Vitamin D

Today, Dr Johnnie A Lee, MD, MPH, FACP, was the lecturer at Sherman Oaks Hospital, expounding on Vitamin D deficiency, symptoms being muscle weakness, fatigue, mood, cardiovascular disease, even cancers. From other sources, I am adding diabetes, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and immune dysfunction.

The significance of Vitamin D came to light not too many years ago through an unintended consequence of scientific research. The upshot is we need far more Vitamin D than the 400 IU/day originally thought. I suspect we only know a fraction of how fabulous this free resource is for ensuring a healthy body and mind…

The bottom line is 1) we don’t know yet how many pathways/diseases it positively influences and 2) sunlight is a far better resource than any supplement or food, whether Vitamin D2 (from supplements derived from plants) or Vitamin D3 (from sun or diet – deep sea fatty fish, egg yolks, or liver).

Here’s why Vitamin D3 from sunshine (produced in the skin in response to ultraviolet B radiation) is the far better choice:

Twenty minutes lying in the sun (in a bathing suit or naked) produces the equivalent of 15,000 to 20,000 IU of Vitamin D3 whereas cod liver oil – that children have hated so much (it’s tastier these days) – has 1360 IUs per serving, with salmon at 447, tuna 154, and sardines, 46.

Blacks, latinos, anyone with darker skin have an increased need as there is more melanin in dark skin, inhibiting absorption. (As does sun block.)

Best to lie out at noon when the sun is directly overhead. Even for ten minutes if you’re short on time.

It’s a great excuse to slow down, relax and enjoy a mini siesta!

Sunshine rules!

PS Of course not everyone lives where the sun shines daily, so get tested. An optimal serum blood level of Vitamin D is 50 or more, not 30. Those with a major depletion from malabsorption or living under a rock 50,000 IU daily for 8 weeks is recommended. Otherwise try taking 1,000 to 2,000 of Vitamin D2 or D3 daily or every other day and re-testing in three months.