Come winter, how much do we need vitamin D? How long do you have to spend in the sunlight to get adequate quantities? How Does Obesity Affect Dose? How many diseases can be prevented by adequate amounts of this vitamin? And what can a psychiatrist tell us about this vital vitamin?
Years ago we reported that Dr. Catharine Gordon, a pediatric professor at the Harvard Medical School, tested adolescent levels of vitamin D between 11 and 18 years of age. She found that 14 percent of these teenagers had vitamin D deficiency. Today, about 30 percent of adults are low in D.
Dr Glenn Braunstein, professor of medicine at the University of California, said her research was a wake-up call. She has shown that she is not only confined or that the elderly in health care homes do not receive enough sunlight.
In the 19th century, a large number of children suffered from rickets because of the lack of sunlight. To address this problem, children with rickets were taken for long journeys on what was called the "Boston Floating Hospital" to expose them to the health benefits of the sun.
Today we know that adequate amounts of vitamin D in the gut are needed to absorb calcium and keep the bones strong. Vitamin D also acts on bone cells to release calcium and maintain the normal blood levels of this important mineral.
Maybe a lack of vitamin D to protect against infections? You would expect to receive this response from an infectious disease expert, not a psychiatrist. But Dr. John Campbell, a US psychiatrist, noted that when the 2005 flu epidemic hit Criminal Insane Hospital, the infection relieved patients taking vitamin D!
Another researcher, Mitsuyoshi Urasima, a professor of epidemiology in Japan, reports in the American Journal of Nutrition that patients who received 1,200 IU D are less likely to develop flu than those who do not.
Dr. Jo Ann Manson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, reports strong evidence that high levels of vitamin D in the blood protect against colon cancer.
To get another opinion, we interviewed Dr. Andrew Saul, chief editor of the Orthomolecular News Service, a global vitamin authority. Saul says that colon cancer is clearly linked to vitamin D deficiency. He adds that insufficient vitamin D levels are also associated with ovarian cancer. And research by the National Library of Medicine shows that there are 300 articles on how vitamin D helps fight prostate and breast cancer.
Dr. Michael Holick, of the University of Boston, authority on vitamin D, believes that vitamin D is the greatest strength in its role in fighting cancer. He says studies show that people living in larger latitudes who have a lower sun exposure have an increased risk of dying from almost all types of cancer, especially breast, colon, prostate and skin cancer.