Vitamin D- Part II

In my earlier posting on Vitamin D, I talked about its role in boosting our immune systems, especially in the winter time, in regard to influenza, colds and other infections.

 

However, in recent months, information on Vitamin D has been flooding the news media. Insufficient Vitamin D levels are linked to diseases as diverse as osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and multiple sclerosis. Simply stated, insufficient Vitamin D weakens the immune system.

 

Vitamin D is an unusual vitamin in that we do not get it from food (except as added by the food industry), but rather from direct sunlight onto our skin.  Prior to the Industrial Revolution, people had no trouble getting significant amounts of sunshine and therefore Vitamin D. Nowadays, with people working more indoors, and dermatologists recognizing the connection between excessive sun exposure and skin cancer, people are wearing sunblock every time they step out the front door. Sunblock is now even put into cosmetics that women use routinely.

 

A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition speaks to the subject of dietary Vitamin D requirements during pregnancy and lactation.  It appears the current governmental recommendations of 200-400 International Units (IU’s)  per day are woefully inadequate; at least 1000 IU’s per day are required by a woman during her pregnancy to assure optimal nutrition for both her and her fetus. Some specialists are suggesting even higher doses are required during pregnancy.

 

          With regard to Vitamin D and cancer, Professor Michael Hollick from Tuft’s University is quoted in a recent interview as saying that in Europe an estimated 25% of women who die of breast cancer might not have died of their breast cancer if they would have maintained adequate Vitamin D levels throughout their life and had some sun exposure.  Dr. Hollick also linked inadequate Vitamin D to a higher risk of getting prostate cancer and colon cancer. This is congruent with the recent study published and widely circulated on international television that Vitamin D deficiency is a contributor to pancreatic cancer.

 

          In this same interview, Dr. Hollick also stated that there was some evidence that if young children are fortified with Vitamin D from the age of one year and on, it can  reduce by 80% their risk of getting Type I Diabetes. Dr. Hollick has also found high blood pressure can be responsive to Vitamin D.

 

          In the same interview, Professor Rebecca Mason noted that Vitamin D markedly increases cell survival and reduces the DNA damage in surviving cells. She also stated that her research shows cells treated with Vitamin D did much better after being exposed to ultraviolet light and that Vitamin D helps the body to kill cancer cells.

 

          In the same interview, Professor Terry Diamond pointed out that if you correct the Vitamin D deficiency in a population at higher risk for osteoporosis, you can reduce the risk of hip fractures by 25-40%.

 

          I attended a recent conference where Dr. Hollick spoke about how many patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia are sent to him. They almost always are deficient in Vitamin D. With Vitamin D replenishment the aches and pains, especially in the neck and shoulders, often disappear. Dr. Hollick points out that these patients have osteomalacia rather than fibromyalgia and Vitamin D corrects the osteomalacia. [What is osteomalacia?] I have observed that Vitamin D replacement has indeed had this same effect on many of my own patients.

 

          The question about adequacy of Vitamin D is compounded by the government’s current recommendations of normalcy. Most laboratories are still reporting a normal blood level of Vitamin D as greater than 20 ng/mL.  In point of fact, Dr. Hollick’s research indicates that a minimum level is approximately 30 ng/mL.

 

          In many holistic practices of medicine, including mine, when treating people with diseases which have a Vitamin D insufficiency connection, we will endeavor to get the Vitamin D level over 50 ng/mL.  Please note that safe levels go up to 100 ng/mL.

 

          Of note, many physicians are ordering the wrong Vitamin D test. The correct Vitamin D test to order is 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D and not 25 Di-Hydroxy Vitamin D.

 

          Because of the newly recognized critical importance of this vitamin, I now routinely check all new patients and all current patients at their annual physical, for a Vitamin D level, just as I would check their cholesterol and their blood sugar.

 

          So far in my practice, approximately 90% of all new patients are insufficient or deficient in Vitamin D.

 

          If you are my patient and have health risks in any of the medical areas  I have mentioned above, please ask me to check your Vitamin D level.  If you are  not my patient, please ask your primary care physician to appropriately check your levels and prescribe therapy as needed to correct any insufficiency or deficiency.

 

 

About Dr. Soram Khalsa

As an MD, Dr Soram specializes in Integrative Medicine combining diet, nutrition, acupuncture, herbs and nutrition. Visit Dr Soram’s Healthy Living Store where you’ll find high-quality nutritional supplements:

  • Prudence Fenton

    My blood results indicated that I was very low in Vitamin D. I just started taking Vitamin D weekly pill prescribed by Dr. Khalsa and within 24 hours I noticed huge changes. All chapped areas miraculously healed. I had a better sleep. I think you are on to something with this Vitamin D.

  • Rob Guralnick

    Is there a difference between vitamen D and D3??????

  • Tina Cranmer

    A good friend was kind enough to share your newsletter with me and I’m writing to thank you for the wonderful article on Vitamin D. Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and after seeing a naturopathic doctor he recommended I take Vitamin D supplements. Now that I’ve read your article I understand why. I also live in Gig Harbor, WA where we have a lot of overcast, rainy days, and your article is an important reminder of the value of sunshine and vitamin D.

  • Susana Funsten

    Please let me know what brand of Vitamin D you recommend for us to purchase.
    Thanks,
    Susana

  • Siri Ram K Khalsa

    Thank you, Dr. Soram, for this very informative article. May I ask what is your recommended daily VIT D dose and in what form? Also, do you recommend some sun exposure as well?

    God bless.
    p.s. I happen to have the flu now and want to get started asap on my VIT D!

  • Hermine Kosta

    Please e-mail to me the first article on vitamin D that Dr. Soram wrote. I did not receive his first e-mail article. Thank you.

    Hermine

  • Siri Ram K Khalsa

    Hello again. I really appreciated this information and sent a few questions. I will try again because it does not look like my first inquiry was received.

    Basically, in the article it notes that if a woman is pregnant she needs 1000 IU’s of VIT D per day. What is the recommended dose for a woman who is not pregnant and what is the best form?

    My second question was, do you recommend any amount of sun exposure?

    Thanks so much. Hope to hear from you.

  • great post on colon cancer

  • Thank you vitamins !
    The best time of day for Vitamin D is 10am to 2pm.

  • Thank you Tina! I am so glad that my article and my book were helpful to you! That is why I am writing! Please keep your levels optimized in the blood!
    Best wishes,
    Dr Soram

  • sash

    Thank you for this page.
    I have been researching for awhile as I have a friend who has Multiple Sclerosis.

    Vitamin D is fat soluable so sources from cod liver oil and lanolin from the glands on sheeps skin are very good bioavailable forms of D3.

    I think they are better than swallowing a dry pill.

    Of course the sun is the best form of Vitamin D but if you have a disability and you rely on other people to take you out (like my friend) it is hard to get enough from sun.

    Also other intersting information about carotenoid family of nutrients. They are very good for protecting your skin cells against damage from the sun. So if you’re a sun lover isnt that cool 🙂

    Sash

  • Thanks Sasha
    Taking enough Cod Liver oil to get sufficient D from it alone will often cause a Vitamid A toxicity as there is more A than D in Cod liver oil.
    Vitamin D caps are MADE from lanolin as the starting ingredient but I would not advise “taking” lanolin as a good way to get Vitamin D.
    Especially because good pharmaceutical D is available at supermarket prices on my website !

    Here is a link :