Nationwide Vitamin D Deficiency
On August 3, 2009, health headlines everywhere reported that a whopping 70% of children are Vitamin D deficient. And this is likely worse today.
The media attention came after The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2004 analyzed data of six thousand children, ages one to twenty-one, and found that:
“9 percent of the study sample or the equivalent to 7.6 million children in the U.S. was Vitamin D deficient and that another 61 percent (50.8 million) was Vitamin D “insufficient”; technically not as bad as a deficiency, but nonetheless unacceptable and can lead to chronic health conditions.”
The study suggested that the children who were more likely to be Vitamin D deficient were of African-American or Mexican-American descent, obese, and/or who spent more than four hours per day indoors watching TV, playing video games, or using the computer.
The researchers in the study led by Dr. Juhi Kumar, a fellow in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, reported that:
“We expected the prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency would be high, but the magnitude of the problem nationwide was shocking.“
Lack of Sun is a Factor
Dr. Melamed, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine said:
“We know from earlier NHANES data that Vitamin D levels have declined over the last 20 years. Kids have more sedentary lifestyles today and are not spending as much time outdoors. The widespread use of sunscreens, which block UV-B rays, has only compounded the problem.“
So this brings up the obvious question: How does the body synthesize Vitamin D?
It uses UV-B sunlight. Of course, the widespread myth that the sun causes cancer (and wrinkles) has scared everyone into covering up when venturing outside (The Sun and Skin Cancer).
Did you know that there are studies that are not only disproving this claim, but also proving that consistent sun exposure decreases the chances of skin cancer? Here’s an interesting quote from the must-read report, “Sunlight Robbery”:
“…there are real doubts about the way in which sun exposure causes melanoma. Adults who work outdoors and children who play outdoors are regularly exposed to the sun and are less likely to develop melanoma than those who work or play more indoors. While people who have irregular exposure to the sun and those who recall being sunburnt have a higher risk of melanoma, especially if they have a fair skin type. Occasional exposure of skin to sunlight appears to carry the greatest risk of melanoma, while regular exposure of skin to sunlight appears to protect against melanoma, probably because it provides higher levels of vitamin D which are protective against cancer in general.”
However not everyone can spend the time needed in the sun, so what about Vitamin D supplements?
Prescription Synthetic Vitamin D2 vs. Natural Vitamin D3 Supplement – Which Is Best?
For decades, Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) have been regarded as “equivalent and interchangeable.” However, it is now known that this is untrue.
Recent studies have shown that Vitamin D3 is the more potent form of Vitamin D.
“One unit of cod liver oil (containing vitamin D3) has been shown to be as effective as four units of Viosterol (a pharmaceutical preparation of vitamin D2.)”
Thus, less of the natural form of Vitamin D is required for optimal results.
Vitamin D3 Proven Superior
In 2006, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition brought to light this exact point.
The 25-hydroxyvitamin D lab test which measures the status of Vitamin D in your body put the question of whether D2 is equal to D3 to rest.
“The emergence of 25-hydroxyVitamin D as a measure of Vitamin D status provides an objective, quantitative measure of the biological response to Vitamin D administration. As a result, Vitamin D3 has proven to be the more potent form of Vitamin D in all primate species, including humans.
Despite an emerging body of evidence suggesting several plausible explanations for the greater bioefficacy of Vitamin D3, the form of Vitamin D used in major preparations of prescriptions in North America is Vitamin D2.”
However, despite the research, Vitamin D2 is still used in prescriptions!
The report continues:
“Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, should not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation or fortification.”
Yet, as always medical change is slow to come.
The Medical Science Dilemma About Vitamin D Toxicity
Now, here comes the dilemma of medical science and the “toxicity” of Vitamin D.
Though research studies have not proven that Vitamin D is toxic, because of the mindset that it is (just as with Vitamin A), there are still many who claim that further research is needed to establish optimal dosage and target groups.
In fact, a very interesting review in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007 concluded that:
“Collectively, the absence of toxicity in trials conducted in healthy adults that used Vitamin D dose 250 µg/d (10,000 IU Vitamin D3) supports the confident selection of this value as the UL.”
That bears repeating— 10,000 IU PER DAY! So why are limits set at 400 IU per day?
Where do these claims of toxicity come from?
As far as I can tell, there are three possibilities:
One: One documented case of a Vitamin D overdose was a man who had unknowingly been taking between 156,000–2,604,000 IU of Vitamin D (cholecalciferol) per day because the supplement contained as much as 430 times the amount of Vitamin D than was stated on the label. That’s like taking 400 – 6,500 pills of the 400 IU per day for two years! WOW! But, guess what? Even at such ridiculously high dosages, the man didn’t die! He totally recovered! Amazing, since we are consistently being told by medical dogma that Vitamin D is toxic over 2000 IU!
Two: Vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia (too much calcium). However, all known cases of Vitamin D toxicity that could possibly have caused hypercalcemia involved dosages of 40, 000 IU+! This, by the way, is congruent with what the medical scientists already knew!
Three: Vitamin D is known as a powerful tool against cancer (The Sun and Skin Cancer) and autoimmune such as multiple sclerosis (Vitamin D Key Factor in Multiple Sclerosis). Yet, it is ignored by conventional medicine.
Imagine a world with no cancer, autoimmune (MS), osteoporosis and other health conditions that plague us today. Who (or what) would suffer if this were true? The simple answer is of course bottom line profits! When talking about MS alone, the cost of interferon therapy such as Avonex typically costs between $24,000 and $30,000 dollars a year! And that’s only one possible drug.
The cost of Vitamin D3? You can buy a bottle of 1000 IU for around 10 dollars…
It’s interesting what you uncover when you follow the money!