at a very high risk for colon cancer. She has been required for years by her doctor to get a colonoscopy every six months. Each time she has had this procedure done, the technician has found many suspicious-looking polyps that had to be removed. I advised her to begin a daily regimen of 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3. Several months later, she called me in tears - tears of joy, that is. Her latest colonoscopy revealed NO polyps, and her doctor scheduled her next test for one year later, rather than the usual six months. This was an amazing result, after only a few months of taking the vitamin D3
So the moral of the story is...don't let the sun go down before you do your vitamin D research today. Gather the facts so you can make an informed decision about your own colon health. But in the end, always go with your gut feeling!