Blood tests tell us what is happening at the time the blood was drawn. Is there any blood test that predicts future health with a decent degree of accuracy?
European researchers working with the University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium conducted a study on European Male Aging and posted their results recently at the 22nd European Congress of Endocrinology. Their study stated that free, circulating vitamin D levels in the bloodstream are probably a good predictor of future health. Additionally, this same test may predict disease risk in older males.
Importance of Vitamin D
We have heard most of our lives that we need vitamin D for healthy bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (https://www.nof.org/healthy-bones-guide-vitamin-d/) tells us that adults under the age of 50 need a total of 400-800 international units (IUs) of vitamin D daily. If you are over 50 years of age, you should take up to 1000 IUs daily.
Is this realistic? From my personal experience, I can assure you that at 1000 IUs of supplemental vitamin D3 daily will provide enough free, circulating vitamin D levels. WebMD (https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/vitamin-d-deficiency#1), as of this year, is defining a deficiency of vitamin D3 in the body as 12 ng/mL. They also define adequate levels of vitamin D3 as between 20 ng/mL-50 ng/mL.
Years ago, medical professionals set the lower limits for health at 20 ng/mL. It was raised not long ago to 30 ng/mL as the absolute bottom – anything below that is considered deficient. If you want good health, you need to set your lower bar at 50 ng/mL( https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2016/1/why-isnt-everyone-supplementing-with-vitamin-d) according to Life Extension magazine.
Life Extension magazine is one of my primary sources of information for health and wellness, especially anything dedicated to longevity. The 25-hydroxy/vitamin D blood test is one that I get on every annual physical. I have adjusted my daily supplemental intake of vitamin D3 over the years and I cannot maintain free, circulating vitamin D levels above 50 ng/mL by taking anything remotely in the range of what is recommended by most health professionals.
Vitamin D Worldwide
Most Americans and about one-fifth of all humans are deficient or have low levels of vitamin D. Our bodies convert sunlight into vitamin D. We can get vitamin D from some foods. We are told that we need to cover up, wear long-sleeved shirts, wear a hat, wear sunblock, do not remain in the sun very long because we might get skin cancer. Yet, if the primary source of vitamin D is the sun, why are we avoiding it?
The lighter the color of your skin, the more sunlight will be converted into vitamin D3. Visualize the world and the population centers nearer the equator where the sun shines the most. Skin color is darker, as a rule than those living in the extreme northern or southern countries. The darker the skin tone the longer it takes the body to convert sunlight into usable vitamin D.
As we age, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cognitive decline are expected results of aging health. These diseases are also the result of low levels or deficiency in vitamin D.
Free, Circulating Vitamin D Levels
The European Study on Male Aging collected and analyzed data on nearly 2,000 adult males between the ages of 40 and 70 years. Blood tests, age, body mass, lifestyle, current health, and other factors were reviewed. Most vitamin D in the bloodstream is tied to proteins. Free, circulating vitamin D is believed to be the true predictor of future health.
The vitamin D levels were assessed – both the free 25-hydroxyvitamin D and the 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D. Total vitamin D levels and Free 25-hydroxyvitamin D is considered predictive of future health.
There are four chemicals you must have in your body to get calcium to your bones to offset the age-related bone loss. Obviously, you need a good quality source of calcium – food! Most calcium supplements are calcium carbonate which is not a great source of calcium.
Magnesium is also required to help the absorption of calcium. As calcium is leaving the stomach, the duodenum will absorb the calcium into the bloodstream if you have enough vitamin D3. Otherwise, calcium ends up in the toilet. The story does not end there. I had a major argument with my wife’s oncologist that ended up in us not talking for about three of my wife’s follow-up visits from her breast cancer years ago.
Just because you have calcium in your bloodstream and you have vitamin D also circulating, it does not guarantee where the calcium will be deposited. If you are deficient in vitamin K2, the calcium will be deposited in your heart valves and arteries, not your bones.
You must have vitamin K2 to get the calcium to your bones. (https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2010/9/brittle-bones-hardened-arteries). Vitamin K2 is unique in that it can direct calcium molecules to the bones and prepare the bone chemicals for acceptance of calcium. Japan uses vitamin K2 to remove hardened calcium plaque from the heart arteries. Life Extension has been reporting on this also as a reason to maintain vitamin K2 levels in the body. (https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2015/7/turning-to-stone)
Vitamin D3 is a must-have for future health. Vitamin D3 levels must be at least 50 ng/mL. My vitamin D3 levels run around 80 ng/mL annually. I used to take vitamin D3 at doses of 15,000 IUs in the summer and 20,000 IUs in the winter. With COVID-19 rampant, my wife and I take 20,000 IUs daily no matter the season. Some studies show that vitamin D3 blocks the ACE2 receptor that the SARS-CoV-2 virus attaches to in the body.
Do not increase vitamin D3 levels by supplementation if you are on any prescription medicines – talk to your doctor first. Blood thinners and vitamin K2 are not recommended together. Talk to your physician about blood thinners that will allow vitamin K2 in your diet. Never start any new health regimen without talking to your doctor first.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com