The Top 5 Reasons Vitamin D Makes Women Bulletproof
By: Dave Asprey
There’s a reason vitamin D is one of my Top Six Biohacks. I didn’t have time to go into all the benefits in the video, and to do so would require a separate blog all by itself. But in this post, we will cover the vitamin D benefits for women who want to be Bulletproof. After all, I’m not going to have nearly as much fun being Bulletproof if I have to do it without my lovely wife Lana (who is also an MD and avid Bulletproof Diet fan).
More than half the readers of this blog don’t have children, but many will some day, so I’m placing some emphasis on why D3 is important for pregnancy and growing a healthy baby. Even if you have no interest in kids – being fertile is important for a number of health reasons. You single guys will sound like a total experts on pregnancy, which is sometimes useful on dates.
While researching the Better Baby Book, my wife and I found a library of evidence supporting the use of vitamin D. The more we dug, the more studies popped up.
When you look at the research behind vitamin D, its importance becomes obvious. Here’s what happens without vitamin D.
For the Mother
- Gestational diabetes
- Increased rate of C-Section
- Bacterial vaginosis
For the Baby
- Small size (low birth weight)
- Impaired Growth
- Skeletal malformations, and sometimes brittle bones
- Hypocalcemia (low bone density)
- Type-1 Diabetes
- Bone loss
- Hip fractures
- Suppressed immune response
- Impaired hormone formation
- Poor mood and agitated thoughts
- Insulin resistance
Vitamin D deficiency is serious.
Being deficient in vitamin D is one of the best ways to sabotage your health. A study in 2010 put it best,
“Vitamin D status during pregnancy is important for the health of the mother and offspring across a range of possible health outcomes.”
This is true for both the mother and the child. Vitamin D deficiency before, during, and after pregnancy is disastrous. This study found the same thing,
“There is considerable evidence that low maternal levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D are associated with adverse outcomes for both mother and fetus in pregnancy as well as the neonate and child.”
Still not convinced? Here are the top 5 reasons women need to take vitamin D.
#1 Increased Fertility
A study in 2010 showed that high doses of vitamin D lowered estradiol and progesterone. Estrogen dominance is one of the main causes of infertility and a host of other problems.
As said by Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council,
“The favorable implications for breast cancer come immediately to mind… I can tell you that lower female hormones sometimes help women in all kinds of ways… I suspect the women also became more fertile.”
His suspicions have been supported by many studies. In rats, vitamin D deficiency has been shown to increase infertility by 75 percent. Supplemental vitamin D has also been shown to improve the success of in-vitro fertilizations.
Vitamin D has also may increase fertility rates by six percent. Studies have shown that vitamin D works synergistically with other vitamins. It may not be too much vitamin D that’s the problem, but a deficiency in other nutrients. Either way, a good place to start for supplementation would be 1000 IU of D3 per day for every 25lbs of body weight, as per The Vitamin D Council’s recommendations. If you want to supplement more accurately, test and re-test your vitamin D levels.
#2 Prevent Breast Cancer
JoEllen Welsh, a researcher with the State University of New York at Albany, has studied the effects of vitamin D for 25 years. She believes vitamin D may be just as powerful as the most modern anti-cancer drugs.
“What happens is that vitamin D enters the cells and triggers the cell death process. It’s similar to what we see when we treat cells with Tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer.”
Breast cancer risk drops by 30 percent when vitamin D levels reach 40 ng/mL, a relatively small amount. Observational data suggests an “Intake of 2000 IU/day of Vitamin D per day” can cause a, “reduction by 50% in incidence of breast cancer.” Another study showed, “800 IU/day of vitamin D may be associated with enhanced survival rates among breast cancer cases.”
Besides breast cancer, vitamin D has been shown to decrease the risk of all cancers in women.
“Improving calcium and vitamin D nutritional status substantially reduces all-cancer risk in postmenopausal women.”
#3 Stronger Bones
During pregnancy, the mother needs calcium for both her skeleton and the baby’s. Without vitamin D, calcium won’t be absorbed in the hard tissues like bone and teeth. This can cause bone loss and severe osteopenia for both the mother and the child. Vitamin D has also been shown to increase the absorption of calcium from food.
In 2007, researchers found that vitamin D deficient women were 77 percent more likely to suffer a hip fracture. Giving elderly women vitamin D has been shown to increase life expectancy by 6 percent (two years).
Brittle bones are though of as an unavoidable consequence of aging. It may be that this condition could be fixed with adequate vitamin D levels.
“Because vitamin D deficiency is preventable, heightened awareness is necessary to ensure adequate vitamin D nutrition…”
#4 Immune Support
Vitamin D supports the “Killer cells” of the immune system. These are important for seeking out and destroying pathogens.
These “Killer cells” lie dormant around the body until they’re needed to fend off an invader. They rely on signals from the body to be activated. Vitamin D is one of the most important ingredients for these signals. Vitamin D plays a role in the cell’s ability to go into alert mode, and tells the cell to calm down when the job is done. If the “Killer cell” continues to rampage through the body, it can cause collateral damage and may contribute to autoimmune disorders. Most cases of infertility have some level of autoimmune disturbance. When pregnant, it’s also beneficial to avoid disease, as this might lead to problems with the fetus.
#5 Avoiding Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is one of the leading causes of infertility. Most women with PCOS are vitamin D deficient. As this 2011 study concluded,
“…vitamin D deficiency is associated with multiple metabolic risk factors in PCOS women.”
The same study showed correlations between low vitamin D levels, insulin resistance, and inflammation, all of which contribute to PCOS.
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?
In one study, 93 percent of women with infertility were vitamin D deficient. In 2006, a study showed that 2/3 of women are vitamin D deficient. Sun exposure, skin color, location, and even omega-3 fat balance can influence your vitamin D levels. A Bulletproof diet will help ensure you get as much as possible, but testing and supplementation is wise. Again, the Vitamin D counsel recommends you take a minimum of 1000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight, and that is what my wife and I do.
Vitamin D should be a staple supplement for everyone, especially women. If you want to get pregnant – it’s essential.
Want more information on growing a health baby ? Check out the free blog over at Better Baby Book.