25 Apr

The Second Coming — Vitamin D?

Filed under: Nutritional Health No Responses

Vitamin D

With so many possible interventions, the media has hyped this nutrient as noteworthy as techies have pumped up Apple’s iPad. When the New York Times states that consumers spent some serious coin on “the D” with a price tag of $235 million in 2008 (up from $40 million in 2001), I’d say it’s time to review the literature and deliver the goods on what science is intending to say, minus the propaganda and publicity.

With such a health benefit bonanza, much confusion comes with finding true importance, doses and, cost values when such a frenzy hits the market.

Let’s start by knocking out 61 years of investigation:
The Journal of Endocrine Practice published a review of ALL research papers published from 1948 to 2009. The results determined which studies were performed under the most reliable and credible standards. Only 13 papers made the cut!

Of those papers that were critically assessed, it was revealed that . . .
We need to do more research (not totally kidding), as results showed some strong evidence supporting Vitamin D therapy for the FLU (influenza), viral upper respiratory tract illnesses, and tuberculosis.

There were other tests done with Vitamin D and its effects on bacterial and viral infections, HIV, fungal, parasitic infections, and hepatitis B. The tests were somewhat positive; unfortunately, they didn’t follow reliable testing protocol; therefore, not counted.

Until recently. . .
Heart disease, diabetes mellitus, cancer, infection, and autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis) have all shown encouraging to very convincing results for supplementing one’s diet with Vitamin D.

Here’s why:
Metaphor
– If your car did not have seats, pedals, or a steering wheel, it’s not useful for taking you where you need to go, thus having no value in the world of transportation.

In the body – There are seats, pedals, and steering wheels (known as receptors) for Vitamin D in these organs (different vehicles):
– -Brain
– -Prostate
– -Breast
– -Colon
– -Heart
– -Immune System Cells

Without enough Vitamin D driving these organs, they will not run properly, causing potential for some of the leading diseases.

Where should you get your “D”?
Sunlight helps in a big way, but what if you live in your office, or the sun isn’t out, or you’re afraid of wrinkles or skin cancer. If you’re using sun block greater than SPF 15, Vitamin D production is reduced by 99%. [New England Journal of Medicine 2007]

Then eat salmon, mackerel, and sardines!
Fortified milk and cereals have extra Vitamin D added.
Sadly, this is still not enough . . .

Supplements (two types):
– D2 for vegetarians – from plants and yeast – one third as effective as Vitamin D3;
– D3 – derived from the lanolin of sheep; more potent that Vitamin D2

Dosing up on D:
If you are D deficient, crank up your intake –
———- 50,000 IU (D2 or D3) – once a week for 8 to 12 weeks

If you are just maintaining your normal levels –
Pick either approach:
———– Monthly
– 50,000 IU (D2 or D3) every 2-4 weeks [NEJM, Journal Am Coll Cardiol]

Or
———– Daily supplements of 1,000 D3 daily or 3,000 IU D2 daily [JACC]

How to know if you are deficient?
There are blood tests available that determine exactly whether you are in need or not. It takes the guess work out, especially if someone takes pretty good care of themselves. They may be in for a surprise.

After a good 3 to 6 months of supplementation, it would be ideal to recheck your Vitamin D levels.

Even though dosing on “D” is safe, simple, and relatively inexpensive, don’t overdo it. Excess of 10,000 units a day can get you some wicked kidney stones.

Are you “Doing the D”?
Please comment on your own experiences and share how this information will benefit a family member or friend.

Written on April 25 2010 and is filed under Nutritional Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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