Vitamin D Part I: Good News About D

September 27, 2005Vitamin D Part One Competency #17  Vitamin D Reference:  Journal Clinical Nutrition Nov 2005 Special Supplement: First International Symposium on Vitamin D;  Clinical Nutrition Sept 2005. There is stunning new information out on Vitamin D that most doctors don't know.  This is original source material.   Journal Clinical Nutrition Nov 2005 Special Supplement: First International Symposium on Vitamin D. We think of Vit D as being important for bones and Calcium.  That is how it was discovered, right here in Wisconsin at UW in Madison.  At that time, 80-90% of children living in major northern cities had some forms of rickets because of poor sunlight, long winters and horrible smog from industrial pollution.  Adding Vit D to milk has been one of the 20th centuries major health victories. Fortified milk, fortified OJ and a few dark-meated fish are the ONLY food you get Vit D from.  Normally, your body makes if from sunlight exposure.  Here are the new facts you need to know (and there will be more next week on it too!): 1.  Living in Wisconsin, the sun gets too low starting around Oct 15th or so, for you to get any vitamin D from the sun.  For the next six months, you will only get it from what you eat.  Even if you are outside a lot, the angle of the sun is just too low.  All the UVB gets absorbed in the atmosphere.    During the summer, you will make 15-20,000 U of Vit D with 10-15 minutes of mid day sun exposure wearing t-shirt and shorts.  If you have average Caucasian skin (tans mostly, can burn) or if you are darker pigmented skin, you need up to five times the sun exposure.  And, as you age, your skin gets less efficient so that by age 70, you only make 25% as much as what you once did.  Older African Americans would conceivably need 4-5 hours of full sun a day to get the same amount of Vit D.  It doesn't happen!  And in winter, it can't. 2.  Fortified Milk and fortified orange juice are the only sources left.  If you don't drink 1/2 gallon of milk a day, you don't get 400 units, the current minimum.  If you are lactose intolerant, you get none.  You only have OJ left as a food source. 3.  Vit D has been found to have huge numbers of effects outside of bone and calcium metabolism.  Here is why. •Vit D is present in every living cell on this planet.  It is the signal to mature into the cell you were meant to be…much more than just bone modeling. •For starters, our current recommended dose of 400u a day for most adults and 600u a day for seniors is likely AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE TOO LOW.   This month’s newsletter, "Environmental Nutrition" cites studies showing no adverse effects with 10,000 units a day. •Frail elderly, with a chief complaint of frequent falling (a major health risk for 80 year olds), given 2000 units a day, drop their incidence of falls by 50% over control groups, and can walk twice the distance.  If you have elderly parents, they need to start on orally supplemented Vit D today!  Mine have. 4.  Does a Vit Pill have enough?   NO!  It only has 400 units.  You need it for everything else, but it is very low in D.  That will be raised within the next year or so, but for now, we are way too low.  The new food guidelines didn't have time to put in new recommendations, so they could only add a little comment at the end that said that we probably need more. Next week:  the effects of Vit D on breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, hypertension, fibromyalgia.... (does that leave anyone out?) This week, go you your local Aurora Pharmacy and ask if they have pure Vit D.  They can order it.  Sinai's pharmacy has it.  Have them call Sinai to find out where they can get it.  Outpost Natural Foods has it.  Walgreens, so far, hasn't had it when I've explored.  It costs about 2-4 cents a tab. WWW: What will work for me:  I get out in the sun for 20-30 minutes twice a week all summer.   I love it.  Not enough to burn.  I wear a hat.  I just started taking 2 tabs a day along with my vitamin pill.  I'm spending all day indoors these days as work gears up in the fall.