For several months the news has been all over the so-called newly-found benefits of Vitamin D (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because we absorb Vitamin D when we are exposed to the sun. However, this is the inactive form of Vitamin D and it must therefore be transported to the liver and kidneys for conversion into calcitriol, the active form of Vitamin D which promotes the absorption of minerals, especially calcium and, as a hormone, promotes the growth and reconstruction of bone. While deficiency symptoms of Vitamin D cannot be disputed – rickets, osteoporosis, depression, cardiovascular conditions and some bone-related health problems – the recent news reports are completely overdone.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin meaning that the body does not easily eliminate excessive amounts and therefore a build-up of Vitamin D levels is entirely possible. While acute symptoms include poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, low energy, frequent urination and kidney problems there is also evidence that long-term use will damage the arteries, including the coronary arteries. In fact, several years ago when I was researching the fortification of milk with Vitamin D I spoke with a Professor at Simon Fraser University whose research indicated that excess Vitamin D damaged the cardiovascular system including the coronary arteries.
What is interesting to me is that not one of these news reports are advising caution in any way when supplementing with Vitamin D. What is even more interesting to me is the question of who the organizations are behind the funding all of these studies (Big Pharma?), who is marketing it to the news media and who is reaping all the financial benefits. I don’t know about you, but I always proceed with caution when a “new miracle drug” hits the airwaves, especially with repeated media exposures. And furthermore, in over twenty years of practicing kinesiology and energy testing I can count the number of people in all those years who were in actual need of supplemental Vitamin D. Yet, I’ve now got people coming into my treatment room who report taking amounts of Vitamin D in excess of 8,000-10,000 I.U.’s per day! A recent study conducted by the University of Aberdeen in England has recently revealed that Vitamin D does not provide substantial support in preventing the onset of heart attacks or cancer! I expect similar studies to follow as the real facts on Vitamin D will be exposed. In the meantime, use common sense to make your health decisions and don’t rely on the media as an accurate source of health information.
It makes a lot more sense for all people, including babies and children, to spend more time outside. Even 20-30 minutes of exposure on a cloudy day with only the face and hands exposed will provide up 1,000 IU of Vitamin D. Live in a dark climate? All the the more reason to spend more time outside instead of trying to rely on a pill to solve “indoor” health problems. Any prolonged exposure of the skin to sunlight does not produce toxic amounts of Vitamin D3 because of the photo-conversion of pre-vitamin D3 and vitamin D3 to inactive metabolites.In addition, sunlight-induces production of melanin, which reduces production of Vitamin D3 in the skin. Only oral supplementation is capable of building up toxic levels. I rest my case!