"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Vitamin D3

As mentioned in the previous post on Vitamin K2 (menaquinone), the role of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in the functioning of multiple health processes, is gaining more and more prominence in some medical community ghettoes. I say "ghettoes" because mainstream medicine has not adopted routine testing of Vitamin D blood levels, but a handful of physicians are testing patients and finding many with low levels. With Vitamin D receptors having been discovered in a wide array of tissues Vitamin D is taking on more of a hormone status than it is a mere vitamin. Research has shown that adequate Vitamin D stores play a role in reducing the risk of contracting many types of cancers, bone problems, type II diabetes, autoimmune disorders and more. Known as the "sunshine vitamin," for sun exposure at the right time and duration to bare skin, rapidly produces Vitamin D3 in the body, much more so than that which one can obtain from dietary sources. As one ages the ability to convert sun exposure into Vitamin D3 declines. Older people often spend a lot of times indoors, especially if it's hot outside and credentialed weatherpeople are freaking out about possible heat stroke deaths in the elderly if they fetch the morning paper.

And whereas many forms of cancer, depression and osteoporosis are rampant in the West, one might consider having their Vitamin D levels tested (the appropriate test is called 25 (OH)D, not to be confused with 1,25(OH)D, which is a much less reliable test.) In plain speak it's known as "25-Hydroxy D."

Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, is another proprietary product that boosts Vitamin D levels. It's synthetic and only about 20-40% as effective as the D3 (cholecalciferol) form in equivalent doses. The handful of Vitamin D toxicity cases are all related to the use of Vitamin D2, except for one D3-related case (an accidental case of massive ingestion). It is a fat soluble vitamin so it's important not to self-medicate irresponsibly.

For a more scholarly primer on Vitamin D read this journal article by Vitamin D specialist Dr. Michael F. Holick. He must be good because he was asked to resign from his position in the department of dermatology at Boston University Medical School because his conclusions were deemed suspect. One wonders if manufacturers of sunscreen products were financial supporters to some degree of said "department of dermatology." More time in the sun without sunblock to get Vitamin D produced means less sunblock sales at the local store. D up, bling down.

For a good launching pad for your own Vitamin D study a good place to start is at vitamindcouncil.org. One of their links includes a list of "Vitamin D scientists."

Disclaimer: This post is for entertainment purposes only, and not intended to diagnose, treat, manage or cure disease. Consult your personal physician for any and all health-related matters.


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