Health & Medical

Hi Sunshine: A Primer on Vitamin D

I watched with interest to see the Peacock fly to the roof of his roost and greet the warmth of the morning sun. I walked down the garden path later in the day and saw old yellow basking in the noon day sun. Down by the Lily ponds a few guests that had come to the health retreat were soaking up the warmth of the sun’s rays. I mused to myself that our sun is the source of life on earth.

Back in the 19th century, when the United States was an agrarian society, the farms were labor intensive, but with the mechanization that has taken place, there has been a mass migration to city centers around the US during the last century. Back then cancer was a disease of the aged.

Today, we shun the sun because we have been warned over and over again that you will get skin cancer from the sun. In reality we need the sun to produce Vitamin D. In reality, it is only over exposure and those who are very fair that need to be cautious about the sun. The fact is that 3 out of 4 Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, because of their sun aversion and the fact they spend their day toiling under artificial light, or live in the northern half of the US and don’t get enough sun rays in the winter.

Two medical researchers hypothesized that there was a direct correlation between the incidence of cancer and lack of sun exposure. In other words, sufficient vitamin D was essential for good health and the ability to avoid cancer. Since then statistical data has supported their theory that most people in the northern half of the United States have a higher incidence of a variety of cancers due to the lack of vitamin D. It is now the belief of Dr. Cedric Garland that about 80% of all types of cancers could be eradicated in a decade or so if we eliminated the gross deficiency of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but a hormone that requires a specific wave length of light to energize specific nutrients in our skin to be converted to Vitamin D. The process works well between 11 AM and 1 PM when the sun is at its highest and only a 15 to 20 minute exposure is required. The Vitamin D is essential for proper cell reproduction and over 1000 of our genes have a receptor site for Vitamin D. It is also theorized that when Vitamin D is deficient in our bodies and the receptor sites for Vitamin D going wanting, that toxins begin to attach to these receptor sites and change the cell reproduction that leads to cancers. A recent Oxford study seems to confirm this.

Currently, the wisdom is that the normal Vitamin D blood value range is between 30 and 100 units. Three out of four Americans are under 30 units. Sloan Kettering has confirmed this in their own study of cancer patients. The Canadian Cancer Society has encouraged all cancer patients to take 1000 iu’s of Vitamin D3 daily. Vitamin D2 is not the best metabolized form and should be avoided. Taking Vitamin D is not a cure when the disease process has progressed too far, but there are those who will benefit.

In the US, up till now our private and public medical institutions have been basically silent on the issue. Mainly because over the last 80 years the wisdom has been that more than 400 IU’s of Vitamin D taken
orally could be dangerous to your health. I was taught this in pharmacy school. Current research is saying the very opposite.

Currently, the National Institute of Health is reviewing the nutritional guidelines and it has been announced that in the fall of 2010, they will present new recommendations for daily minimum requirements for vitamin D. A learned panel of medical researchers have meet in closed meeting for over a year that ended in March 2010 to analyze all the data need to announce their new guidelines. (See my follow up column covering the NIH’s findings)

Vitamin D is only one essential component of avoiding cancer. In addition, avoiding or reducing sources of toxins as well as insuring that all nutrient components for a healthy life are present are essential requirements.

It is up to our public medical institutions in Washington to change this paradigm. When it is announced what the new guidelines for Vitamin D are we will see if this is a first good step.

T. Braun, Pharmacist, Buyer, Marketing Executive for a Major Drug Chain. Active for over 45 years in Pharmacy.

Legal Stuff: Disclaimer – This document is informational in nature. Medical advice should be secured through your physician.

 

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