Vitamin D Deficiency Can Cause Heart Failure
Prior to my death from sudden cardiac arrest in February of 2012, I was already aware that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with heart dysfunction, sudden cardiac death, and death due to heart failure. And I was also aware that most people don't get enough vitamin D. I knew that vitamin D helps your body build strong bones and if you don't get enough your body will actually destroy your bones in search of calcium! And without vitamin D your body is unable to absorb calcium from food or supplements.
Processed foods and fast foods fall short of the vitamin D you need
I had also learned that the most important role of vitamin D is to signal the intestines to absorb calcium into the bloodstream. And without a sufficient amount of vitamin D your body will break down bone to get the calcium it needs no matter how much calcium you consume through food and supplements. And, on top of everything else, vitamin D is also relatively scarce in today's nutritional deficient processed food and fast food diets.
It was because of this knowledge about the importance of vitamin D that I was completely surprised and taken aback while doing some research on Vitamin D and found a headline that read: "Too Much Vitamin D Can Cause Sudden Cardiac Arrest" and another other one that read: "Low Vitamin D Linked To Sudden Cardiac Death". It is small wonder that the average person is confused as to the benefits of nutritional supplements. The end result of these two reports was no different than anything else you ingest, including water! The right amount is good - too much can be bad.
According to the U.S. Government Department of Health, the "tolerable upper intake level" for vitamin D is set at 4,000 IU per day. However, a person who relies on diet alone for vitamin D would have to consume 5 ounces of salmon, 7 ounces of halibut, 30 ounces of cod, a 6 ounce can of tuna or 4 cups of milk to reach just 400 IU's per day which is far within the "tolerable" level but far below the estimated 3,ooo to 5,000 IU's required for a properly functioning human body.
Also, you have to consider the fact that the practice of fortifying milk began in the 1930's to combat rickets, a disease that leads to soft, weak bones caused by vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, don't make the mistake of assuming that all dairy products are automatically fortified. In fact, dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream are not typically fortified and contain only small amounts of vitamin D.
Are you getting enough vitamin D to stay healthy?
As mentioned above, a human body that is functioning properly will utilize between 3,000 and 5,000 IU of vitamin D per day. This would indicate that supplementation would probably be necessary for the average person. It further indicates that the current recommended intakes would not be high enough to raise, or maintain, the vitamin D levels necessary for proper health and that supplementation is probably necessary.
Some people who want to raise their vitamin D levels quickly choose to supplement with amounts higher than 10,000 IU per day until their target level is reached. The best way to make this kind of adjustment is with the help of your physician and frequent blood level checks. Once your blood serum levels are where they should be, you can determine what daily amount needs to be used in order to maintain those levels. How much is needed will be unique to the individual, but it should be somewhere around 5,000 IU per day. Your physician can also help you determine an adequate magnesium intake. In most cases, it is best to use a vitamin D supplement that also contains magnesium and calcium.
Oh, by the way, in the course of my research I learned about a 10 year study that assessed vitamin D levels in 3,299 referred patients over a ten year period. After taking into consideration factors that might influence the results, they found that severe vitamin D deficiency, compared with optimal vitamin D levels, was associated with nearly a three-fold increased risk of death from heart failure and about a five-fold increased risk of sudden cardiac death. (SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism October, 2008)