Vitamin D deficiency is linked to cardiovascular disease, strokes, various cancers (breast, prostate, colon), osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases (including MS), pain, flu, loss of cognitive function, diabetes (1 and 2), decreased strength, and depression. “Deficiency of vitamin D is now recognized as a pandemic, with more than half of the world’s population at risk.(1)” 50% of the healthy North American population and more than 80% of those with chronic diseases are vitamin D deficient. Those with vitamin D deficiency experience 39% higher annual healthcare costs.
Vitamin D and Cancer
Raising the year-around blood levels of vitamin D to 40-60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L) would prevent 58,000 cases of breast cancer and 49,000 cases of colorectal cancer each year, and 3/4 of deaths from these diseases in the US and Canada. These levels could reduce case-fatality rates of patients who have breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer by half.(2)
A 2 year old benefits from Vitamin D
A 2 year old chiropractic patient was having trouble sleeping. Mom leads a healthy lifestyle for her daughter-breastfed, healthy food, lots of physical activity, chiropractic care since birth. With my suggestion she tried vitamin D*. Mom wrote soon after: “…drastic improvement we have seen with (her) sleep patterns since starting Vt. D (1600 IU/day); for the first time in months she woke up only once per night for the following 7 nights and slept through the night last night for the first time in a long time. We are beyond thrilled! You continue to be my miracle worker and have returned some sanity to this family! Thank you!”
*Check VitaminDcouncil.org for dosages for infants and children. They recommend 1,000IU per 25 lbs body weight.
Update on My Personal Experience with Vitamin D
I’ve tested my vitamin D level 4 times in the past year using our office finger prick kits. My test results:
September 2012: 32 ng/ml. Not in the ideal range. For the next 4 months I took 10,000 IU per day (5,000 AM + PM).
January 2013: 65 ng/ml. 32 to 65 in 4 months with 10,000 IU/day. I wrote about my health improvements in prior news.
May 2013: 64 ng/ml. Level stayed constant with 10,000 IU per day; I will drop to 5,000 IU for the summer months.
September 2013: 54 ng/ml. Even with sun + 5,000 IU/day, level dropped 10 points. I am back on 10,000 IU/day and will retest in 2014.
How to get the Vitamin D Your Body Needs(3)
Two ways: Expose your bare skin to sunlight and by taking vitamin D3 supplements. Most of you are indoors during the day, so sun is out. Vitamin D tests are easy and supplements are inexpensive. Your goal is to get your blood level of vitamin D to over 50 ng/ml (higher with certain illnesses). Sarcoidosis patients (and other granulomatous diseases) should not supplement with vitamin D because it increases granuloma production, increasing risk of hypercalcemia.
After you know your blood level, a loading dose of supplemental vitamin D3 of 10,000 IU/day for 4 months and maintenance dose of 5,000 IU/day may be what you need to get and keep your levels healthy. NOTE: Only do this under a doctor’s supervision. Remember, some medical physicians prescribe doses of 50,000 IU/week when low.
We have 3 forms of Vitamin D3 supplements available in the office: liquid drops, gelcaps, and tablets, from trusted companies and inexpensive. The liquid drops are available in 1,000 IU for children and 4,000 IU for adults.
Testing your Vitamin D level
You can test at our office with a finger prick kit for $99, using zrtlab.com for analysis. Alternatively, have your medical physician test your Vitamin D3 with your next blood test. Follow-ups are needed.
Sun Exposure and Vitamin D
The most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). This can happen quickly; you don’t need to tan or burn. Visit VitaminDCouncil.org for how to do it. Boston only has 4 months of adequate sun, from Mid-April to Mid-August. With skin type III, the charts state I’d need an hour of midday sun to make 1000 IU of D. Do you have time for that? You may be sun-sensitive and told to avoid all sun anyway. Supplements are the way. For more information, read my June 2013 post here.
Make sure you are supplementing with vitamin D if you are breast-feeding!
1. Integrative Medicine Vol. 9, No. 1, Feb/Mar 2010 Joseph Pizzorno, ND, Editor in Chief
2. Annals of Epidemiology Volume 19, Issue 7, July 2009, Pages 468-483
Thanks to Dan Murphy, DC for providing Vitamin D research.