Is Vitamin D3 Deficiency a National Health Crisis?
by John Fahey
the 1930s, we knew we could get vitamin D3 from fish and generations of children
grew up detesting that spoon of cod liver oil before going to school. Yet rickets are
being sporadically reported around the US, particularly among infants exclusively
breast fed, and experts tell us that Vitamin D3 deficiency is widespread in the
population and doubles the incidence of many cancers and other diseases. What
To a certain extent it was the result of overconfidence. Fortification of milk and
exposure to sunshine was thought to be enough. Not enough attention was given to
the fact that our Paleolithic genome evolved under the equatorial sun of Africa and
migration of the human lineage away from the equator reduced the effect of
exposure to uv in sunlight. It was not realized that Vitamin D3 produced in the skin
reaches a maximum and then rapidly depletes from the circulating bloodstream. And
of course that pesky habit of wearing clothing when we do go out under the sky.
It was not until laboratory technology reached the stage where accurate
measurements of circulating Vitamin D3 in blood could be inexpensively done in large
numbers of people that troubling results emerged. It is now known that many people,
including infants, children, and adolescents, have a level of circulating Vitamin D3
below an optimal, and in some cases very sub-optimal, level. Finnish researchers
were among the first to sound the alarm. Other researchers, measuring the actual
levels of circulating Vitamin D3 in their patients and following the incidence of disease
in those patients were stunned by their findings.
The levels of Vitamin D3 were found to be directly related to the incidence not only of
bone diseases but of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart
disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and a range of other
diseases. The lower the level of Vitamin D3, then the greater the risk. Experts have
estimated that supplementation of 1,000 IU to 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day could
reduce the national incidence of many of these diseases by fifty percent or more.
Federal authorities are revising recommended guidelines, discussion is under way
among medical experts on just how much supplementation should be advised,
keeping in mind the fact that Vitamin D3 is not a typical vitamin and has many effects
more typical of a hormone.
It is a national health crisis and will continue to be so until supplementation becomes a
routine part of health maintenance for all. We are fortunate that reliable sources of
Vitamin D3 exist and are remarkably inexpensive. Those tiny capsules of Vitamin D3
can do so much to reduce your risk for many diseases. There is even evidence that
those with the highest levels of Vitamin D3 are correlated with longer telomeres in
their white blood cells and thus a lower rate of aging. Do not neglect this simple health
precaution. Help others. Inform them, make them aware.
About The Author
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It is a crisis of monumental
proportions. But why has this
happened? After all, it was
known in the 1920s that vitamin
D deficiency was the cause of
rickets in children, the Nobel prize
in chemistry was awarded in
1928 to the scientist who
discovered the precursor to
Vitamin D3, derived from
cholesterol and converted to
Vitamin D3 by the action of the
uv in sunlight on the skin. The
US, and many other countries,
mandated the addition of Vitamin
D3 to milk and other products in
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