Vitamin D and Helper Nutrients

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Vitamin D’s Helper Nutrients

In order to work effectively in the body, vitamin D needs certain cofactor nutrients. Vitamin D is metabolized by enzymes of the Cytochrome P-450 system. These enzymes require magnesium to facilitate their function. Subclinical magnesium deficiencies are common because many of us do not eat enough of the foods that contain magnesium (green vegetables, nuts, and whole grains). Research supports the fact that a majority of Americans are magnesium deficient. Besides playing a role as a cofactor for numerous enzymes, magnesium plays other significant roles in the body, including supporting bone health, nerve transmission and muscle function. Magnesium also promotes cardiovascular function.

Some very important calcium proteins, called Vitamin K dependent proteins, need adequate amounts of vitamin K to work properly. Vitamin K promotes calcium formation in bone but prevents deposition in other organs. The best source of vitamin K is green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale. How often do you eat those vegetables? Furthermore, research shows that K2, the preferred supplemental form of vitamin K, plays a large role in cardiovascular health in addition to its role in supporting bone health.

In addition to ensuring sufficient magnesium and vitamin K levels, vitamin D requires zinc to perform its designated functions. The Vitamin D Receptor is like a glove, and the base of the fingers of the glove is a zinc molecule. Thus, in those who are zinc deficient, vitamin D cannot function properly. Zinc deficiencies are common, especially in those who eat little meat.

Boron may be another key mineral for enabling vitamin D’s beneficial biological effects. While little is known about boron, other than it is common in green vegetables, fruit and nuts, a number of studies have found that it is important for facilitating the actions of vitamin D on the cell wall. Studies show many Americans get little Boron, again because green vegetables, fruit, nuts, and whole grains are not consumed as often as they should be.

Thus, the key to health remains 5,000 IU of vitamin D a day and a healthy diet, one rich in colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grains, adequate protein, and cold-water fatty fish, a diet that is varied, containing many different foods, and one that is low in foods that contain “empty calories.” For added insurance, everyone should be on a multivitamin containing sufficient levels of magnesium, vitamin K, zinc and boron, among the other essential vitamins and minerals.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Vitamin D – the Vitamin of the 21st Century

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