Dec 172011
 

First the good news. We evolved in a sunny tropical or subtropical climate in Africa. We spent most of the day in the sun that for most of the day was high enough in the sky to allow us to produce high amounts of vitamin D in our skin. We evolved dark melanin pigments to protect our skin from the intense sun. In spite of dark skin we produced an abundance of vitamin D.

Chemical structure of cholecalciferol, aka vit...

Image via Wikipedia

Vitamin D is not really a vitamin at all. It is more akin to a hormone, a substance produced in one part of our body that modifies the physiology in other parts of our body. Essentially hormones are chemical messengers. Technically, vitamin D is a prohormone that is converted to the hormone calcitrol as needed. Its functions evolved over 750 million years ago in ocean plankton.

Vitamin/prohormone D affects many tissues including bone, the immune system, and the brain, skin and endocrine systems. It is known to be useful in the prevention and treatment of many cancers, autoimmune diseases including MS and lupus, many types of infections, depression, als, parkinsonism, autism, learning disabilities, heart disease, and diabetes.

Here is list of about 100 conditions that may be related to vitamin D deficiency. http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/

The other good news is that vitamin D is fat soluble and stored in our fat tissues. It takes weeks or months to deplete a healthy individual with good stores of vitamin D.

Now the bad news. In Oregon and indeed most of the United States and the temperate regions of the globe most of us our deficient in vitamin D.

There is simply not enough intense sunlight for our skin to make vitamin D. Most of us are generally clothed over most of our bodies and even if we were exposed to the sun it only has enough intensity for a few hours in the summer and on the sunniest winter days its light is impotent as far the essential uv wavelengths go to penetrate the skin.

If you are interested in estimating you likely vitamin/hormone D production from the sun a solar calculator that takes into account our latitude, cloud cover, season and time of day and skin color. Here is one such calculator… http://www.natureshelpermedical.com/Vitamin_D_Calculator.html

When the Africans migrated into Europe over a period of generations they lost much of their pigmentation. Those with darker skin were much more likely to succumb at a young age from a variety of diseases caused by vitamin deficiency. If you are fortunate to be one of the surviving light skinned mutants your light needs are indeed less. But don’t be fooled into believing you are just fine in an Oregon winter.

One more bit of good and bad news. The good news is that we can absorb and utilize vitamin D taken orally. The bad news is that vitamin D essentially occurs rarely in foods.

Historically the recommended levels of vitamin D were based on the amount needed to prevent rickets (bone deformites caused by the deficiencies affects on calcium metabolism). Now we know much much higher levels are needed to optimally protect against the multitude of diseases related to deficiency. Additionally, we have learned it is difficult to get too much vitamin D. Generally, more is better than less. Some people don’t seem to be able to easily raise their vitamin D levels. Several nutritional cofactors are needed, especially adequate magnesium. It is also important to take the most bioactive form of vitamin D known as vitamin D-3 or  cholcalciferol.

The 25-hydroxy vitamin D test is the most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body. Normal range is generally considered to be about 30.0 to 74.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). But for serious illness levels of up to about 100 ng/ml may be desirable.

In the absence of blood tests I am comfortable with a daily dose of 5,000 iu /day and even 10,000 iu /day for a few months for adults. For children over two years old I am comfortable with 2,000 iu /day and twice that for a few weeks at a time. Here are the amounts suggested by the Vitamin D council.  http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-to-get-your-vitamin-d/vitamin-d-supplementation/

  • Healthy children under the age of 1 years – 1,000 IU.
  • Healthy children over the age of 1 years – 1,000 IU per every 25 lbs of body weight.
  • Healthy adults and adolescents – at least 5,000 IU.
  • Pregnant and lactating mothers – at least 6,000 IU.

I keep different vitamin D supplements at my office to fit the needs of different ages and preferences.

  1.  Pure encapsulations 5,000 iu caps
  2. Pure encapsulations 10,000 iu caps
  3. Pharmax 1000 iu chewable tables
  4. Biotics Bio-D-Emulsion Forte 2,000 iu/drop

Come in and get some or go to our pure encapsulations store or web store.

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